With Due Consideration...
The Gentlemen Robbers
“So what exactly is it we have been asked to retrieve from this address,” the man behind the wheel of the small grey transit van said as he looked at the front door of the semi-detached house.
“Well,” his passenger said, “in the case of this address, there is a certain sketch framed and hanging on the wall, which we have been asked to retrieve. Under the cover of our usual modus operandi, of course.”
“Naturally,” the driver said as they both got out, going to the rear of the van and retrieving a tool bag each. The two men were dressed identically – black sweaters and jeans, with leather jackets and trainers. The only obvious difference was their heights –one stood a good foot taller than the other.
Looking round, they made their way up to the front door and knocked. A few moments later, the taller of the two produced something from his pocket, and a few moments later they both walked into the empty house.
“I’ll take care of the alarm,” the smaller man said as his partner put his bag down carefully on the floor, checking his gloves before he made his way to the front room.
“Okay, we’re free to work,” the smaller man said as he came back in. “I presume this is the sketch here?”
“Indeed – would you ensure it is well wrapped and protected, while I begin to search upstairs?”
“I’d be delighted to,” the small man said as he placed his bag on the dining table, and opened it, taking out a roll of bubble wrap and some scissors. Cutting a suitable length off, he lifted the sketch from the wall and placed it on the table, glass side down, before covering the frame with the wrap and taping it into place.
It was as he was putting the scissors and tape away that he heard the front door open and close. From his jacket pocket, he took out a black balaclava and pulled it down over his head, so that only his eyes and mouth were visible, before taking a small pistol from his other pocket and holding it in his gloved hand. He then stood, watching as the door to the room opened and a dark haired woman walked in.
She was wearing a pink smock top, and as she turned and looked at the masked intruder he could see the blue patterned top underneath in the neckline. He could also the quite prominent bump, the brown leather belt around her body sitting comfortably on top of it. Her outfit was completed by a pair of dark blue leggings, the lower parts of which were tucked into a pair of straight tan leather boots with a small tassel on the outside.
As she looked at the masked man, she whispered “oh god” and seemed to pale in front of him.
“Please,” he said quietly, “take a seat and compose yourself. I assure you, we mean you no harm, despite the appearances.”
“Did someone just enter, Mister Small,” she heard a second voice say, as a taller man came into the room, dressed identically and carrying a knife in his hand.
“I regret to say you did Mister Tall, and as you can see we must do everything to avoid stress for her. May I ask your name?”
“Tittt Tina,” she stammered.
“And, if it is not an intrusive question, how long?”
She looked down and held her bump, before saying “I’m due in about four weeks.”
“Very well then, some introductions are in order. I am Mister Small, my friend here is Mister Tall, and I am truly sorry to say that we are in the process of robbing your house.”
“Robbing...” She looked at the space on the wall where the sketch had hung, and said “Yeah – yeah I can see that. So what are you going to do with me?”
“Well first,” Mister Tall said, “I think a drink of water would be of use to you. If you will do the honours, Mister Small?”
“Of course,” the smaller man said as he left, and Mister Tall sat opposite Tina.
“Now, here comes the bad news. I regret to say that it will be necessary for us to restrain you, and silence you, in order that we can make our escape. Given your present condition, however, we will do it in such a way that it will hopefully not cause undue stress to you or your unborn child.”
Tina stared at him for a moment, before she nodded and said “I guess I should be grateful that you noticed.”
“Well, forgive me, but in your present state of bloom it is rather hard not to see.” He paused as Mister Small handed Tina a glass of water, both men watching as she sipped the clear liquid.
“Okay – so you’re going to tie me up and gag me?”
“With regret, yes. But, as I say, we will ensure your comfort.” Mister Tall looked at the couch she was sitting on, and said “Mister Small, if you could bring some cushions over to support her back? In the meantime, Tina, would you please fold your arms in front of yourself, resting your elbows in the palms of your hands?”
As Tina did this, he opened his back and took out two lengths of white cord, using them to secure her wrists to her elbows while Mister Small arranged the cushions behind her. She looked down at the cords, as Mister Small then used a linger length of rope to secure her upper arms to her body, making sure that the lower of the two bands of rope sat over her belt.
