The Perfect Housemate
“Have you seen the newspaper this morning? There’s been another attack on a house in the area.”
Carla put down her coffee mug and motioned to Wendy to pass the paper over. Spreading the paper out in front of her, she read the article that occupied the lower half of the front page.
THIRD BREAK-IN REPORTED IN LOCAL AREA BY BOGUS WORKMAN
FAMILY THREATENED BY INTRUDER
Police were called to a house in the outskirts of Barchester today after a call to the emergency services, and discovered eighteen year old Jenny Coltard lying on the floor of her house. Jenny had been left bound and gagged by what police believe is a well organised gang that has been operating in the area for some time.
Jenny told reporters that she had opened the door at her mother’s request, to allow in what they thought was a repairman from their cable provider. Upon gaining entry, however, they quickly discovered that he was in fact a criminal, as he held them at gunpoint and allowed two accomplices to enter the house.
Her mother, forty year old Ruby, was taken from the room by one of the gang while Jenny was bound hand and foot, and gagged with her own bandana. She was left lying on the floor while the other two intruders searched through the house, only to see all three leave some twenty minutes later. She then managed to raise the alarm using her mobile phone, and waited for the police to arrive.
On searching the rest of the house, they found Ruby Coltard in her bedroom, also bound and gagged and sitting on her bed. She told police how the two intruders had used lengths of rope to bind her arms and legs, before forcing her to reveal the combinations to the safe and then gagging her with a silk scarf.
Both women are recovering after spending the night in hospital. The intruders are described as males, in the mid to late twenties, wearing workmen’s overalls and baseball caps. They have also issued a photo of a handgun, similar to that used in the raid, with a pearl handle. Police are calling….
“That’s another burglary in the area – maybe we should take precautions?”
Wendy smiled as she drained her cup. “I don’t think we’re in any danger – for one thing we don’t have cable.
“Listen – I need to work late tonight. Here’s my share of the rent and the bills for the month – I’ll see you tomorrow morning.”
She tossed an envelope over to Carla, who opened it and checked the contents.
“Thanks Wanda – you’re always on time, unlike Cathy…”
“Don’t worry about her – I’ll see you tonight.”
As Wendy headed out of the door, Cathy walked in. Carla looked up and said “Where’s your rent?”
“I’ll get you it tomorrow,” Cathy yawned. “I’m expecting a big payout tonight.”
She looked up at the masked intruder with pleading eyes. “Please, I don’t have anything valuable, just leave us alone….”
She had opened the door when the man said he was from the cable company, and come to fix the problem she had reported. As soon as he had come in, his baseball cap pulled over his eyes, he had held a gun to her head and made her stand back while his two companions had come in. One of them was with her sister, while she had been made to kneel on the floor while the third bound her wrists and ankles.
She had just been about to head out for the night as well, and the shoulder straps from her black cocktail dress were starting to fall down over her shoulders as she knelt there.
“You just keep quiet, and you’ll be just fine,” the intruder said as they mussed her hair with their gloved hand. The balaclava made it impossible for her to note any details about them, beyond their height, strength and attitude. As she looked over, she saw the other man pick up her sister and throw her over his shoulder.
She was wearing a dark grey mini dress, the skirt of which rode up as he picked her up and revealed her black knickers. By chance, they matched the black rope he had used around her wrists, ankles and legs, and also the black tape that covered her mouth. She looked over at her sister as she knelt there and tried to shout out some encouragement, but all that emerged was a low mumbling.
“Your turn now, dear,” she heard as a strip of black tape was placed over her own mouth. The three men congregated in the room as she watched, picked up their bags and left as quickly as they had come in.
Outside, they opened the side door of their van and threw the bags in. In doing this, they narrowly avoided hitting a young woman who was sitting there, looking up at them over the silver tape that covered her mouth.
“Thanks for allowing us to use your computer, dear,” the smallest of the three said in a high pitched voice as the door closed on her. She struggled to free her wrists from the rough rope that encircled them behind her back, wondering how she had been so stupid as to be jumped by them at the office.
