Living Next Door To Alice
“Hi – can I mmmpphh!”
Suzie was the first person we came across when we went into the house. The younger sister, she opened the door and had no chance against the two of us. She’d obviously just got back from that exclusive school her sister paid all the fees for – dressed in a white blouse, short tartan skirt and white tights with flat shoes, her cuffs of her sleeves turned up. She just stood there in shock as my mate grabbed her by the shoulders, and I took a length of rope from my pocket.
“Don’t say a word,” I whispered as I put her wrists together and started to wrap the rope around them. She shook her head from side to side, her auburn hair moving with her, as she asked “Who are you?”
“Don’t you worry about that – so long as you do what we say, you won’t get hurt,” my friend said as I passed the rope between her wrists and tied it off. “Who else is in the house at the moment?”
“Just the secretary and the House keeper – my sister won’t be back until later.”
We looked at each other through our hoods – we both knew what the ultimate goal of the plan was, but for now we had a job to do.
“You come with me,” my friend said as he pulled on Suzie’s bound wrists, “and I’ll make sure you won’t get hurt in any way. You go and take care of the next one.”
The two of them made their way into the house, and I followed, closing the door behind me. No point in raising the suspicions of anyone else, after all. Walking down the corridor, I looked into a room and saw the secretary sitting at her desk, typing away in front of a computer screen.
I watched her for a few minutes as she worked. About five foot seven, collar length brown hair, dressed in a fawn pin striped jacket and skirt with heeled sandals. I ha din my hand the bag we each carried when we did these sorts of jobs, so I knew I had everything with me. Time, I thought, to move in.
There was a muffled cry, probably from Suzie, that made her sit up, so I moved swiftly and put my arm around her, with my other hand over her mouth.
“Stay absolutely quiet, and do as I tell you. Do you understand?”
As I said that, she looked back at me and nodded. I noticed her blue eyes under he glasses. This was going to be easy.
“I’m going to take my hand away, so no sounds. Just stand up and put your hands behind your back.”
She did as I asked, and I drew out a long length of rope, which I used to tie her wrists together behind her back. I crossed them to make sure she wouldn’t get herself free, but made sure there were more than enough turns to secure them together.
I turned her around and pushed her against her desk. “Stand still,” I said as I took her ankles and began to tie them together with more rope, crossing them as I had her wrists so that she wouldn’t be able to get away easily. Finally, I tied her legs together above her knees, making sure the ropes were nicely cinched.
“Where are Suzie and Joanie?” She said as I stood up.
“Assuming Joanie is the house keeper, we’re going to see her next. My friend here can tell you about Suzie.”
“She’s having a lie down in her room,” my friend said as he came back in. He looked at me. “You go and check her, and I’ll sit her down.”
“In a minute – I need to keep this one quiet first,” I replied as I took a pink ball gag and pushed the large ball into her mouth, buckling the straps at the back of her neck. I looked back as I left the room – he had helped her to hop back to her chair, and sat her down, with her wrists behind the back of the chair and her legs crossed despite the ropes around them.
It didn’t tale me long to find Suzie – she was in a bedroom, lying on her side. Her ankles were bound with rope, as were her legs, and a rope connected her wrists to her ankles. A cloth was stuffed in her mouth – I could tell from the bulged cheeks – and tape pressed over her lips.
I smiled as I left, closing the door behind me – and ran into a stunning red head woman, wearing a sleeveless white top and a grey skirt. She had a clipboard in her hand, which hit the floor as she saw me and flew at me, pulling my mask off as she did so.
Well, I had no choice – I grabbed her, pulled her arm behind her back and pressed her against the wall.
“Joanie, right?” I hissed in her mouth, and she whispered “Yes. Please, stop – you’re hurting me.”
“Stand still,” I said as I pulled more rope out and tied her wrists together, side by side. When I had finished, I pulled her into a room – turned out to be her sitting room. There was a large plush chair there, and I pushed her over.
“Sit down,” I said, and as she did so I knelt down and crossed her ankles, before binding them together with more rope, her black heeled shoes making a squeaking sound as her feet were pulled together. This was followed up with rope around her legs, just below her knees.
“Is this a robbery?” She asked as I stood up and tested the ropes.
“You’ll find out soon enough,” I said, “For now you keep quiet, and no-one in this house gets hurt. She looked at me as I took yet another length of rope from my bag, walked behind her and started to bind her arms together above her elbows.
“Ow – that hurts,” she said as I pulled the rope tight, and knotted the ends off.
“Time you shut up,” I said as I took a length of cloth, knotted it in the middle and then held it in front of her. “Open wide, dear.”
She did as I asked, and I pulled the knot tightly into her mouth before tying the ends together behind her head, making sure her hair fell over the back. I wondered how my mate was getting on – that was the three women in the house taken care of, when I heard the front door opening. I knew it couldn’t be our primary target – I hadn’t made a phone call yet – but I also knew he was near the door, so I let him get on with it.