“There now,” Mister Tall said as his partner tied off the rope behind her back, “I trust that is not too uncomfortable?”
“No – given you have to do this, that’s fine,” Tina said, “now what?”
She watched as Mister Tall knelt in front of her, and secured her ankles tightly together, the rope rubbing on the leather as it went around and between her knees. He used another length of cord to secure her legs together, below her knees and above the tops of the boots, before the two men between them moved her so she was resting with her back on the cushions, and her feet on the couch.
“Tell me Tina,” Mister Small said, “would you like to listen to music or watch something on the television?”
“Perhaps some music – if you look in the CD player, there should be a show tunes one in there.”
“I will leave you to complete things here while I finish upstairs,” Mister Tall said as he left the room, Tina hearing the overture to Mama Mia as Mister Small took a roll of white tape from his bag.
“Are you the sort of person who likes to sing along?”
“At times,” she said as she wriggled her body, her arms locked in place.
“Well, today I regret to say you may only hum along. Please, put your lips together.”
She nodded as Mister Small pressed a long, wide strip of the tape firmly over her mouth, smoothing it down as it formed to the contours of her face. She tried to move her lips, but it held firm, so she decided to just listen to the music.
“Are we finished here?”
“I believe so,” Mister Small said, “save for this.” He took the glass, Tina listening as he walked to the kitchen, and she heard the sounds of him washing it. When he returned, he put the bubble wrapped picture in his bag, and picked it up as Mister Tall checked the ropes.
“We must be going now,” he said as he stood in the doorway. “The Gentlemen Robbers bid you adieu – may we never meet again.”
“Fnkkuu,” Tina said as she rested her arms on the bump, and listened to the songs as the two men went to the door, removed their balaclava masks and walked out.
“I trust she will come to no harm like that?”
“No,” Mister Small said, “but just in case, I’ll place a call to the local police in a short while. Once we are a safe distance away.”
“Most considerate,” Mister Tall said as they drove off...
“Of course, Penny,” Tracy said as she spoke into her mobile phone, “we’re going to pick her up in a few minutes, and drive straight back to the farm. The paperwork’s all in place?
“Good – well, see you in a little while,” she said as she ended the call, and looked at Bev. “Right – shall we invite her in?”
“Sounds good to me,” Bev said as she put on her dark glasses, and stretched the black leather gloves over her hands as Tracy started the engine, moving out and driving a short distance down the road before she turned into a driveway and stopped outside a semi-detached house.
Stepping out, the two women looked round before they walked up to the front door, the red headed Afro-Caribbean woman knocking on the door as Bev looked round.
The door was opened by a blonde haired woman wearing a black dress with a v-shaped neckline. The dress had a floral pattern printed on it, and the skirt came to just above the knees as it stretched over the small bump in her stomach. Dark tights and knee length brown leather boots completed the outfit.
“Yes,” she said as she looked at them, “can I help you?”
“I hope so,” Bev said, “you are Suzanne Graves?”
“Excellent,” Tracy said as she produced a black handgun and pointed it at her, “kindly step back in for a few minutes please.”
Suzanne looked at the two women, and then stepped slowly back, raising her hands as they walked in. “Remain calm,” Tracy said as Bev put her handbag on a small table, opening it to take out a plastic zip tie, a plastic bag containing a clean cloth, and a roll of clear tape. Opening the bag, she opened it and removed the cloth, before she said “open your mouth please.”
Nodding, Suzanne allowed her to push the cloth in, closing her lips over it before Bev tore a length of the clear tape from the roll, and smoothed it carefully over her lips.
Suzanne nodded to her handbag, Tracy taking it as Bev used the zip tie to secure Suzanne’s wrists together in front of her. She then looked out of the front door, nodding before she removed a pair of sunglasses and put them on Suzanne’s face. She realized the lenses were painted over with black paint, as she was led out to the car and sat in the back, her ankles secured with a second zip tie before Tracy locked her front door, sitting in the car beside Suzanne as Bev got behind the wheel, and drove off.