The buttons of her grey jacket had come undone in the last hour or so, revealing a black bra with breasts that were made more prominent by the rope around them. As she looked at her legs, she also wondered how many times this was going to happen – one of the call staff being kidnapped and made to reveal what calls had been made. More worryingly, she wondered why the company had not made it public that this was happening as well….
“Thank you,” Carla said with a slight hint of sarcasm as Cathy handed her the monthly rent and bill money. “I see your payout came through.”
“Yeah, I got lucky,” she answered as Carla turned back to the paper. The front page had another report of a break in by people claiming to be cable repairmen, and she looked up at her housemates as they sat eating.
“You know, this seems to be happening a lot around here. Have neither of you seen anything suspicious in the area?”
Wendy looked up. “If I had, I would have told you. You know that, don’t you?”
Carla looked at her two housemates. Wendy had a job in the city, and was always neatly dressed, while the student Cathy was – well, a scruffy student if truth be told. Wendy paid her bills in advance, Cathy always at the last minute. Wendy helped around the house, Cathy didn’t…
“By the way, I need next month’s money a week early – I’m going away on business and need to pay the landlord in advance.”
The two girls looked at each other. “All right,” they replied in unison before Cathy stood up and grabbed her portfolio. A photograph fell out onto the floor and landed face up. When Carla looked down, she was mildly shocked.
It depicted a woman in her early twenties, standing in a room with a small safe standing open under the table. Her brown hair fell down over her head as she stood there, made to lean forwards by the way her wrists were manacled behind her and secured somehow to the ceiling. Her blouse had been removed, leaving her breasts covered by a black bra, but her skirt was still in place.
“What on earth is this?” Carla said as she handed the print back to Cathy.
“Part of my art project – the theme is the subjugation of women,” she snapped back as she thrust the photo in her portfolio and quickly made her way out of the door. Carla walked over to the window and watched her climb into a grey van. Two things were starting to bother her – the fact that Carla always seemed to have money after one of the raids, and the fact the girl in the photo matched the description of one of the first people to be attacked.
“Will next Monday be all right,” she heard Wanda call through the open door.
“Yeah – Monday’s fine,” she called back as she watched the van drive down the road.
“Can I help you?”
Alisha looked at the young man, standing there in grey overalls and a baseball cap over his head.
“Cable company – your landlord rang to say you had a problem with it.” He was slim, in his early twenties and spoke with a slightly high pitched voice.
“Oh yeah – come on in,” she said as she held the door open. She was on her way to a party, and was wearing a see thorough pink blouse over a white bra, what showed rather too clearly through the material. Her skirt was grey, pleated and came down to just above her knees.
“Who is it?” another woman called, and Martha came out of the front room. She was heading for the same party, but unlike Alisha was slightly more modestly dressed in a sleeveless cream dress with a red rose print.
“Cable guy,” Alisha said as she closed the door behind them. “the landlord sent for them.”
“but we don’t have a problem with…” Martha started, but when the young man pulled a gun from his pocket and pushed Alisha against the wall, she fell silent.
“Open the door, bitch,” he shouted as he pushed the gun against Alisha’s head. Shaking, Martha walked past them and opened the door, allowing two more men in overalls and baseball caps to come in. These two were wearing stockings over their heads as well, and carried large cudgels in their hands.
“Take her into the living room,” the young man said to one of the new arrivals as he grabbed Martha by the arm, “I’ll take care of black beauty here.”
He pushed Alisha in front of him, through the kitchen and into the garage, accompanied by the other intruder who grabbed a chair as he went past.
“Sit down, put your hands behind your back and shut up,” he said as Alisha was forced to take a seat in the brown wooden chair. “Please, we’re students, we don’t have anything – just leave us alone,” she pleaded to no avail as her wrists were pulled behind her back and bound together with rope, which was then secured to the central pillar of the five forming the chair back.
“I told you to shut up,” the young man said in his high voice, and Alisha began to choke as a thick white cloth was pulled into her mouth, filling the space and forcing her lips apart. “and you should stop coughing, or you’ll be sick and I don’t want a death on my hands.”
