The Babysitter Bandit 3
Josie sat in the room, her hands shaking as she watched the detective walk in and suit next to her.
“Hello, Josie,” she said with a smile, “I’m Detective Harriet Harmon. I know you’ve had a shock, but I need you to tell me what happened last night. Do you think you can do that?”
The redheaded girl looked up at her. “Yes,” she said quietly, “If it will do any good.”
“Anything you can do will help us. Why don’t we start at the beginning – Mrs Jenkins had hired you to watch her four daughters?”
“No – three. Terri, the youngest, had a friend staying over, so that made four. Anyway, we were playing a game of monopoly in the front room, and there was nothing wrong, when they came in.”
“What were you wearing at the time, Josie?”
“Well, I was going to stay the night, so I had changed into a light blue vest top and white pyjama bottoms with red hearts on them. The two younger girls were in sleep suits, while the older ones had their own pyjamas. They should have been in bed asleep, but I had agreed to let them stay up and finish the game.”
“Can you describe the people who came into the room?”
“There were two of them – dressed in black with some sort of hood over their faces. They stopped for a minute, looking at the five of us.”
“How tall were they?”
“One was about five ten, the other six inches smaller, about my height. I knew who they were – I heard about them on the news – but I didn’t want the four girls hurt, so I said they were friends of mine who had come round to play a game.”
“That was a very brave thing to do – it helped keep the girls calm?”
“Yeah – the taller one said, in this weird voice...”
“How was it weird – what did it sound like?”
“It sounded as if it had been made tinny, or passed through an old can. Anyway, she told the smaller one to take the girls to their rooms and help them to play, and she would be along later.”
“And the older one?”
“After they left, she told me to keep quiet or they would get hurt. I asked what they wanted, and she said she just wanted the valuables of the people who lived there.
She made me lie face down on the floor, and produced a green coil of nylon rope – a washing line, I think. Anyway, she crossed my hands behind my back and tied them together, then ran the rope down and wound it round my ankles. She then took a bandana, folded it and tied it over my mouth to keep me quiet.”
“She left me on the floor and went out of the room – I think to check on the others and look in their parent’s room. After about twenty minutes, the smaller one came back in and watched me until her friend returned.
“They left – I was too terrified to move, so I was still there when Mrs Jenkins got back in the early... the earl....”
The young girl started crying, as Harriet put her arm around her. “It’s all right, Josie – the girls are fine. They really believed they were playing a game, and we won’t tell them otherwise yet. You rest now.” She stood up and left the room, joining the sheriff in the next room as she looked through the one way mirror.
“How is she?”
“Scared out of her wits. The girls?”
“Just as you said.”
“How were they found?”
The sheriff looked at the report. “The two youngest were on a bed, their hands taped in front of them, their ankles taped and a strip over their mouths. The middle kid was on her bed, hands taped behind her back and ankles taped, with one of her Guide Scarves tied into her mouth. The oldest kid was sitting on her bed, taped to the headboard with three strips over her mouth.”
“I guess Cassie was showing them some mercy?”
“Maybe – but it’s the first time they’ve actually bound the kids. Is this a new stage?”
Harriet shook her head. “No idea – we just have to wait and see...”
“Great – now they can add child endangerment to our rap sheet, Ellie!”
Cassie Forest was standing in the motel room, running her hands through her light brown hair as she looked at her sister lying on the bed. Ellie was three years older, and the brains behind the raids that had been attributed to the Babysitter Bandit.
“Calm down, Cassie,” her sister said as she looked up, “You made sure the kids weren’t frightened, and treated it as a game. It was a one off – it won’t happen again.”
“Oh – and how can you be so sure”
“Because it’s time Cassie – time for us to get our revenge.”
Harriet Harmon sighed as she looked up from the file on her desk. She had been pursuing Cassie and Ellie for what seemed like years now, and every time she seemed to be one step behind them. Even on the occasion Ellie had held her own mother hostage, and tied her up, she had hoped to reason with them and get them to give themselves up. Now it was more a case of who would get to them first – her or the Feds.
The telephone rang, and it took her a few moments to pick up the energy to lift the receiver.
“Oh hi Mum – how’s Jess?”
“She’s fine – gone to sleep like an angel. I’m just ringing to see how much longer you’re going to be.”
“Heading out of the office now – it’s a quiet night, so I don’t think anything else is going to happen.”
“Good night you two – straight off to sleep now.”
As Betty closed the door to the girl’s room, she turned off the landing light and made her way down to the open plan living area of the house. Her mother would be along in a few minutes, and given the news of what happened to her friend Josie she was going to be glad of the company.