“Watch your head,” Bev said as she helped Suzanne to get out of the car, and led her across the courtyard, Tracy opening doors as she heard the heels of her boots clicking on stone floors, and then the softer sound of a carpet as the door was closed behind her.
The zip tie was cut away from her wrists as the tape and cloth were removed from her mouth, as she reached up and took the glasses off.
“Sit down,” Tracy said as she indicated a chair, Suzanne sitting down as Bev took a roll of duct tape and started to secure her wrists to the chair back.
“You are aware of what has happened?”
“I am,” Suzanne said as she looked from side to side.
“Then you will be aware of what needs to happen next?”
Suzanne nodded as she felt the tape around her waist, the silver band sitting under her bump as she was held against the chair back.
“We will be watching and monitoring you at all times,” Tracy said as Bev removed Suzanne’s boots, and then taped her covered ankles together, as well as her legs below her knees. “If at any time you feel unwell or need assistance, genuine assistance, look up and nod three times.”
“I understand,” Suzanne said as Bev stood up, and took a chiffon scarf, rolling it into a band as she opened her mouth and allowed the young woman to use it as a cleave gag.
“We will be back later with food,” Tracey said as she walked to a television set, turning it on and waiting until the film started, “for now, remain calm.”
Suzanne nodded as the two women left, closing and locking the door behind themselves before they made their way down to the security room.
“We’re watching boss,” the dark haired girl said as she looked at Suzanne in her seat. “Any signs of distress, we will call the doctor and move in.”
“Good,” Tracy said as she looked at their guest.
“Funny,” Bev said, “I never figured a pregnant woman would be up for a staged kidnapping.”
“Ours not to figure, ours to only meet our customer’s requests.”
“Thank you,” Suzanne said as she wiped her mouth. The remnants of a three course meal lay on the tray on the small table.
“You are most welcome – you will find a bathroom through that door there, where you may prepare for the night.”
“I’m glad you were able to fit me in,” Suzanne said as she walked over, “When the baby comes, it may be some time before I can do this again. Nightdress?”
“In there,” Tracy said as she and Bev watched her close the door. A few moments later, she came out, wearing a long nightdress.
“Will you be uncomfortable with your hands behind your back?”
“Not at the moment,” Suzanne said as Tracy moved her arms behind her back and secured her wrists together with medical tape. She then lay on the bed as Tracy taped her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees.
“As always we will monitor – when does your husband get home?”
“About two tomorrow?”
“Good,” Tracy said as she smoothed the tape over Suzanne’s mouth, and helped her to lie on the bed, “sleep well.”
“Ewllll,” Suzanne said as they left, Bev turning the light off before they closed and locked the door.
It was about one o’clock the next day as a transit van pulled up outside Suzanne’s house, and Tracy got out, looking round before she unlocked and opened Suzanne’s door. Picking up the mail, she set it to one side, before she signalled to the two men that got out.
Standing to one side, she watched as they carried Suzanne in, Bev placing the bag they had taken the previous day on the floor. The cloned was now wearing a denim blouse and dark leggings, with a pair of black short boots designed as if they had a pair of socks turned down over the top.
Her wrists were secured together in front of her, while a length of rope was tied around her upper arms and body, and bands held her ankles together as well as her legs below and above her knees.
“Lay her on the long couch,” Tracy said, as she watched them lay Suzanne gently down.
“Fnnkkuu” she said as she looked up, the knotted black scarf firmly tied in her mouth.
“You’re welcome,” she said as they left, Bev saying “we got a formal pickup. Barclay’s in town – manager’s wife.”
“And not a paying customer in that sense.”
“Okay then – let’s go to work...”
The Faversham Fox
“Good afternoon your ladyship.”
Lady Roberta Cranbourne smiled and nodded as she came into the house, smiling as she removed the black leather beret that covered the top of her long blonde hair. The young aristocrat removed her great coat, revealing her grey dress. The dress was off the shoulders, with a wide band at the top and two large buttons to the side at the front.
