“No, Faiz, I already told you I have plans for this weekend, so I can’t come with you. I’m sure you’ll have lots of fun, but it won’t be with me.”
Nadia looked over the Freemen’s Moor, enjoying the fact that for once the wind was not blowing in her face. She had on a black leather jacket over a black chiffon cardigan, the longer ends at front and back hanging over her leopard print pants. Under the cardigan she was wearing a dark purple top, a matching leather belt round her waist, while a long black scarf covered her hair, framing her oval face. The end of the scarf went over her left shoulder, as she stood for a moment, looking at the mobile phone as she heard the voice coming out.
“For the last time, Faiz, I can’t make it. You go, you have fun, and I’ll be all right with the girls. Talk to you later.”
Putting her phone back in her handbag, she walked along the concrete path, her laced red ankle boots clomping on the path as she moved along. She preferred walking home this way – it kept her fit, and she enjoyed the time alone, just to think things over.
Her path took her past the halls, and the BBC studios, before she headed to the west of the city and over the Westgate Road. The houses there were built in the forties, three and four bed roomed houses, many of which were now shared accommodation, such as that she lived in.
Stopping in the local grocery store to buy some milk, she finally got to the semi detached house she lived in, digging the keys out of her handbag as she walked up to the front door. Letting herself in, she dropped her handbag on the ground and went into the kitchen, putting the milk into the fridge and putting the kettle on. Her jacket went on the back of the door.
Walking into the front room, she turned on the radio and looked round, wondering if she stat preparing the evening meal or just relax for a little while. The knock on the front door made her turn her head, as she went and opened it, saying “Yes, can I...”
The two men grabbed her arms and literally carried her in, followed by two more. They were casually dressed, with leather jackets and gloves, but the dark glasses over their eyes gave them a more menacing quality – one the guns the other two were carrying only added to.
“Get her out of the way,” one of them said, as Nadia was carried into the back room, which doubled as Anna’s room.
“Shut up,” one of the two carrying her said as she was sat in an old dining chair, and her arms were held fast to the side of the back support. She heard the sound of tape ripping from a roll, and then the pressure on her wrist as they were taped to the chair back, before tape was wrapped around her upper body to hold her in place. At the same time, her ankles and knees were taped to the chair legs.
“Please, tell me, what sggnnnnmmmmm.”
“Sorry,” another of the four said as a cloth was pushed into her mouth, and then silver tape wrapped round her head and over her scarf, “stay calm, keep still, and you’ll be all right.”
It had only taken five minutes, and there she was, unable to move, unable to speak, and wondering what was going on...
Anna stepped off the number 40 bus and looked round, the darkening sky above her before she walked down to the pedestrian crossing. Walking over, she then headed down the residential street and into the estate.
Anna was wearing a grey jacket, with elbow length sleeves, over a black coat with leather sleeves, black leggings and grey suede over the knee boots, with straps tied below her knees to keep it close to her legs. Her head was covered by a grey silk scarf with a red rose pattern, tied under her chin.
She had recently converted, and was still getting used to the idea of having her long brown hair covered, but on a night like this she was glad of it, as she opened the front door of the house and walked in.
There was no answer, but as she passed the door to the front room she was taken completely by surprise as a gloved hand was clamped over her mouth, and she was dragged inside, then forced face down on the long couch.
“What’s going on,” she mumbled into the seat cushion as she felt ropes pulling her wrists and ankles together next to each other, and then as her head was raised a rolled up cloth was pulled between her lips, pressing her tongue down as it was tied round her head.
“Just lie there,” a male voice said as Anna rolled onto her side, looking at the four men in the gloom, “and you’ll be just fine.”
Taalia came into the house, turning on the light in the hallway as she hung her great coat up, and looking at herself in the mirror. She was the youngest of the housemates, a first year student whose father knew Nadia’s, and felt she would be better with women of her own faith.
She wore a peach coloured scarf wrapped round her head, covering the black hair covering underneath, and falling over the front of her black and white striped top. The brown corduroy trousers she was wearing had the legs tucked into a pair of tan leather cowboy boots – her concession to the student culture, which she was slowly adjusting to.
She caught a glimpse of the man, the dark glasses covering her eyes, as he watched her from behind, and swallowed as she said “who are you?”