“Hello – are you there?” I heard this woman saying, so I left the secretary where I had lashed her to the chair and looked out of the door. In front of me was a dark haired beauty – green and black paisley patterned jacket/blouse thing, and a black leather knee length skirt with black fabric boots. “It’s Charley Hope from Hola! Magazine – I’m here for the interview?”
This was unexpected – but the boss pays us the big bucks to deal with the unexpected. I took a scarf out of my pocket, which was sealed in a plastic bag, and gingerly removed it. She didn’t suspect a thing until I slapped that cloth over her mouth and nose, and grabbed her with my free arm. She immediately grabbed hold of me, trying to pull the cloth away, but the chloroform soaked rag was too strong and she soon slumped into my arms.
I dragged her back into a front room, with a window onto the patio, and laid her on the floor. It only took me a few minutes to bind her ankles and legs with a roll of duct tape, then to turn her over and tie her wrists behind her back as well. I could hear the other three women moaning in different rooms in the house, so I knew once she was secured we wouldn’t have a problem with the main event.
I walked into the room just in time to see my mate placing the tape over the comatose girl’s mouth – she was already securely bound, as I knew he would have done.
“All taken care of?” I asked, and he nodded.
We took a few minutes to walk around the house, checking on each of the girls to make sure they were still in place. They all looked at us, with the same question in their eyes – “Why are you doing this, and what happens next?” They all thought we were going to rib the place, although from the way Suzie recoiled when we checked her she obviously had something altogether more personal on her mind. Lucky for her that wasn’t our job. Not today, at any rate.
“Good – time to make the call then,” I said as I took a phone out of my pocket and pressed the pre-dial button.
“So, Miss Springs, are you ready for your next set of exercises?”
“In a moment, Jack – I just want to enjoy this summer sun for a few more minutes.”
Alice Springs was lying back on her recliner, dressed in a blue bikini and sandals, as she let her head fall to one side, her eyes closed and her blonde hair falling around her beautiful face. Standing beside her was a tall, stockily built gentleman in a white t-shirt and shorts. He had a rough beard on his chin, and dark glasses, but compounding the fashion errors in Alice’s eyes were the white socks eh was wearing with his trainers. To her, he was totally the wrong man for the job of her personal trainer, but when her usual trainer fell ill she had to go with whoever the gym sent round – in this case, Jack.
Jack sat down as his telephone rang. He gently massaged Alice’s legs as she lay there, soaking up the sun’s rays.
“Yeah, she’s here – is everything else set up?
“All right then – I’ll take it from here. You make sure no-one gives us any trouble over there.”
“Who was that on the phone?” Alice asked as he stopped the call.
“Nothing for you to worry about, Alice – it was the club asking me about the next client I need to go and see.”
Alice looked at this guy as he sat there. She swung her legs past him and stood up from the recliner – she was wondering just where she had seen him before, but wasn’t sure this was nothing more than just a gut feeling….
“Excuse me, Alice – I need to make a quick call,” Jack said a she picked up the receiver again. Alice noticed it was an old model, but obviously fashion was not this man’s forte.
“I’m going to get a drink,” she said as she walked off towards the patio doors to her house. Jack watched as she went up the path, and then stopped for a minute as if she was listening to something.
“Did you hear that?” She said as she turned round, but Jack was deep in conversation with someone on that old phone. She turned round and continued on her way to the house – which was a pity; as if she had stayed she would have seen Jack looking at her retreating body.
“I thought I told you to keep those women quiet! I’m sure she’s heard something. Look – I’m going after her. Whatever happens, we need to move faster now.”
Jack stood up, pulled a small plastic bag from his holdall, and followed Alice at a distance.
“There it is again – a noise from next door,” Alice said to herself. “I wonder if Suzie is home yet – it’s awfully quiet there.”
She walked through the open gate in the fence between the two properties, and approached a window at the rear of the house. Looking through the window, she caught her breath at the sight inside.
On the floor, wriggling round was a young dark haired woman in a paisley jacket and leather skirt, bound hand and foot with duct tape and with several strips of tape over her mouth. Two portly men were carrying a young girl through the door, who herself was bound with rope around her wrists, ankles and legs and had a strip of tape over her mouth.
“Suzie?” What the hell is going on here?” Alice stood back wondering what she should do, but realising she needed to call for help. A second thought stopped her.
“If I can get a photo of these men, then at least the police can catch them afterwards,” she thought. She knew where there was a camera – she’d left it there when Jack arrived earlier – so she retrieved it from the table outside and looked back into the house.
Suzie was now trying to make her way over to the unknown woman, while the two men were carrying Joanie into the room as well. Alice started to take photos, thinking of getting the phone from Jack when she was done. She didn’t realise Jack was standing behind her, with a white cloth in his hand, ready to grab her.