The dress came to halfway down her thighs, the rest of her legs enclosed in a pair of black leggings, her feet in a pair of black boots made in the style of cowboy boots, but of soft leather.
“Good afternoon Claire – have there been any visitors or messages?”
“No, your ladyship. Will you require some tea?”
“Please – it has been a tiring morning,” Roberta said as she passed her hands over the bump at her stomach. “I will be in the reading room.”
“Very good your ladyship,” Claire said as she watched her mistress walk into a room, and then turned, heading for the kitchen. She paused to put the kettle on, and then turned round, slowly looking at the man who was standing there.
“Hello,” he said, “do have a seat, and do not worry – I will ensure her ladyship gets her tea.”
Roberta was sitting at a table, glancing through some letters as she heard the door open and close. “Just pour it and leave it Claire,” she said without looking up, listening to the sound of the tea pouring and the pot being set down.
It took a few minutes for her to realise the door had not opened and closed, so she looked up. The man standing in front of her was well dressed, in a brown tweed suit, mustard coloured waistcoat, checked shirt and brown brogues. A mustard coloured cravat was around his neck, and tucked into the shirt, but the most amazing thing of him was the full head mask he wore, fashioned after the head of a brown fox, complete with whiskers.
“Who are you,” she said as she put the letter down.
“Ah, a good question,” he said quietly, “I believe the newspapers refer to me rather fancifully as the Faversham Fox, but as far as today is concerned, I am the man who is here to empty the contents of your safe.”
“On whose authority?”
“On the authority of this,” he said quietly as he produced a hand gun and held it in his brown gloved hand.
“Well, when you put it that way?”
“Quite so – I see you are somewhat pregnant,” he said quietly, “so, while I must secure you to effect my escape, I shall make sure it does not over inconvenience you.”
“Secure me? Surely that in itself will inconvenience me.”
“Undoubtedly – but we must begin.” He looked at the old writing chair she was sitting in, and smiled as he said “I think that will be sufficient.”
She watched as he placed an old fashioned brown briefcase on the table, and opened it, taking out a roll of white tape. “If you would kindly push the chair back slightly, and rest your arms on those stout looking rests, we will begin by taping your wrists to the wood.”
“Well, when you ask so politely,” Roberta said as she placed her arms on the rests, palm down, and watched as the Fox taped her wrists tightly down to the wood, and also her arms below her elbows.
Returning to the bag, he took out a long length of rope, and used it to secure her waist to the chair back, making sure the rope did not interfere with the rest of her body.
“Now,” he said quietly, “I know the safe is behind that bookcase. If you would be kind enough to furnish me with the combination?”
“First tell me where Claire is.”
“Your maid? She is in the kitchen, secured to a chair, silenced, but otherwise unharmed. Now, the combination, if you please?”
Nodding, Roberta gave a series of turns and directions, the Fox taking note and then opening a hidden door in the bookcase before unlocking the safe. She tried moving her arms as he emptied the contents of the safe into a canvas bag, and then placed that inside his case.
Taking two more lengths of rope out, he knelt down and used the first to draw her ankles together, passing the rope around and between her legs and securing them firmly. He then used the second length to secure her legs together below her knees, before standing up and smiling.
“Normally, I would be much stricter,” he said, “but a gentleman should never seek to harm where it is unnecessary. I do, however, require you to be muffled for a while.”
From the case, he took out a large gold headscarf, and rolled it into a band, tying a double knot in the middle before he walked behind the trussed peer.
“Please, open your mouth as wide as you can.”
“If I must.”
“You must, your ladyship.”
Nodding, Roberta opened her mouth, feeling the silk knot as it pressed down on her tongue while the Fox tied the band tightly round her head, trapping her hair underneath as he secured the ends together at the base of her neck.
“there now – I trust you will be able to manage like this?”
“Not really no,” the Fox said as he smiled and closed his case. “Do have a good afternoon.”
“Hmmmnj,” Roberta said as she tried to wriggle round, the Fox bowing as he picked his case up and walked out off the room.