“My apologies,” he said quietly, “but I cannot tell you. Open your mouth for me please.”
Too afraid to do anything but obey, she felt the silk on her tongue as the rolled up scarf was pulled between her lips, and then tied round her head over her own head covering. She allowed the man to take her arms behind her back, and secure them with what felt like rope as she used her fingers, before she was taken into the front room.
There were three more men in there, dressed the same way, as well as Anna, lying on her side, ropes around her ankles, her wrists behind her back, and a scarf tied in her mouth.
“Sit down,” the man said to Taalia, and as she did so she watched him tying rope around her ankles, forcing them together.
“One more to go,” one of the other men said, “get ready.”
Taalia looked at Anna, who nodded slowly, showing they just had to sit and wait...
Jamia pulled up outside the house, and got out of her car, looking at the light that was on behind the drawn curtains of the front room. It had been a long day at the warehouse, and she was looking forward to a quiet night with the girls.
Jamia was dressed casually – a white wrap-round style smock under a burgundy leather jacket, jeans and wedge sandals, but she also had a white scarf tied over her hair. She took her matching burgundy bag from the car seat, put it over her shoulder and locked the vehicle, before she let herself in and closed the house door behind her.
As she turned round, she saw the two men, one of them holding a gun, the other smiling as he said “not a word – come, sit at the table with us.”
“Do I have a choice?”
“No,” the man said as he stood to the side and indicated Jamia should walk in front. She removed her handbag and coat, leaving them by the rack as she walked through, the two men following her.
The large kitchen had a table inside, with four chairs around it, and the armed man indicated Jamia should take one of the seats. As she did so, the other man said “Hands on your head for a moment, please,” waiting until she complied before he took a length of rope from his pocket, and tied her waist to the chair back. The second man put the gun down, and used more lengths of rope to secure her ankles and legs to the chair legs.
“Watch her,” the man said, the other one picking up the gun as Jamia slowly lowered her hands. “Do I get to know what this is all about,” she asked, but he said nothing as two more men carried Nadia in, sitting her opposite Jamia at the table.
“I suspect I am just the last,” Jamia said as Taalia and Anna were also brought in, the other two watching as their waists were also secured to the chair back.
“Right – go and get some food,” the man who had spoken earlier said, two of the intruders leaving as the third started to release the wrists of Jamia’s housemates, and removed their gags – carefully in the case of Nadia, as he made sure the scarf stayed in place.
“Our apologies for the methods used tonight,” the man said, “but we need to use your house for our own purposes this evening. It is not our aim to hurt you however – we merely need to make sure we know where you all are at all times.”
“What gives you the right to hold us hostage?”
“These,” the man said as both intruders held up their weapons, “but I am forgetting manners. Allow me to get you all some water.”
They watched as he fetched four plastic glasses, and then poured water from a bottle in the refrigerator into them, the other men handing them round.
“My colleagues will return soon with food for all of you, and then you may relax and watch television while we male certain preparations. I will have to ensure you have your wrists and ankles bound, but you will be able to speak to each other.”
“and after that?”
The man looked at Anna and said “then, you will be allowed to prepare for bed, but be aware we will be securing you fully in your rooms.”
“As much as when we came in?”
“More – so I suggest suitable modesty in your choice of night attire. You have nothing to fear from us, but I am sure you wish to be suitably covered.”
The four women looked at each other, understanding the implications of what he was saying as they took a glass each and began to drink.
“Oh come on Anna – are you serious?”
Nadia leaned forward and picked up the glass in her hands, the rope only allowing her a little movement as she sat back. The four women were watching Fast and the Furious 6, Anna finally being allowed to remove her coat after the meal and sitting with the others. All had their wrists tied together in front of them, hands palm to palm, and bands of rope were around their ankles and legs.
“Of course I am serious,” Anna replied, “Vin Diesel is a hottie, and if he ever took me hostage, I might just...”
She looked at the two men sitting watching them, and said “no offence.”
“You are a horrible example,” Taalia said with a broad grin, “I should tell my father of the bad influence you are on me.”
“Oh – shall we tell him about Tariq as well?”
Taalia blushed, Nadia and Jamia both laughing as well as the leader of the four men came in, the end credits on the film starting to roll.
“It is time,” he said quietly, “untie them, and then escort them to their bedrooms.”
