In The Beginning
The ten year old girl sat playing with her dolls in front of the television, her favourite video tape lying in the background. She looked up and smiled at the young girl who was babysitting for her and her brother, standing up and walking over as she placed her Barbie doll on the young girl’s lap.
Her brother came back into the room. Six years older, he had not seen the need for a babysitter, but when his parents had explained why they needed this particular girl to come and look after them he had understood the reason for it.
“I’m glad you agreed to play this game with us, Joan,” he said as he sat down and put a handful of popcorn in his mouth, “Are you sure you don’t want some?”
Joan looked over at the young boy and shook her head. She was enjoying the game too much, sitting there with her hands tied in front of her with a skipping rope, and then down to her legs. Her ankles were crossed and tied together with another of his younger sister’s ropes, while a black bandana was tied into her mouth.
“Whthpnsfurprntscl,” she mumbled as she looked at them.
“Oh, don’t worry, they’ll call before they come home,” the older boy said with a smile. “Until then, we get to look after you as well, right sis?”
“Yes,” the young girl said with a slight lisp as Joan looked down at her.
At Joan’s house, the atmosphere was somewhat different. Cassandra, her mother, was standing with her hands held in the air while her guest, Mrs Chen, was sitting on the couch with her hands raised as well.
Mrs Chen was a colleague from the Hong Kong office, and had come over for dinner at Cassandra’s invitation. She was wearing a red fitted jacket and skirt, dark hose and three inch heeled patent leather black shoes. Cassandra was wearing a black v-necked top and skirt, the slits at the side showing the lace top of her stockings, as well as black heeled shoes.
The two intruders holding them at gunpoint were a man and woman. Both were dressed in casual clothing, the man in a v-necked sweater over a white t-shirt and jeans, the woman in a pair o grey trousers and a white roll neck sweater, but both were wearing black gloves, both had a stocking pulled over their heads, and while the woman carried a large bag the man was holding a gun pointed at the two women.
“All right, ladies,” he said as he smiled, “Just do as you’re told. Cassandra, I want you to kneel on the floor and grab hold of the heels of your shoes with your ankles.”
“How do you know my name,” Cassandra asked as she tossed her blonde hair away from her face.
“Never mind how, dear,” the woman said as she placed the bag on the floor and opened it. Mrs Chang could see the coiled lengths of rope inside, and shivered as she looked back at her host. “Just do as he says, and you’ll be just fine. As for you, lady, turn round on the couch and put your hands behind your back.”
AS Cassandra knelt on the floor, she watched the masked woman as she shook free a length of rope and began to tie Mrs Chang’s wrist together behind her back, her arms parallel to each toher as the rope drew the cuffs of her jacket against her skin.
“What do you want,” Cassandra asked as she watched the woman pass more rope around her guest’s arms and chest, pulling them into her side as she sat quietly. “Please, Cassandra,” Mrs Chang said as she looked at her host kneeling there, “Let us allow them to do this and then get out of here. We can worry about what to do after that.”
“Wise words, Mrs Chang,” the woman said as she passed the rope around her neck and under her arms, pulling the coils tightly as she did so and eliciting a small gasp from the Chinese woman, “wise words. I’m afraid they are the last you are going to say for a while, however.”
“What do you mean,” Cassandra said as she watched the woman reach back into the bag, and draw out a roll of brown tape. Tearing off a strip, she reached round and smoothed it over Mrs Chang’s lips, sealing her mouth with two more strips over the top of the first. As she knelt down and started to bind her ankles together, the man took Cassandra’s arm and forced her to stand up.
“Now, Cassandra,” he said as she looked at Mrs Chang, “I’m going to take you to that nice big safe you have hidden in your study and then upstairs to your bedroom where you keep all your jewellery. Make one false move, and your guest here suffers.”
“Will you be all right, Mrs Chang,” Cassandra said as she was dragged towards the door. “Lbfn,” her guest mumbled as she watched her legs been drawn together above her knees, the coils pulling into her hose as the woman lulled tighter with each pass.