Heading to the kitchen, he checked the bands of tape holding Claire to her chair, the tape covering her mouth showing the shape of her lips as she tried to move them.
“You should tell your mistress, you know,” he said as he looked at the band of tape around her waist, her stomach slightly enlarged over it, before he left the house.
The Selfie Snatcher
“And it’s ten AM in the morning – time for the news on Radio 2, with Moira Stuart.”
Bethany smiled as she dried herself off, and then pulled on her pair of panties, followed by her brown tights. As she pulled them up to her waist, she smiled as she put her hands on her stomach, and then pulled on her favourite boots – burnished bronze in colour, coming to just below her knees, made of soft leather.
She then picked up her dress and pulled it down over her body, the green wool hugging to her form as the cowled neck hung loosely in front of her neck. Fastening a thin brown belt round herself so that it sat on top of her stomach, she smiled as she looked at herself in the mirror.
“You know, for four months pregnant, you don’t look too bad Beth,” she said to herself with a smile.
“I do so agree.”
She turned suddenly at the sound of the male voice, looking at the man who was standing there, smiling at her. He was wearing a grey hooded top and blue jeans, but the chief thing that drew Bethany’s attention was the gun he was pointing straight at her.
“Oh my god,” she said quietly, “what do you want?”
“Not to panic you, at any rate,” he said with a smile, “so keep breathing, remain calm. Do exactly what I tell you, understand?”
Bethany slowly nodded as the man walked in, and picked up her pink phone. “I want you,” he said quietly as he handed her the phone, “to take a selfie. Pose, and make it a good one.”
“Take a... Take a photo of myself?”
“Yes,” the man said as he stood back, watching as Bethany stood in front of the mirror, her hand on her hip as she took a photograph.
“Very good,” he said as he walked behind her, taking the phone before he guided her wrists behind her back, and took a length of white cord from his pocket. Bethany looked in the mirror as she felt him cross and secure her wrists together, and then she saw a rolled up black bandana held taut in front of her mouth.
“Open wide, my dear.”
Bethany knew she had no choice, as she felt the scarf been pulled back into her mouth, the band tied round her head and holding her light brown hair against her head as she looked in the mirror.
“Shall we,” he said as he took an envelope and left it next to her phone, then took Bethany by the arm as she was walked out of the house, and into the back of a grey transit van.
“Be seated,” he said as he helped Bethany to sit on a blanket, before he took more cord and tied her ankles tightly together. Smiling, he got out of the van, closing the door as Bethany looked round, and then felt the van move under her.
“Here we are.”
Bethany looked up as the man opened the side of the van, and untied her ankles, helping her to stand up and walk across a warehouse floor, through a door and down a flight of stairs.
“Hello Mandy – sorry I had to leave you for so long.”
Bethany’s eyes widened as she looked at the blonde sitting in the chair, her wrists tied to the sides, her ankles secured to the front legs with brown ropes clearly visible over her grey fringed suede boots. She was also wearing black leggings, and a blue jumper top with thin lighter blue horizontal stripes. The top covered her more prominent bump, while a tiger print infinity scarf hung around her neck and over her shoulders.
“Pllssstkthssff,” she mumbled as he came over, helping Bethany to sit on a bed before he peeled the length of medical tape away from the second woman’s mouth and started to untie her.
“OH my god,” she said as she looked at Bethany, “did he kidnap you as well?”
“Ysswthsggnn,” Bethany said as the second woman rubbed her wrists. “Explain it to her,” he said as he went out, locking the door behind himself.
“Here – let me get this out of your mouth,” she said as she walked over, and untied the scarf, “my name’s Mandy – he kidnapped me two days ago. Who are you?”
“Bethany. Who the hell is he?”
“You read the papers?”
Bethany nodded as she brought her wrists round and rubbed them.
“He,” Mandy said as she opened a door, and took out two bottles of water, “is the Selfie Snatcher. So called because – well, let me guess. He told you to take a photo of yourself?”
“Yeah – you?”
“I was in a store – he came up to me, put a gun on my back, made me take the photo and then marched me out into the street, and into the van.”
“So the photo?”
