The St. Monica’s Youth Group
Looking at herself in her full length mirror, Hilda Shakespeare smiled as she said “for an older woman, Hilda my dear, you have still got it, and you know it don’t you?”
The red dye she had used on her hair several weeks previously was starting to grow out, the blond roots showing as she ran her fingers through it. She was in her late forties, and was looking through a pair of turquoise framed glasses at herself, in her brown leather top with cotton sleeves, grey checked skirt, dark tights and black leather ankle boots.
“Olivia, when are the rest of the young ladies coming round?”
“Seven, mum,” her daughter called back up as Hilda hung a large gold locket round her neck, and then started to walk down the stairs, smiling as she went into the front room.
“Mum, that looks ridiculous on you,” Olivia said form her position on the couch. The young woman was wearing a pink vest top, with a wide black webbing belt around her waist, a blue denim skirt with a white lace lower half that came to her knees, and knee length brown suede boots. Her blonde hair was pinned back and platted behind her head, and she smiled as her mother stared at her.
“All right, all right – I’m no spring chicken, but I still think I look good,” Hilda said with a grin, “so I am grabbing my handbag, and my car keys, and I am heading for the door, and I...”
“am going to stay right where you are, and put your hands on your head.”
Olivia looked to the door where two men were standing, wearing blue overalls and heavy boots. One of them had one of their knives in the kitchen in his hands, as the other took her mother by the arm and walked her back in.
“Don’t panic,” he said as he looked at Olivia, “we just need a change of clothes and somewhere to lie low until dark. So long as you do as we say, you won’t get harmed.”
“We need to make sure they can’t tell anyone we’re here though?”
“Aye, I was getting to that – what’s your name lass?”
“Well, Ooooo Olivia, I want you to tell me if you have any rope in the house.”
“Not really – why?”
“Never mind,” he said as he reached into his pocket, and took out a roll of twine. “Put your hands together in front of you.”
“Not a word, mummy,” the other man said as Hilda watched the man wrap the twine tightly around her daughter’s wrists, binding them tightly together before resting them on her lap and taking the twine down and using it to tie her ankles together.
“Give me the knife a minute,” he said, taking the kitchen knife from the other man and cutting the twine above the knot, before he looked at Hilda. “You as well,” he eventually said, “sit down and put your hands in front of yourself.”
Ten minutes later, Hilda was watching with Olivia, her wrests and ankles tied with the thin twine as their captor said “go and search the garage and things – see if you can find anything.”
“Who are you anyway,” Hilda said as she stared at the young man.
“Escaped from the local youth prison to answer your question- like I said, we just need a place to lie low for a few hours.”
“Well you can’t stay here!”
“Why not,” the young man said as he looked at Olivia.
“Three of my friends from the St Monica’s Youth Group are coming round tonight – you can’t hold all of us hostage.”
“Oh can’t we,” the young man said with a smile as his friend came back in.
“Got some rope and some other things.”
“Good – it seems we ‘re going to have other company – so keep mummy quiet while I tell her lovely daughter what she’s going to do...”
Patience Smyth-Wright was about as unlike her given name as anyone could be. She had the same unflappable self-confidence as her father, and the same spirit as her mother, so as she walked up the garden path to the Shakespeare house she knew her spirit would win over everything.
She had her own sense of dress style as well, choosing today to wear tight beige jodhpurs with knee length black boots, zipped up the inside, and a large Aztec print blouse that was longer at the sides than at the front and back, coming down over the top of her boots at the lowest point.
Knocking on the front door, she turned and looked along the road, her brown hair held back in a ponytail, before turning round as Olivia opened the door.
“hey there,” she said as he came in, “got the coffee ready?”
“No,” Olivia said quietly, “and I’m really really sorry Patience.
“Sorry – sorry for what?”
“For our presence,” the young man said as he came out, showing the kitchen knife. “Both of you, come in here please.”
“What is this,” Patience said as she went in, and saw Hilda sitting in the chair, the silver tape covering her obviously stuffed mouth.
“Ah – ah, I see. Nothing to apologise for Ol, I see you had no choice in the matter,” Patience said as she felt her arms pulled behind her back, and then the rope rubbing on them as they were secured together. “This happened to mummy once at a church council meeting – remember I told you about it?”
“Yeah – but this is us it’s happening to now,” Olivia said as Patience felt the rope go between her arms, and then around her waist so that her hands were locked against her.
“Still, chin up and all that – we’ll find a way out of this,” Patience said as the man took her arm and led her out of the room, up the stairs and into a bedroom, making her sit on a bed before he knelt down and started to bind her ankles tightly together, the ropes squeaking on the leather as her legs were forced together.
“So, big tall and dangerous,” Patience said as he secured her legs together below her knees, “what’s the plan here?”
“Just to keep you quiet,” he said as he shoved a folded cloth into Patience’s mouth, and then taped it over, wrapping the tape around her head and keeping her hair out of the way, before he made her lie on her back and tied her arms together below her elbows, and then bent her legs before securing her ankles to that rope.
Rolling onto her side, Patience watched as he said “enjoy your quiet time” and walked out, leaving the door open as she started to try and call for help – and then heard the front door bell again.
“Hey Olivia,” Claire Babcock said as she came in, “how’s tricks?” The young blonde was wearing a blue blouse, with the sleeves rolled up past her elbows, and a short white skirt, with brown suede lace ups on her feet.