With some effort, Alisha calmed herself down as a further length of rope was used to secure her ankles together. She looked over her shoulder at the two men as they discussed their next moves, before the light was turned off and the door closed on her.
“How’s the other one doing,” was the question asked when the three men gathered in the front room. Martha was lying on a coffee table, her wrists secured behind her back with rope and a scarf tied into her mouth to hold in the cloth packing. She looked up at the intruders as they stood there looking at her, her long brown hair held back by the cloth gag.
“Finish tying her up,” the young man said as he and one of the others left the room. The third intruder smiled as he made Martha lie face down on the table, pulled her ankles behind her back, crossed them and started to wrap more rope around them.
“This has got to stop!”
Cathy threw the paper down after reading of the latest break in. “Those two are friends of mine – fellow students with nothing. Why the hell did they hit them?”
“Apparently,” Wendy said as she picked up the paper, “they had some rather expensive jewellery. Go figure.”
“Even so, this has to stop. Oh – here’s your money,” Cathy responded as she threw an envelope over to Carla.
“Thanks,” she said with a suspicious look in her eyes. She was growing more and more convinced that Cathy knew more about these robberies than she thought, but wanted proof. Today, she was sure she was going to find it.
As Cathy and Wendy headed out of the house, she sat drinking her coffee and waiting for the sound of their footsteps to fade into the distance. As silence fell over the road, she stood up and went upstairs, a set of master keys in her hand. Coming first to Cathy’s room, she opened the door and looked in.
The room looked messy, but even Carla had to admit there was a sense of order to the room. She looked through the drawers and cupboards, stopping short only when she found in a desk drawer a small, pearl handled handgun.
“That’s the same as the one in the police photo,” Carla thought as she closed the drawer. “I’m satisfied – time to make a phone call.”
She closed Cathy’s door behind her, and was about to head to the telephone when she saw Wendy’s door was still open. “Unlike her,” she thought as she walked in, admiring the clean floor and neat piles of photographs on the desk. She was about to leave when she looked again and saw something that chilled her to the bone.
The sheet of paper had attached to it a photo of a young woman in her early twenties, sitting against a pale coloured settee. She had on a light blue blouse, and a straight skirt of a lighter shade of blue, but she was also trussed up with ropes tied around her arms, chest, wrists, legs and ankles in several places, leaving her resembling a salami sausage trussed and ready for hanging. She also had a red scarf pulled into her mouth, tightly knotted over her brown hair, and was plainly scared.
Carla was transfixed by the photo, and read the description underneath.
“This was one of the women we visited last August, in our first raid. She actually bought the cable guy story, so was shocked when we did this to her, offering no resistance at all as we trussed her up. Her flatmate, who came in as we were gagging her, at least put up a fight.
“I enjoyed that – the exercise was fun, and it gave me an excuse to strip a beautiful woman before tying her up. We left her on her bedroom floor while we robbed the place”
There was another photo below this one, of a dark haired woman lying on the floor. She was in her bra and panties, and a ball gag tied into her mouth. Ropes held her crossed wrists behind her back and to her ankles which were raised off the floor, as well as around her legs.
Below the photo was a complete intinery of items taken, money collected – a shopping list of….
“Our first raid.”
Carla slowly turned round to see Wendy standing there, smiling and pointing a pearl handled pistol at her.
“You would be amazed, Carla, how often people don’t look at someone in overalls and a baseball cap, even to notice if they are female – or male.” For the last two words, Wendy dropped the pitch of her voice so that she sounded more masculine.
“Please, place your hands on your head and come downstairs. I see I will have to move out rather quickly, but I would rather not until sundown. Anyway, I have one more job to do in the area.”
“I don’t understand,” Carla said as she was escorted down the stairs, “Why?”
“Why? You can blame a former housemate of mine for that – a woman called Wilma…”
“I’ve heard of you,” Wendy said as Wilma held her at gunpoint, “You’re The Challenger.”
“Quite right,” the red haired woman said as she motioned to Wendy to turn round, “and now I must ask you a question. Are you going to call the police?”
