A few hours earlier in Leeds...
“First day at the job – looking forward to it?”
Patricia Pearce looked at herself in the mirror, making sure her dyed red hair was smart and in place, before saying “Just about. It’s not a great job, but it pays well.”
“Probably because we have to go out to the middle of nowhere,” her flatmate Josephine Smith said, “but at least you have my company on the way there.” She had longer blonde hair, pulled back in a ponytail, and a lighter complexion than Patricia, whose skin tone came from her upbringing on the Yorkshire moors.
“So where is this place anyway?”
“All I have is a grid reference for the sat nav,” Patricia said as she buttoned up her white blouse, then smoothed her skirt down. The sound of the doorbell ringing made them both look to the hallway.
“I wonder who that is,” Josephine said as she went to the door, while Patricia went to the kitchen to make some tea before they set off.
“Who was it,” she called out as she heard footsteps.
Patricia looked to see Josephine in the kitchen, but she was not alone. Two women were with her, dressed in black including the balaclavas that covered their heads, only their blue eyes and red lips showing. She could also see the guns in the hand of the one not holding Josephine.
“Jo – who are they,” Pat said as she looked at them.
“Not a word,” the one holding Jo said, “We need to stay for a while, so you might as well get comfortable....”
“Honestly, Rach, did you have to wear the costume to the house?”
Rachel shook her head as she tightened the belt on her coat. “I don’t have time to get changed after the fitting – so wear it home I will, and then I’ll go on to the party.”
Carol shook her head, her long dark hair moving in the wind as she did so. She was wrapped up against the cold, a long sheepskin coat covering her black roll neck sweater and most of her jeans, while her brown fur lined boots took care of the rest. Rachel had a pair of short black boots on, but a glimpse of a pair of gossamer thin pants was visible between the top of them and the hem of her brown raincoat.
“Having said which,” she said as she turned into the path to their front door, “I guess I could do with a hot drink. I wonder if Pat and Jo have left for their first night on the job yet?”
“Doesn’t look like it,” Carol said as she saw the Mini parked outside, “so they get to see your costume as...”
Her voice was stopped as she opened the door, and both of the young women saw the masked woman in the hallway, pointing a gun at them. “Come in,” she said quietly, “and close the door – your housemates are waiting for you.”
Carol was shaking, as she said “Oh God, not again,” but she closed the door and followed Rachel into the front room of the house. “What the hell,” Rachel muttered as she saw Jo and Pat sitting in two wooden chairs, staring at them over the tea towels that had been stuffed into their mouths.
Their arms were tied to the side of the chair with plastic zip ties, and their ankles secured in the same way. A second masked woman was standing behind them, who said to Rachel and Carol “Take your coats off please.”
“Who are you, and what’s going on?”
“Rachel,” the masked woman said quietly, “Just take your coat off.”
“How did you...”
“Let’s just do as they say,” Carol said as she unfastened her coat, and let it drop to the floor, “they mean business.”
“How do you know?”
“Because it’s not the first time this has happened to me,” Carol said as the woman behind her pulled her wrists behind her back, and secured her wrists with a zip tie. Rachel nodded and slowly removed her coat, the eyes of Jo and Pat widening as they saw the costume she had bought for the party she had been going to that night.
It consisted of a purple bikini top and briefs, and a sheer see through chiffon short jacket and pantaloons. A girdle around her waist had little silver discs attached to it.
“Slave girl – very nice,” the girl behind her housemates said. “Where are the accessories?”
Rachel opened bag and took out a headdress, a silk veil and a pair of sandals.
“Very nice – put them on,” she said as the second woman made Carol sit down, removed her boots and used another zip tie on her ankles, “and then you can make us all some tea with my friend’s help. I could do with being served.”
“Aaaaaa all right,” Rachel said as she put on the other items, her short brown hair shaking with her head as she put the veil over her face, and then was escorted to the kitchen.
“What’s this all about - is this Madame X again,” Carol said as she looked at the other woman. She merely put a finger to her mouth as she took out a mobile phone and dialled.
“Targets secured – you may proceed.”
Ending the call, she pulled the towels out of the mouths of Jo and Pat. “I’m afraid we’re going to be here a while,” she said as the other two girls coughed, “but we can still have some fun. Tea will be here shortly.”