Cassandra as taken into the office at the rear of the house and made to stand as her wrists were pulled behind her back and secured together with rope. As she sat in a chair, she watched as the man went straight for the family portrait and moved it to one side, before turning the dials to the safe and opening it within two minutes.
“How did you find out the combination,” she said as she watched the man emptying wads of bank notes and boxes of jewellery into the bag he had produced from his pocket.
“One day you may find out,” he said as he swung the door to, and grabbed Cassandra by the arm again. “For now, upstairs - and then we’ll make you nice and comfortable.”
Cassandra was forced to watch as the man systematically found every hiding place for her jewellery, emptying the contents of each box and cubby hole into his bag, before saying “Right - time to make you secure.”
“What do you mean,” Cassandra asked as she watched him produce more lengths of rough brown rope from his pocket.
“This,” he said as he double done length over, passed it around her waist and pulled tightly, making her gasp as he secured her wrists against the small of her back. “Don’t struggle or I’ll just pull tighter.”
The masked woman looked up as Cassandra was marched into the garage by her partner, her upper body covered in bands of rough rope around her arms and chest, her breasts forced out as the coils were tightened between her arms and body.
She wanted to say something, but the masked woman could see the thin slip of blue cotton that was protruding from her lips, her cheeks puffed out by the panties that were stuffed inside her mouth.
“Sit down,” the man said as he forced her over to an old kitchen chair and making her sit down. AS the woman knelt down and pulled her ankles together with more rope, the man picked up a roll of duct tape and sat her down, tearing off strip after strip and smoothing it over her lips.
Eventually Cassandra stared back at the two intruders, her eyes wide as they walked out of the garage. She could hear a car starting outside and started to struggle as she heard the engine sound fade into the distance.
“Sorry we’re late, Jane,” the brown haired woman said as she and her husband came back into the house, “I hope the toe of them were no trouble?”
“No problem at all,” Jane said as she accepted the twenty note she was offered. “I’m just sorry I won’t be able to sit for them again. Must you leave in the morning?”
“I’m afraid so,” the man said as he hung his coat up. “My new job starts next week. You sure you don’t want a lift back?”
“No, I prefer to walk,” Jane said with a smile as she walked out of the door. Closing it behind her, the man turned and said “Where’s your sister?”
“Upstairs in bed. How did it go?”
“We took the rich botch for everything she had,” his mother said as she hugged him. “Right - up to bed. We have to be on our way early tomorrow.”
As Jane walked up the driveway to her house, she saw the lights still on, and Mrs Chang’s car parked outside. Opening the door, she walked into the front room, saying “I’m hom...” She stopped in her tracks when she saw Mrs Chang lying on the floor, staring at her over the brown tape gag.
“Mum? MUM!!” she screamed as she ran into the kitchen, noticing the open garage door. As she looked in, she screamed again at the sight of her mother, calling out to her “CLTPLSSSS!!!!” through her silver tape gag.
Six months later
“Thanks for agreeing to look after the kids, Alice - my husband and I really need this break.”
“That’s all right,” Alice said as she looked at the thirteen year old girl, “where’s your son?”
“He’s upstairs - he won’t disturb you, but he does need to go out tonight. We’ll see you later.”
Alice watched the couple walking out of the door, before putting her satchel on the table and looking at the girl.
“So, Katie, what would you like to do?” she said as she watched the girl playing with her dolls.
“I want to play a game,” she said as she looked at the young, blonde haired babysitter.
“Oh really - what sort of game?”
“My brother and I have a game we like to play - maybe he would do it with us if we asked him before he goes out.”
Alice looked up as she heard footsteps coming down the stairs, and a tall, thin seventeen year old boy walked in. “Hi Alice,” he said as he saw the older girl sitting there, “I see you drew the short straw tonight.”