Sitting down on the chair, she picked up her history book and started to read, her eyes growing heavier with each interminable fact of the Civil War she tried to pick up. As she felt her head nodding, she put the book down and stretched her arms up, yawning as she did so.
It was therefore a complete surprise to her when somebody grabbed her hands above her head, and a voice like a bad tape recording said “No screams, Betty – we don’t want to wake the children up, do we? Just lean forward and put your head down.”
“Hell,” Betty said loudly as she felt her head been pushed forward, “It’s you isn’t it? The Babysitter Bandits?”
“That’s right – my friend here is going to keep an eye on the kids for us, and so long as they don’t wake up we’ll get along just fine. Now, hands behind your back, and don’t move.”
Betty stood there, petrified, as she felt ropes been passed around her wrists, biting into her bare wrist as her hands were forced together , back to back, and the rope wrapped around and between them. The sweat stains were beginning to show on the front of her white vest top as she was pushed down onto the wooden floor, and forming on her brow under her surly brown hair as she looked over her shoulders.
The intruder was dressed in black, with a black hood over their head that had the eyeholes covered with what looked like muslin. Their hands were gloved, as the white rope was wrapped around her ankles and forced her legs together.
Betty felt her head been forced up, as a yellow hand towel was forced against her mouth, the fold pushed between her teeth. A red sash was then tied tightly around it, forcing the material into and against her face as the ends were knotted together behind her head.
As she was allowed to drop her head again, she heard the front door open and a voice call out “Betty? Are you there?”
“MMM - GTOTFHR” she called out, but the response she got was not the sound of running feet. Rather, there was a soft “O”, and the door opened to reveal her mother been pushed into the room by another intruder, dressed in black with her hand against her mother’s back.
“Hello, Mrs Brown,” the person who had bound Betty said, “We’ve been expecting you. On the floor, face down, and put your hands behind your back.”
“Are you all right, Betty,” her mother said as she laid herself down on the floor, her eyes filling with tears. Betty nodded mutely as she watched the second person pull her mother’s hands behind her back and wrap a length of thick black rope around them, securing them together in the same way as hers were.
Both women were wearing denim skirts, but in her mother’s case she had on a dark pink round necked top with capped sleeves. Betty watched as her mother’s wrists and ankles were bound securely together, before the second person looked over at her captor.
“Start the search,” she said as she pressed a peach hand towel against the older woman’s face and fixed it in place with another red sash, the material going round her long blonde hair. “I want to take care of these two, and have a little chat with them.”
Mrs Brown watched as the person who had surprised her left the room, while the other one took a final length of black rope and wrapped it around her right arm, pulling her daughter’s left arm against it as she lashed the two together. She then ran the rope up as she pushed the ankles of both women up, holding them against her body as she wrapped the rope around the legs of both women.
“There now,” the intruder said in the strange voice as she stood in front of them, “Nice and cosy. How does it feel to be the victim of a robbery, Mrs Brown, Betty?”
The two women turned and looked at the intruder, a puzzled expression on their faces as they tried to understand what this person was saying.
“Years ago, you didn’t help us when we needed it,” the intruder continued. “As we rob this house, think about how that must have felt.” The robber stood up and walked out of the room, leaving the two women to look at each other as they tried to find some way to free themselves.
As Cassie pulled her hood off, she looked at Ellie with a big smile on her face. “Now they know how we felt when Mum found us at their house,” she said as Ellie turned the corner.
“Yeah - hard to think that was six years ago now...”
“Cassie, Ellie, are you - oh my god!”
The two girls looked up at their mother, mewling through the layers of masking tape that covered their mouths. Both were lying facing each other on the floor, their hands clasped together and taped over so that it resembled a large white ball at the end of their four arms, while their ankles had also been firmly taped together.
In a side room a young girl could be heard crying softly. Kneeling beside them, their mother peeled the tape away from her older daughter’s mouth, allowing her to spit out the wadded up handkerchief that had filled her mouth.
“There were two of them,” she sobbed, “they grabbed us, tied us up and then went to search the house. Please, look and see if Betty is all right.”
“What about Betty?”
Ellie looked up to see Mr and Mrs Brown standing there. The woman ran past, as her husband knelt and helped to release the two girls.
“And to think she blamed us for what happened! I never saw mum and dad so mad, but then there was the crash and...”
“And everything changed. So, one more visit, and then we quit this town.”
“Oh yes - the one we’ve been saving until last. The person who forced dad to crash that night...”
Harriet stood up and walked out of the room, leaving Mrs Brown and Betty to hug each other as the doctor opened his bag.
“So much for the quiet night,” she said to the Sherriff as he stood there. “Why this house?”
“Nice jewellery, a little money - funny how it was Betty Brown, though.”