“Mine is downstairs,” Anna said, “I would like to be allowed to go upstairs and wash first, and then change.”
“We will then accompany you to her room, and after to ours,” Nadia said quietly as he looked at them.
“Very well – take her to find some bed wear, then take her into her room and call us,” the man said to one of the others, who stepped forward and untied Anna, before taking her from the room.
“We have your word of our safety?”
“You have my word,” the man said as Taalia watched her friend being taken up stairs, and nodded slowly.
“Come – come now.”
The three girls watched as their arms and legs were released, and they were taken into Anna’s bedroom. Their friend had changed into a floor length white nightgown, her brown hair tied back with a scarf around it.
She was lying on her bed, and the three could see the bands of rope around her chest, sitting over her stomach and her shoulders, as well as her waist and her legs above her knees. The legs were bent back, and she had a band of white tape around her head, covering her mouth as she looked at them.
“Are you all right,” Nadia said, Anna nodding as the man checked the ropes around her.
“Okay, ladies – upstairs please. Your room first,” he said as he looked at Taalia.
“Very well then,” she said as they all walked up, and entered her room. She took from a drawer a set of pale blue pyjamas, and headed for the bathroom, one of the men accompanying her as Nadia and Jamia looked at the others.
“Will you tell us why you are doing this?”
“We intend to visit one of your neighbours later – nothing you need concern yourself about, but it has to be done at a certain time. Therefore, you need to be our hosts – however reluctantly.”
He turned and looked at Taalia returned, the hood of her top pulled up and covering her hair as she stood there, allowing the man to cross and bind her wrists together, and then wrap the rope around her waist.
As the two women watched the man wrap rope around their young housemate, above and below her chest, forcing her arms into her side, the leader picked up a folded handkerchief, and a roll of white tape.
“Open your mouth please,” he said quietly, Taalia nodding as she allowed him to push the cloth in, and then wind the tape around her head, reducing her to a low “Bssfgrrlsl” as she was helped to sit on the bed.
They moved to Jamia’s room, Nadia watching as she went to the bathroom, and returned in a light blue nightdress, with a pair of leggings and bedsocks on her legs, a matching scarf tied over her hair. She was soon bound and gagged as tightly as the other two girls, while Nadia was taken to her room.
As she stood under the shower a few minutes later, she wondered how she would feel when they had finished. The water was washing away her sweat, but not her fear – not totally anyway, as she turned the flow off and then dried herself off, before donning the round necked top and pyjama bottoms.
She looked at her short dark hair in the mirror, before saying “ah, forget it,” and stepping out, the man taking her arm and escorting her to her room where the other three intruders were waiting.
“If you would...”
“I have a choice,” Nadia said as she crossed her wrists behind her back, and felt the rope forcing them together, going around and between her arms and then around her waist. The surprise to her was how the ropes they then tied around her arms and upper body felt – they were tight, that was certain, but surprisingly comfortable as he wound them around her, and then pulled them even more tightly behind her back.
She even opened her mouth without asking, not quite believing what she was doing as the cloth pressed her tongue down, and the tape went round, keeping her quiet as it sealed her lips.
“What is happening to me,” she said to herself as she lay down, and watched the men bind her ankles and legs. When she had been taped to the chair, she had been angry and struggled, to no avail, but now – they had cared for them, fed them, made sure they had cleansed themselves – and even though she was unable to do more than wriggle, especially when they bent her legs and tied her ankles to her back, she was somehow grateful.
“Stay calm, do not struggle, and you will be fine,” the man said as they turned the light off, and she tried to settled down. Every so often, one of the men would look in, but she was – to her own great shock – relaxed, peaceful, and getting very, very tired...
Nadia opened her eyes to see the sun shining through the window, and as she stretched her legs out she wondered if yesterday had been just a bad dream. Looking down, however, she saw it was not – yes, her ankles were no longer secured behind her, but all the other ropes were there, and she could feel the heavy cloth in her mouth.
She struggled for a few minutes, and then managed to get into a seated position as she heard a thumping sound outside. Looking to the door, she saw Jamia jumping in, looking at her and saying “rullrrtrrt? Thfgn – hsssmptee.”
Nadia nodded and stood up, jumping over so that they were back to back, and starting to try and untie Jamia’s hands, as they heard “Police – anyone in here” and the muted calls of the other two girls...