“Don’t - it gets me out of the house. Your sister said there was a game she wanted to play, if you would let her.”
He looked at his younger sister, before saying “Yessss - but you may not want to play it.”
“Why ever not?”
“She likes to play a particular type of game, and you may not?”
Alice looked at the boy. “What sort of game?”
“Robbers - she likes to pretend she’s been caught by robbers and...”
Alice looked at the young girl, sitting there smiling, before saying “... and getting tied up?”
“Yeah - I don’t hurt her, but it is what she likes.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“It sounds like fun - my big brother used to play that game with me all the time. Tell you what - I’ll pretend to be mother, if you pretend to be the burglar.”
He looked at his sister, who simply smiled. “Well, all right - but I’ll go gentle. I may need to ask you where you keep your nice things.”
“Don’t worry - I’ll pretend to be my mother - I know where she hides all her stuff.”
He smiled as he said “Well, all right - I have some old washing line I use for this game. I’ll go and get it, and you two get ready.”
Alice looked at the young girl as she sat next to her, her eyes twinkling over the scarf her mother had pulled into her mouth as a simple gag. The girl’s wrist were tied together in front of her, the rope over her pyjama top cuffs before it had been run down and used to bind her ankles over the bottoms.
Alice’s own wrists were tied together in front of her, and then secured down to her legs above her knees, the rope showing clearly over her jeans. Her ankles had also been crossed and tied together. She looked up at her friend, who was standing there holding a toy pistol in his hand.
“All right, Mrs Smith,” he said in a menacing voice, “Where do you keep your jewellery?”
“Please, don’t hurt us,” Alice said in a quiet voice, “We’ll be good.”
“I said, where do you keep your jewellery?”
Alice looked at his sister, before saying “Upstairs, first drawer n the left in the dresser - it has a false bottom.”
“Very good - and your safe?”
“In the wardrobe.”
“What’s the combination?”
Alice gave a six digit number, watching the older boy as he smiled.
“Very good, Mrs Smith,” he said as he took the bandana that lay around her neck, “Now open wide.”
“Pleasdntnnnggmmm” Alice said a she pushed the cloth band into her mouth and tightened it around her neck. She looked at the girl and smiled as he did this, to show she was playing along, then watched her friend as he walked out of the bedroom, leaving the two to try and free each other.
They struggled for a little while, before Alice managed to untie the wrists of the younger girl. She pulled the scarf out of her mouth, saying “thank you,” as she untied Alice as well. As she shook the rope off her legs, the brother came back in and said “I have to go now - will you too be all right?”
“Yes,” Alice said as she untied her charge’s ankles , “and thanks - that was a great game.”
“No, thank you for playing,” he said a she pulled his jacket on and walked out of the house.
“No, please, for God’s sake, I’ll do what you say, just don’t.... OUCH!!!”
Veronica screamed as the masked man pulled a length of thick rope under her arm, tightening the coils he had already passed around her arms and upper chest so that her breasts were forced out against the striped silk of her blouse. She could feel the top button popping open as she tried to twist out of the way, but then her eye caught the glint of steel on the gun been held by the woman standing in front of her.
“Just sit still, dear,” she said through the nylon stocking covering her head, “and this will all be over soon. Besides, I think you look rather fetching at the moment.”
She had opened the door half an hour earlier, thinking it was somebody calling about a house sale she was handling from her home office, when she had been pushed back into the hallway by the two intruders. They were dressed like any middle aged couple - the man in a pale blue windcheater and grey slacks, the woman in a grey leather jacket and knee length skirt - but the guns in their hands and the stockings over their heads told a very different story.
Now she was at in a chair in her office, her wrists pinioned behind her back, held together and against her waist by the ropes, and her arms secured to her sides, each turn of the rope around her upper body cinched on either side with more rope. Her jacket had been pulled back to her sides in the process, and her dark skirt had ridden up slightly to show the topes of her stockings.