Harriet looked at the man. “Why - what has she got to do with our two miscreants?”
“Not much - they were babysitting for her a couple of nights before their parents tied. A couple of intruders broke in, taped the tow of them up, tied up Betty and ransacked the place. I guess tonight brought those memories back for the kid - she was only twelve at the time.”
As she stood there, Harriet thought - they had come back to this town to get their revenge on their so-called friends, and now...
“How did their parents die, Sherriff?”
“Car crash - a drunk driver swerved in front of them at an interchange, forcing them to crash into a tree in the town square. Both died instantly - a messy business.”
“I can imagine - what happened to the other driver?”
“Done for dangerous driving - he never got charged with manslaughter. Before my time, though - I was the deputy then. He still lives in...”
He stopped and looked at Harriet. “Sherriff,” she said slowly, “Does this person still live in town?”
“Yes, he does - his wife left him, but he stays here with his two daughters. You don’t think...”
“I do,” Harriett said as she grabbed her coat. “Tell me where they live - I’m heading there now...”
The house stood up a driveway from the main road, the windows shuttered against the night. Lights were shining in the windows, but there was no sign of anything untoward going on as Harriet arrived at the front.
Jumping out of the car, she slammed the door shut and ran up the path, ringing on the front door bell as she did so. When she got no response, she ran round the side of the house, looking all the time as she did so. The kitchen door was open, so she drew her pistol and walked in, saying “Police - is there anyone in here?”
“VRHR” she heard a muffled voice call out, and stepping into the kitchen she saw a woman in her early twenties sitting in front of a pet food bowl on the kitchen floor.
She was pulling on the rope that was connecting her wrists to her ankles, with loops of both passed around those and holding them firmly together. The ropes went over the bottom of her black pants, the white sock covered feet sticking out underneath, while there were damp stains on her peach coloured t-shirt. A wide band of silver duct tape covered her mouth.
“Let me,” Harriet said as she gently pulled the tape away from the woman’s mouth, catching the cloth that she spat out when she did so. “Please,” she said as her red eyes looked out from under the fringe of her long brown hair, “my sister - they dragged her upstairs and I don’t know where they took her.”
“What about you?”
“Stuff me - help Katie!”
As the sound of police sirens came ever closer, Harriet ran towards the staircase, taking them two at a time as she ran to the upper level. A bedroom door was standing slightly ajar, but as she looked in the room was empty, the contents of the drawers and cupboards scattered over the floor and a safe door hanging open.
Hearing a muffled noise from the room next door, Harriet pushed the door open and looked in. Another young woman was lying face down on a bed, her black hair covering her face, dressed in a pair of dusky pink pyjamas with a black cat motif printed on them.
Her wrists were crossed and lashed together behind her back with strong white rope, and Harriet could see the slight purple tinge that was starting to form in her skin. Her ankles had also been pulled back and lashed together, while her big toes had also been tied together with a piece of thin cord.
More rope was tied around her arms just below her elbows, and her upper body above her elbows, while a length ran from her ankles, around her arms, and then up to her neck under her hair. Holstering her gun, Harriett carefully released eh rankles, allowing them to fall on the bed before rolling the woman over onto her side.
She could now see the silver panel that covered her lower mouth, and the tear stained eyes that looked up at her. “It’s all right, it’s all right,” she said quietly as she brushed the hair away from her face, the sound of footsteps echoing in the room as the sheriff ran into the room.
“So do you think that’s it? They’ve got their revenge?”
Harriett looked at her colleagues. “I hope so - I just can’t shake the feeling they’re moving on to other things now. They’ve got a taste for this - I don’t think they’re going to give up that easily....”
“There now - you and your mother are ready to play. Would you like to lie down?”
The young blonde haired girl nodded as Cassie helped her to lie on her side, he head resting on her mother’s lap. She had sat quietly as her mother had explained how the young girl with the stocking over her head was going to play a game of Cops and Robbers with them, and she was the robber.
Cassie had taken turns with each of them the mother first to show she was not going to hurt them, and then the girl. The mother was in her early thirties, dressed in a blue denim shirt dress with a wide brown belt around her waist and knee length brown leather boots, while her daughter was wearing a pale blue tunic over a white long sleeved top, dark legging sand knee length black fabric boots.
She had bound the mother’s wrists together behind her back, and then the girl’s in front of her. Rope around her mother’s upper body, above and below her chest, and for the girl a few coils just below her elbows. Both had their ankles tied together, side by side, and both their legs tied together above their knees. Now they looked at each other, the white medical tape sealing their lips, as Cassie sat and watched the, the sound of Ellie collecting the mother’s valuables coming from upstairs.