“I’ve been better, Claire,” Olivia said as she closed the door.
“Oh dear – you’re not feeling unwell are you?”
“No – she’s just got some unexpected guests,” one of the two young men said as her stepped out. “No screams, no panics – just hold your hands out in front of you.”
“What’s going on,” Claire said as she looked at her friend.
“They’ve escaped from prison – Patience was taken upstairs by one of them a few minutes ago, and mum’s tied up and gagged in the front room. We’re just going to have to do as they say, or else...”
“Hey, hey, it’s all right, I get it,” Claire said as the rope went around and between her wrists, as she saw the second young man come down the stairs.
“Your turn – come upstairs with me,” her binder said as they walked up, and Olivia was escorted back into the front room. Claire was taken into the master bedroom, and made to lie on the bed before her arms were pulled above her head and secured to the head board.
“You’re not going to hurt us, are you,” Claire then said as she watched the man cross and start to bind her ankles together.
“Look, as we keep saying, we just need a place to lay low for a few hours,” he said as he tied the rope off, and then tied her legs together below her knees. “Now, don’t move.”
“Very funny,” Claire said as she watched him go to the wardrobe, and take out a large blue and gold silk square, smiling, as he rolled it into a band and tied a knot in the middle of it.
“Is that going to keep little old me quiet,” she said as he walked over.
“I think so – open wide and we’ll try.”
Claire had to stop herself from giggling as the silk knot rested on her tongue, raising her head so that he could tie the band around her head, and then resting it on the pillow.
“NdhwwrruggnnttnnnnnNNNNNNN,” she said as he gently tickled the back of her knee.
“I think that will do – enjoy yourself,” he said as he left the room, Claire wriggling on the bed as she tried in vain to free herself.
“Please, can’t you just leave me and go?”
“Nope,” the young man said as he finished his sandwich, and then heard the knock on the front door, “let her in.”
Sighing, Olivia looked at her mother, who nodded slowly as she went to the front door, and saw Gemma Jones standing there. She had her dark hair in a knot and pigtail on her head, and had on a grey vest top, held up by spaghetti straps over her shoulders, ethnic print pants in a brown material, and black sandals.
“Sorry I’m late – traffic was hell,” she said as Olivia closed the door, “what have I – oh, hello.”
“Hello,” the young man said as he looked at Gemma.
“I’m sorry, Gemma, we’re all been held hostage until he and his friend go.”
“HOSTAGE? OH that is exciting,” Gemma said, Olivia staring at her friend as she said “so we’re all going to be tied up and gagged, things like that?”
“That’s right,” the young man said as he held up a roll of black tape, “and you get to be tied up by the hostess here. Tape her wrists together behind her back, and then her arms to her side.”
“Gemma, have you gone completely loco,” Olivia whispered as the man watched her take her friend’s wrists behind her back, and start to tape them tightly together, “they’re holding us hostage!”
“I know, and I haven’t,” Gemma said with a grin, “but I’ve always wondered what this would feel like – and now I get to find out.”
Olivia merely shook her head as she tore the tape loose and smoothed it down, before winding it round her forearms and stomach, trapping them against her body as she did so.
“Very good – now, come in here,” the man said, Gemma looking at Hilda as she came in and saying “Hello Mrs Shakespeare – I guess we’re all caught up in this together now.”
“Don’t ask,” Olivia said as the man made Gemma lie on the long couch, and then she taped her ankles as well as her legs together, above and below her knees.
“So I need to be kept quiet, don’t I,” she said as she wriggled around, the man nodding as he pushed a folded cloth into her mouth, and then made Olivia wrap the tape around her friend’s head.
“Cnuuhfacshn,” she asked, the man nodding as Olivia raised her head and placed a cushion underneath. Gemma and Hilda watched as the second man came in, and they placed a chair from the dining table opposite both of them, Olivia sitting down as her wrists and arms were taped to the back of the chair.
“Can I ask one favour,” she said as she looked at the two men.
“and that is?”
“If you’re going to tape my legs to the chair, take my boots off first – that tape would ruin them.”
“Fair enough,” the men said as he and his friend unzipped and took Olivia’s boots off, before they taped her legs to the front legs of the chair at her ankles and below her knees.
As Olivia looked at the window, she could see even with the curtains drawn that it was getting darker.
“We’ll be on our way soon,” the man said, “thank you for your hospitality.”
“Did we have a choice?”
“No, you didn’t,” he said, “and for that I’m sorry. Now, please, open wide.”
Olivia felt the cloth press down on her tongue as he eased the folded scarf in, and then wrapped the silver tape round her head, keeping her hair out of the way before the two young men left the house.
“Rullrrtlff,” Hilda said as she looked at her daughter. Hilda nodded as she looked at her mother and Gemma, who was wriggling round on the couch.
“Elttleee – hh?”
Hilda looked at her daughter for a moment, before she slid to the floor and started to try to shuffle to where the wicker basket was - and the pair of scissors that should be sitting at the top...
“Hoe dreadful,” the Reverend Timmins said as he sat with Hilda and Olivia at the church coffee morning, “we do seem to have our share of bad luck with these felons, don’t we?”
“I suppose we do,” Olivia said as she saw Patience with her parents.
“By the way, I hear young Gemma has an idea for a fund raising activity – an auction of promises?”
Olivia smiled – that was not what Gemma had said to her. She’d called it a slave auction...