“I’ll take that,” he said as he grabbed Alice and placed the cloth over her mouth, taking the camera with the other. She reached up to try and pull his arm down as the sickly sweet aroma filled her nostrils and she struggled to get free, but the chloroform was proving too strong for her. As she slipped into a deep sleep, she heard Jack saying “Amazing – she still falls for it…..”
Consciousness came back slowly as the afternoon sun beat down on Alice. She shook her head, and tried to speak, but some sort of cloth was in her mouth. As her eyes opened, she saw Jack sitting there, the camera in his hand.
“Well, Alice, that is rather unfortunate,” he said as he weighed the small camera in his hand. “If you’d just ignored what you had heard, we would not be in this predicament now.”
She shrank back from him, while at the same time looking down and seeing the sloth that was twisted and bound around her ankles. By the way her wrists were held together behind her back, she realised her wrists had been probably been tied in the same way, and there was a cloth gag pulling back at the corner of her mouth.
“Tell me, Alice,” Jack said as he looked at her, “Does any of this seem familiar to you? Think hard about it.”
The woman had no real idea what he was talking about – unless……
“H GD N!!!” she screamed out as she suddenly realised where she had seen Jack before, and stared at him with true fear in her eyes.
“Ah, I see you do remember now, little miss pop star,” Jack said with a smile on his face. “It’s amazing what can jog the memory, isn’t it?”
He stood up, and picked Alice up onto his shoulder. As he carried her into the house, her memory went back five years…..
“We’ll be here to collect you in one hour for the television interview, Miss Springs.”
The limousine driver set off, and Alice let herself into her new house. Her first album was proving to be a big hit, and she was beginning to enjoy the trappings of luxury.
“From office girl to pop diva in three months,” she thought to herself as she closed the door behind her. As she had been meeting with the lawyers all day, she was dressed conservatively – a grey pinstripe jacket over a blue short sleeved dress, and matching blue patent leather shoes. She walked down the stairs to her front room – and was grabbed from behind by a rough, hairy arm that picked her up with little trouble, while another was clamped over her mouth.
“Shut up and say nothing,” the man had hissed into her ear as she struggled to break free, but his grip over her moth and nose was too tight, and she had slipped into unconsciousness.
When she had come to, she realised that her worst nightmare had come true – she had been kidnapped. There were three men looking at her, all dressed in black and wearing stocking masks over their heads.
“Don’t do anything unless we tell you,” one of them had said, but Alice had realised she was not in a position to do anything even though she had wanted to. They had pulled her hands behind her back, and lashed her wrists and her elbows together with some sort of rope. White, she figured, by the fact that more of the same rope was around her chest and upper body, pulled so tightly that the button on her jacket was threatening to burst with every breath she took. Her ankles had also been bound together, as had her legs above and below her knees, and each set of ropes had more around them, between her various limbs, so that she was most effectively tied.
She had tried to scream, but that fuzzy feeling she had noticed in her mouth turned out to have been a pierce of cloth, held in place with a knotted strip that was tied tightly into her mouth. She had stared at the three men, as they picked up what looked like a bomb and tied it in front of her chest.
“Just a few pictures, for your company,” she heard them say as they took shots with a camera, then removed the device and pushed her back against the wall.
She had spent the next three days in that warehouse, one of the three watching her all the time, until eventually the company had met the ransom they demanded. She never asked what it was, and it was a couple of years later before she saw the photo they had taken, with that look of fear in her eyes as she stared out from her bedraggled hair. When they finally released her, she had a glimpse of one of the man from under the blindfold they had used – dark hair, beard and dark glasses.
Eventually, the company had decided on a radical approach to her security – her entourage, and a year or so back her younger sister, would live in one house that she would come in and out of, giving the impression that she lived there.
In fact, she would own that house and the one next door, and spend most of her time in the other property. Only a few other trusted advisors knew this was the case, such as her personal trainer….
Alice was dropped on the floor in the darkened room by Jack, as the two other men stood back. Suzie looked over at her sister and called out.
“Lis? Wht hpnnd?”
“I dnt kn, sze – jst st clm nd dnt strggl.”
The secretary had been brought in as well, so that all five women were bound, gagged and on the floor. Jack spoke.
“Well, we have a slight problem here. The plan, Alice, was that we take your sister, leave the other two staff members and demand a ransom from you. I was going to keep you busy while my associates took her away, but unfortunately this reporter turned up.”
Jacqui looked at the other four women. “A nice simple story, my editor said. Go and see how the reclusive Alice Springs is enjoying life, he said. And what happens? I have sore arms, my mouth hurts from the tape pulling at it, and I have no idea what’s going to happen next.” That’s what she was thinking – what she actually said was “u bstrds – lt me g!”
Jack put his hand to his chin. Alice looked up at him – she had been through this before, but none of the others, even this reporter, were likely to have had her experience – and she could not shake the feeling there were too many women involved for the linking of Jack, who still looked deep in thought as he spoke.
“So, the question is, what am I going to do now?”