“Carol, what’s going on,” Pat said as she looked at her friend.
“I don’t know – but if it is her...”
“Who – this Madame X? Who is she anyway?”
“I met her once – a few years ago, at a slumber party were we were all held hostage until our parents paid a ransom. My dad was in the States at the time, so I was held a little longer. There was one of them who – played with me...”
“No,” Carol said as she looked at Rachel carrying the tray with mugs of tea in, “A woman. She – she opened my eyes to a few things.”
“Well,” the woman said as she looked at Carol, “this is an unfortunate coincidence. I remember you now.”
“Oh – you’re not...”
“No – but I was there,” the woman said quietly. “I regret you have got involved in this, but we need to make sure these two young ladies stay here tonight. We’ll cut you free to have your drink – no funny stuff.”
“We won’t try anything,” Pat said as they were cut free of the chair, and handed a mug of tea each. Rachel sat next to Carol and sipped her tea, all four watching the two women carefully.
“Now,” the woman who had helped Rachel said, “You will call me Miss Brown, and my friend is Miss Black. Do as we tell you, and we will be just fine. If anyone calls, just say you’re too busy to call now and will ring them back later.”
“What if someone comes to the door?”
“You’ll find out when that happens,” Miss Black said with a smile. “We’re going to have a fun evening in, and if you behave you will be just fine. Isn’t that right, Carol?”
“Yeah – they won’t hurt us if we behave,” Carol said quietly as she sipped her drink.
Miss Brown put on the television, and said “hey look – a St Tinian’s film. I love them – let’s watch it together.”
As she did so, Miss Black said “I regret you will miss your party, Rachel – your outfit would have turned heads.”
“So what are you going to do with us?”
“Finish your tea,” she said with a smile, as she opened a large holdall, “and you will be the first to discover.” She took out a length of white rope, shook it loose and doubled it over, then said “when you are ready, stand up and put your hands behind your back.”
“You don’t have to tie us up,” Jo said, “we’ll do whatever you say.”
“Yes,” Miss Brown replied, “and now we are telling her to finish her drink, and put her hands behind her back. Unless you wish to argue about it...”
“Oh – and one other thing,” Miss Black said as Rachel put her cup down and stood up, “can you recommend the best takeaway around here?”
Rachel turned her head at the sound of the doorbell ringing, and tried to speak through the rolled and knotted scarf that had been pulled into her mouth and tied in place, dragging her veil in with it. Her arms were folded behind her back, and her wrist tied to her elbows, while her upper body was encircled in two bands of the white rope, tied tightly into place.
Her ankles were crossed and tied, and her legs tied together below her knees, her pantaloons compressed around her legs. To her right, she could see Carol and Jo sat back to back, their arms around each other and their wrists tied in front of the other’s belly. Their ankles and legs were tied in the same way as hers, while a length of rope held them together at their waists.
They both had thick white scarves tied between their lips, and were trying to move round. Miss Brown simply smiled, and said “All right, Pat – go and pay the man.”
Pat nodded and stood up, walking to the front door and opening it to the man standing there.
“Delivery from the Palace?”
“Thanks,” she said as she took the two bags, and then bade the delivery man good night. Returning to the front room, she placed the bags on the table, and started to unpack and open the boxes while Miss Black laid out some paper plates and cups, and Miss Brown pulled a chair back.
“Sit down and raise your hands,” she said, and as Pat sat down she watched a length of rope pass around her waist, pulling her against the chair back, before her ankles were tied to the front legs of the chair. Miss Brown then pulled out a second chair, as one by one the other three girls were hopped over to the table, tied at the waist, and then their arms released.
“Eat up,” Miss Black said as she and Miss Brown sat down, “this is on us.”
“You buy your hostages dinner? Aren’t you going to rob us?”
“Of course not,” Miss Brown said, “our job is to keep you here – and take the veil off Rachel – you don’t need it anymore.”
Rachel nodded as she unhooked the veil, letting it drop to the floor and picking up a spare rib. “So how long are you going to be here,” she said before she bit into it.
“As long as it takes – don’t worry – when we go we’ll let the authorities know of your predicament.”
“Eventually,” Miss Black said, “we need time to get away after all.”
“So what are you going to do with us?”