“Please, don’t do this,” she cried out as the man crossed her ankles and lashed them tightly together as well, moving up her legs to bind them around her calves and thighs as well. As he finished, he stood up and said “Keep an eye on her, dear - I’m going to search the house.”
“Of course, I will dear,” the masked woman said as she walked over to stand behind veronica, brushing her blonde hair away from her eyes as she did so. “We can have a lovely chat about children - you have a lovely daughter Alice I think her name is?”
“Alice? Please don’t mmmfgmdmmdfmggm”
“Shh, dear, shh,” the woman said as she gently pushed a pad of cloth into Veronica’s mouth. “Alice is at school, isn’t she? We’ll be done before she gets back, never fear - now open wide.”
Veronica grunted as a strip of white cloth pulled the corners of her mouth back, the ends been knotted under her hair to keep the gag in place. The masked woman walked round and stood in front of her, watching as Veronica looked on at her.
Their staring contest was interrupted by the sound of the front door opening, and a voice calling out “Veronica, where are you?” The masked woman walked quickly over and clamped her gloved hand over Veronica’s mouth, as the sound of footsteps came closer.
“Veronica, I just came in - oh god,” the new arrival said as she raised her hands. She was dark haired, and wearing a red jacket over a white top, a short black skirt and dark stockings, her feet in a pair of black high heeled shoes.
“And who might you be, dearie,” the masked woman said as she looked at her, a smile visible on her lips.
“Don’t be shy, dearie, what’s your name?”
“Carol - I’m Veronica’s assistant. What’s going on here?”
“Just a robbery, Carol. Please - put your bag on the table and come over here, hands nice and high in the air. I think you need to be made as comfortable as Veronica before my husband and I leave.”
“Your husband?” Carol said, looking at Veronica as she nodded her head and said “Msreecrl, thrssmnls”
“You just stay nice and quiet, Veronica,” the woman said as she turned Carol round, placing the gun where both of them could see it. “Now, very slowly, put your hands behind your back and cross your wrists.”
“Is everything all right, dear,” Carol heard a male voice call out as she felt rope been pulled tightly around her wrists.
“Not a problem, dear - but could you bring some additional stuffing down please?”
“Of course,” the voice said as Carol grunted, the rough rope digging into her forearms over her jacket as the woman tied them together as well. “Does it have to be so tight,” she said as she looked over her shoulder.
“Oh yes - I know what needs to be done,” the woman continued as Carol felt her arms been systematically welded together with coil after coil of rope, before she saw another length been passed around upper body, pulling her upper arms into her side. “Just stand still and this will all be over soon.”
In the upstairs bedroom, the masked man finished emptying the contents of the drawer lying on the bed into his bag. To the side lay the false bottom, on top of the pile of stockings and panties he had to remove to get to it, and the wardrobe door was wide open, the safe door clearly visible inside.
Closing the strings on his bag, he grabbed two pairs of silk panties and headed down the stairs, walking into the office to find his wife finishing off the binding on Carol as she sat in a chair opposite Veronica. Her ankles were crossed, but she could not move as the woman finished cinching the ropes around her legs above her knees.
“Who the hell are you two,” she screamed as she watched the man methodically wad the two pairs of panties together.
“Just a man and wife at work,” he said as he stood in front of Carol. “If you would, my dear?”
Carol clamped her mouth shut, but as the masked woman pinched her nose she eventually had to open it to breath, allowing the masked man to stuff the wad in as she closed her mouth over it. She tried not to gag at the taste of silk against her tongue, but any thoughts of spitting it out were ended as she heard a sound - a ripping, rasping sound as the man tore a strip of black tape off a roll and smoothed it over her lips.
“Ufkngbstrd,” she said as more strips were applied, but that only seemed to make the two intruders laugh.
“Well, it’s been a pleasure to meet both of you ladies,” the man said as Carol glared at him, “but we really must be going now. Enjoy the rest of your day.”
They watched the couple as they left the house, before starting to twist round.