“No? The correct answer,” Wilma said as she lowered her gun. “Why not?”
“I want to be like you – a successful thief.”
“With your build – think again, not on your own anyway. But…”
“I could put your name to someone I know who is setting up a gang. If I do that, will you do something for me?”
“Anything – name it…”
Thirty minutes later, Wilma was smoothing a strip of silver tape over Wendy’s mouth. She was sitting on her bed, in her white vest and shorts, with ropes encircling her chest and legs to hold her in place.
“you cannot properly secure someone unless you know what it is like,” Wilma said as she picked up her cat and put it on over her black dress. “Now, the police will come and free you in an hour, but I will be long gone. Understand?”
Wendy nodded as Wilma picked up her suitcase and closed the door behind her. She moved around a little, trying to get comfortable and enjoy the prospect of a new career…
“And so, we’ve been operating here for some time. Time, now, to move on. Are you uncomfortable?”
Carla grunted through the white tape that covered her mouth. Wendy had tied her n a couch at the base of the staircase, her wrists and elbows secured behind her back and her ankles tied together. Sweat patches were starting to appear on her pink vest top, and her shorts were a little damp.
Wendy patted her dark haired head. “Don’t feel so bad – I was going to move out anyway, and you have to admit I was the perfect housemate. Goodbye, Carla.”
Wendy blew her a kiss as she closed the front door behind her, leaving Carla to seethe with rage and anger. She struggled to free her hands from behind her, falling on the floor in the process and screaming in frustration, as the door opened and Cathy walked in.
“Shit, I’m too late,” she said as she ran over and removed the tape from Carla’s mouth. “When did she go?”
“About twenty minutes ago – what the hell is going on here,” Carla said as two policemen came in the house.
“I’m a detective – we’ve been on Wendy’s trail for some time at the request of the cable company, but I didn’t have the evidence to charge her until now. Did she say where she was going?”
“She said something about…. A detective? That’s why there’s a gun in your room?”
“Yes, yes – I’ll explain later. You two free her – I know where she’s going…”
“Gently, gently – she may have fainted, but we want her to be with her sister.”
Wendy was holding the feet of the unconscious blonde, while her teammate had her under her shoulders and his hands clasped under her bra-covered breasts. They had already secured her wrists behind her back, and then left her on the floor of the hallway. Breathing normally while they dealt with her sister and gathered what valuables they could find. Now they were carrying her up to join her sister in the main bedroom.
“She’s heavy,” the man grunted.
“Well then, put her down and raise your hands above your head.”
Wendy looked over her shoulder to see Cathy and four uniformed officers standing there, their guns pointed at the pair. “Shit – I should have guessed,” she said as she lowered the feet of their captive to the floor, and raised her hands.
“since I move din at the request of the company – you used to work for them, after all,” Cathy said as two of the officers took hold of Wendy and handcuffed her, while the other two grabbed her partner. “Where’s the other woman?”
“Upstairs,” she said with a resigned voice. Capture had always been a possibility, but she had prepared funds waiting out of reach of everyone.
Cathy ran up the stairs, avoiding the unconscious woman who had been left there, and entered the master bedroom. On the bed was a naked woman, with short dark hair, bound hand and foot, Ropes ran down her front from her neck to her ankles, and behind her back from the ankles to her wrists. A scarf gag was pulled into her mouth.
“It’s over now, you’re safe,” Cathy said as she went to untie the knot at the base of her neck, the woman crying with joy and relief.
“I’m sorry I didn’t trust you,” Carla said as Cathy stood in the hallway, her bags waiting.
“Well, I can understand why you thought I was involved. Don’t worry, though – she will be in prison for quite some time.”
Carla nodded as she watched the detective leave the house, and went back into the front room. She would need new housemates now, and an advertisement had already been in the paper. In fact, she was expecting someone…
The doorbell rang and Carla opened the door. Standing there was a tall, well dressed young woman with a document case under her arm.
“Are you Carla? I came in answer to your advertisement,” she said as she held her hand out. “My name is Lily – Lily Harmon.”