“Right now,” Miss Brown said as she put some rice and King Prawn with ginger on her plate, “share this meal with you. So eat up, drink up, and let’s just talk as if we were some girlfriends having a night in...”
Eventually, with a table full of empty takeaway containers and bottles, Miss Black said “Well, it would appear we need to make sure you fur ladies get to bed. If it is not too forward a question, do any of you share a bed?”
Jo and Carol looked at each other, and then raised their hands.
“Very well then – we will start with you,” she said to Pat. “Miss Brown, release young Patricia, take her upstairs, allow her to wash and do whatever is necessary, and then to change into her nightclothes.”
“And then,” Miss Black said as she looked at Pat, “Bring her back down here to wait for the others.”
“Come on,” Miss Brown said as she untied Pat and helped her to stand up, “Let’s go.” She walked her up the stairs, then waited outside the bathroom as she showered, before walking her to her bedroom. “Put on what you usually wear,” Miss Brown said, watching as Pat took from a drawer a pair of white cotton pyjamas with red polka dots.
“Very good,” Miss Black said as Pat and Miss Brown walked back in. She could see the other three girls had their wrist secured behind the chair backs with plastic ties, as Miss Black released Rachel and helped her to stand up.
“Let’s go,” she said as she escorted the young girl out, returning a short while later with Rachel now wearing a long nightdress, consisting of a thin blue chiffon overdress and a shorter white dress underneath.
Jo was then taken up, coming back in a light blue vest and shorts combination, while Carol returned last of all in a long t-shirt with a picture of Lady Gaga on the front.
Looking at the clock, Miss Black said “Ten O’clock – all of you, put your hands together in front of you, and don’t move.”
One by one, the four girls had their wrist crossed and tied together in front of them with thin cord, a second length of cord tied between their arms and the ends left to dangle in front of them.
“Now,” Miss Black said, “up the stairs, Indian file, and we start in Rachel’s room.”
The girls stood up and walked out of the room, up the stairs and into the first bedroom. “lie down,” Miss Brown said to Rachel, and as the young girl did so she crossed and tied he rankles together, securing them to the leg at one side of the foot of the bed, before taking her hands above her head and tying them to the top of the bed.
“Open wide,” Miss Black said as she held a folded scarf in front of Rachel’s mouth. “I’ll see you girls later,” she said before the cloth was pushed in, and a length of flesh coloured plaster pressed down over her mouth.
Pat was then walked to her room and lay on her back, her wrists secured to the iron headstand as she watched Miss Brown secure her ankles to either side of the foot of the bed.
“Just breath through your nose and you’ll be fine,” Miss Black said before she pushed a cloth into her mouth, and then covered her mouth in tape.
Escorting Jo and Carol to the last bedroom, Miss Black looked at them and said “Now, why don’t we arrange things so that you can comfort each other...”
Rachel had no idea how long she had been in the bed, but her eyes opened wide when she heard Miss Black say “Thank goodness – we will leave them alone now, and tell Penny we look forward to seeing her.”
She closed her eyes again as she heard her door open, and then close, before footsteps were heard going down the stairs, and the front door closing. She lay still for a few minutes, waiting to see if the two intruders had indeed gone, before she started to try and pick at the knot that secured the rope around her wrist to the headboard.
It was a slow, laborious process, but eventually she said “YSDSSS” as the rope slackened and she was able to pull one arm free. She then untied her other wrist, sat herself up, and within ten minutes was free from the bed, pulling the tape from her mouth as she spat out the cloth.
Opening the door, she could not hear any other sounds, so she crept downstairs to phone for help. To her dismay, she saw they had removed the cable from the telephone, and a look in the front room showed her their mobile phones, the backs off and the batteries missing.
Running back up the stairs, she looked in Pat’s room, seeing the blonde asleep with her head to one side. Leaving her for the moment, she slowly opened the door to the other bedroom and looked in.
Jo and Carol were facing each other on the bed, their hands secured to the headboard, and their legs wrapped round each other before their ankles had been secured. A length of rope was tied round their waists, and their mouths covered with the flesh coloured tape as they nuzzled each other.
Rachel smiled, and said “Want me to raise the alarm first?” Jo looked at her and nodded, as Rachel closed the door, and went to grab a coat and a pair of boots...