“Nechnsucnfrurslf,” Veronica said as she looked over at her colleague.
“Nunn,” Carol grunted, before managing to uncross her ankles and stand herself up. Veronica watched as she hopped over to the table, turning as she reached the edge and using her hands to knock the receiver off the phone.
“Nttfrsttmtshpndtm” she mumbled as she picked up a pencil in her fingers and punched three numbers on the keypad, then pressed the loudspeaker button. “Emergency services,” a voice said, “What is the problem.”
“HLPSSSSSS” Carol screamed out, “WRTDP!”
As Alice walked towards her house, she could see the flashing blue lights in the driveway. She quickened her pace as she approached, hearing the police radios more clearly as she came up the path and saw the officers coming into and out of the house.
“What’s going on,” she cried out as she approached the door, only for a police officer to block her way. “I live here,” she screamed in his face, “what’s happening?”
“Alice?” she heard her mother say, and looking in the doorway she saw her standing there, rubbing her wrists as Carol walked out behind her. “MUM!” she screamed as she pushed past the policeman, hugging her mother as he looked on.
“Your mother is all right, Alice,” a man in a grey suit said a she looked out of the doorway, “I’m afraid she and her colleague have been the victim of a burglary, but they’re fine. Why don’t you come in and sit with us?”
Alice came into the living room, noticing the WPC sitting there as well. “I’m DI Jenkins,” the man said as he sat down. “Veronica, what did you say was missing?”
“Jewellery, money - he found the drawer I hide my gold and pearls in without any problem, and seemed to know the combination - Alice, what’s wrong?”
Veronica had seen her daughter suddenly go very pale. “It’s - it’s nothing mum,” she said quietly. “Excuse me, I need to make a call.” She stood up and walked out of the room, taking her mobile phone out of her pocket as well.
“Jenny - it’s Alice. Are you babysitting for little Suzie tonight?
“You are? Look - if she asks you to play a game with her and her brother - don’t do it.
“No, I can’t tell you why, not now - just refuse and leave if they insist. I’ll explain why tomorrow.”
“Is everything all right?”
Alice turned to see DI Jenkins standing there, looking at her.
“Yeah - everything’s fine. I just needed to tell someone I wouldn’t be coming out tonight.”
“Hello, Mister Smith.”
Jenny smiled as she passed the man to enter the house, a satchel over her shoulder as she walked in. Placing it on the table in the hallway, she took off her black leather jacket and stood there as the young girl went upstairs past her.
“We’ll be on our way in a few minutes,” the man said as he closed the door, “Why don’t you go on in - my son is doing some studying, but will be on his way out soon.”
Jenny brushed down her white blouse and walked into the front room, her heels clicking on the floor as she did so. Inside, the older boy was sitting at the table, doing his homework.
“Oh hi, Jenny,” he said as he looked up, “Your turn tonight?” Jenny looked at him in a strange way before saying “Yeah, Pete - my turn to watch Suzie tonight.”
In the police station, DI Jenkins was sitting with his colleague.
“This isn’t the first one, is it,” he said as he sat across the desk from him.
“No - there have been several like it over the last two to three years. Always a man and a woman, well dressed and well armed, who break into houses, subdue the women and then raid the place. Somehow, they always know where exactly to look, so they’re in and out in no time. What we’ve never been able to figure out is who they are, and how they find out these things.”
“So why is it so different this time?”
DI Jenkins drank from his coffee mug. “We’ve been tracking the places the crimes were committed, and there seems to be a pattern. I’ve asked the SCU to see if there is anything they can find out about people moving in the area - especially families.”
“I have a theory - when I interrupted that girl today on the phone, she was calling someone and telling them not to play a game tonight. I think we’re looking for a couple with kids - and I hope I’m wrong.”
“Because if I’m right, then there may be something going down tonight we could have prevented...”
“So, Jenny,” Pete said as he sat next to the young blonde haired girl, “What are you and Suzie going to be doing tonight?”
She looked at him, noticing the way his eyes were looking towards her short black skirt, before saying “I thought we’d watch a DVD and then I’d get her to bed - why?”
“Oh no reason - it’s just that she told me tonight she might want to play a game we play sometimes, and she hoped you would join in as well.”
“Oh - what sort of game?”
“Well, you know what these tweenies are like - they want excitement, and like to play with fire sometimes, so I have to temper it slightly. She likes reading Nancy Drew books and other things - what sort of game do you think she might like to play?”
Jenny moved slightly away from Pete, her eyes fixed on him the whole time. “I don’t know Pete. What sort of game did Alice play with both of you last night.”
“Cops and robbers - why?”
“Just asking - did you hear what happened to her mother today?”
“Alice’s mother - no, what happened? “
“There was a robbery at their house - her mother and another woman were bound and gagged, but the robbers knew exactly where to look. IT’s just that...”
“Alice said you played a game last night, and she told you where things were hidden in her house.”
Pete laughed a she heard this. “Oh come on, Jenny - you think I’m big enough and strong enough to tie up both your mother and another woman, gag them, and then raid her bedroom?”
Pete watched Jenny as she stood up and walked to the door. “I’m sorry,” she said as she reached for the handle, “but I can’t stay...”
“Oh, but I insist,” Mrs Smith said as she stood in the doorway as Jenny opened the door. She grabbed Jenny by the arm and turned her round, pushing her arm up her back as she frogmarched the young girl back into the room.
“Pete, go and make sure Suzie gets cleaned up and into her pyjamas,” his mother said as she forced Jenny onto her knees in front of the couch, “I’m going to have a little chat with your friend here.”
“Yes, Mother,” Pete said as he walked out of the room, the older woman kneeling behind the crying girl as she whispered into her ear “Hush, Jenny, hush - we need to have a little chat, you and I.”
“IS something the matter, dear - ah.” Mister Smith stood in the doorway, dressed in a roll neck sweater and grey trousers, looking at his wife as she pulled Jenny’s arm further up her back. “Please,” the girl cried, “you’re hurting me, stop it.”
“I’ll stop, Jenny,” Mrs Smith said, “when you have told us what we need to know. Let’s start with your house - who is at home tonight?”
“Just my mother - ahhhhh!”
“I think we need to make sure you’re nice and cozy,” Mrs Smith said with a smile, before looking to her husband. “Find me some nice strong white rope please, dear - and then you’d better tell Pete to start packing our things. I think it’s time to move on.”
The man turned and walked out of the room, returning with several coils of thick white rope. “Thank you dear,” his wife said as she pulled Jenny’s other arm behind her back and crossed her wrists, “perhaps you would do the honours?”
“Yes... Yes... Yes, I got that. You’re sure of your facts?
“All right thanks for everything - I’ll be in touch.” DI Jenkins stood up, grabbing his coat off the rack as he opened the office door.
“Blake - come with me. We need to have a word with young Alice.”
“Oh, hello Jenny - you look nice tonight.”
Suzie came into the room, dressed in a pink tracksuit with her feet tucked into a pair of brown suede boots and her teddy bear under her arm. She walked over and brushed Jenny’s hair away from her eyes, seeing the tear stains on her cheeks as Jenny said “plsltmg.”
Her mouth was covered in strips of silver tape, and her cheeks bulged in a way that showed the napkin that Mrs Smith had stuffed in before taping her lips shut. Ropes held her arms firmly to her chest, her crossed wrists against her back and the coils cinched between her body and her arms to tighten them still further. The material of her blouse stretched over her breasts, encircled as they were in rope, while her legs were bound at the thighs, calves and ankles with further lengths. Her skirt had fallen slightly down as she sat on the floor, revealing the tops of her stockings.
“Thank you for telling us everything, dear,“ Mrs Smith said as she walked into the room, zipping up her grey leather jacket as she did so. “A pity we have to leave this place but it’s probably for the best anyway.”
“Whrugng,” Jenny mumbled as she tried to twist round.
“Don’t you worry about that, dear,” Mrs Smith said as she took Suzie by the hand. “Once we’ve visited your mother, I don’t think you’ll see us again.”
“NNNNNNNNNN” she screamed as the older woman turned on the television, switching the channel until a music station came on and turning the volume up. “The family who put this house on the market will be back in a week anyway,” she said as she walked to the door, “but I’m sure you’ll be found before then. Goodbye, Jenny.”
She walked out of the room, closing the door behind them, and took Suzie out to where her husband and Pete were waiting in the car. “I think we should go and visit her mother quickly,” Mrs Smith said as she sat in the front seat. “You don’t mind watching Suzie for a few minutes, do you Pete?”
“When do I get to come in with you?”
“When you’re older,” Mister Smith said as he started the car.
“Father knows best, dear,” his wife said as they set off down the road, the light sin the living room shining out into the gathering gloom.
“Let me get this straight, Alice - you played a game of cops and robbers with the girl last night?”
“Yes - and then today - did I do something wrong?”
Di Jenkins handed Alice a tissue. “No, dear, you didn’t - who was the family you babysat for.”
“Mister and Mrs Smith - they’re a really nice couple, I don’t think they would do something like this.”
“Well, I need to talk to them anyway - do you have an address?”
Alice looked in her handbag, took out a piece of paper and handed it to the detective. “Thank you Alice - one more thing, who were you talking to on the phone this afternoon?”
“Jenny - Jenny Picard. She was going to babysit.... Oh My God!”
DI Jenkins turned to his colleague. “Blake, get a car to this address as fast as they can. Something is going down tonight.”
“Police - is there anybody here?”
Jenny turned her head when she heard the voice, and screamed out “NHRRRRRR PLSHLPMMMM.” The door opened and a uniformed officer looked in, before calling over his shoulder “In here - get an ambulance, fast.” He ran over and knelt by Jenny, pulling the tape away from her mouth and removing the saliva soaked napkin.
“Please,” she croaked, “you need to get to my house - they’re going to rob my mother....”
The large house was in darkness as the officers approached, the front door swinging slightly open and shut as they walked up. They pushed the door gently open, shining their torches in as they did so. Hearing nothing, they looked at each other and walked into the house.
There was a door open to the side, and after checking with each other they cautiously pushed the door open. The torches showed in their beam the furniture of a front room, with several papers scattered over the floor. There was also a soft whimpering sound coming from one side of the room. One of the officers walked slowly over and shone his torch in that direction, before calling out “Find the light switch - I’ve found Jana Picard.”
As the second officer switched on the ceiling light, Jana Picard looked up from where she was lying on her side, saying “thnkgd” in a weak voice as she twisted in the ropes around her chest. The front of her grey jacket was slightly open, mainly because of the ropes around her breasts constricting the material, while her wrist and ankles were securely bound together. The hem of her flared skirt barely covered the ropes above her knees, and a length of white towel had been pulled between her red lips.
“Here,” the officer said a she helped Jana to sit up, removing her gag as he did so. “There were two of them,” she gasped after she had spat out the large handkerchief that was in her mouth, “A man and a woman, and they said they had Jenny. If I didn’t help them, they’d....”
“It’s all right, your daughter is safe,” the officer said as tow paramedics came in. “Did they say where they were going?”
“No - I heard her say they had to be quick, for the children’s sake....”
Some miles away, the Smith family were sitting round a motel breakfast table, eating while Mister Smith read the paper.
“So where do w ego to now,” Pete asked as he handed Suzie a slice of toast.
“Oh, another town,” Mister Smith said as he drank his tea. “Plenty more places for our family to visit, aren’t there Mother?”
“Yes there are Father,” the older woman said with a smile, “Plenty more places to visit as a family...”