“The ransom picture,” Mandy said with a little smile. “At least he treats us well.”
“There was another woman here – she left soon after I arrived. He usually leaves us free, unless he leaves us alone – then he...”
“Good news Mandy – you’re going home.”
The two women looked at the man, as he said “Sit in the chair, and put your hands by the side of the chair.”
Bethany nodded as she sat down, and he used rope to bind her wrists to the chair back at the sides. He then tied her ankles to the chair legs with more ropes, before he picked up the roll of medical tape and tore a strip off.
“Keep your lips together, breathe through your nose, you will be fine,” he said, Bethany nodding as he taped over her mouth, and then used the tape to secure Mandy’s wrists behind her back.
“Good luck,” she said before a scarf was pulled between her lips, and tied round her head, before the man took her out, closing and locking the door behind them. Bethany looked round, and kept herself calm, hoping he would not be too long...
The China Doll Gang
Opening the front door of her flat, Queenie sighed as she put the keys down on the table, and her bag on the floor. Bad enough her partner was away for another week, but she had news for her – the best possible news, given the results of her first scan.
She slipped off her camel great coat and looked at herself in the long mirror she had in the hallway. Her long dark hair fell over the shoulders of the purple wool tunic she was wearing, the false tie hanging down over the small bump as the opening showed her chest. The top came over her crotch, covering the top of her brown leggings, the legs tucked into a pair of mid-length brown leather boots.
“Maybe I will call her in a few minutes,” Queenie said to herself as she closed her eyes and composed herself – and then opened them again, staring for a few moments into the mirror before she slowly turned round.
A second woman had appeared as if out of nowhere, dressed from head to foot in a grey form fitting catsuit that even had a hood pulled up to cover their heads. The woman was also wearing grey boots and gloves, one gloved hand holding a gun towards Queenie. The only thing about her which was not grey was her face – but that was smooth and white, with only the slits for the eyes breaking the purity of the look.
“Oh my god,” Queenie whispered as she raised her hands, and saw two other women in similar attire walk out, their heads cocked to one side as they looked at her. “You... You’re going to rob me aren’t you?”
The three women nodded in perfect timing.
“And... And you’re going to tie me up, gag me?”
Again they nodded as Queenie started to shake.
“Look – I’m pregnant, ten weeks,” she said, “and I just found out I’m carrying twins. I’m not going to get in your way, I’m not going to stop you, and I won’t call the police – but I have to avoid stress...”
She looked for some signal, some way of knowing they understood. She had read of this trio in the newspaper – and of how tightly they had restrained those they found in the homes they robbed. As she looked down, and then back up, she whispered “please?”
The three Dolls looked at each other, and then the one with the gun indicated she should turn round. Nodding slowly, Queenie turned round and put her arms to her side, wondering what was going to happen as she heard movement behind her, and then saw the long brown rope as it was draped over her shoulders.
“Oh god, I gotta stay calm,” she whispered as one of the Dolls started to wrap the rope in spirals down her arms, pulling them behind her back as well as her forearms were placed together and then secured with the rope going around and between her wrists.
Queenie braced herself, hoping they would be gentle as she expected to feel the ropes around her arms and chest. So when the Doll passed it around her body on top of her bump and then tied it off so that her wrists were held against her back, she sighed and said “thank you.” She was still unable to move her wrists, but it was as comfortable as she could expect.
She was turned round and walked into her front room by the Doll, continuing to say a silent prayer of thanks as she was walked over to a large chair and helped to sit down. She watched as a second Doll took a second length of rope, and used it to secure her legs together below her knees, taking the rope around and between her limbs, and then took the cords down and used it to secure her ankles tightly together.
She tried to move her legs, with no success as the third Doll put the gun to the side, and then made her way into the kitchen. Returning with a drink of water, she held it to Queenie’s lips, allowing her to take a drink as she said “thank you – for at least been gentle.”
The Doll nodded as she put the glass down, and then produced from a large bag a green bandana, which she rolled into a band and tied a knot in the middle of.
“Before you do that – my partner is on the other side of the country, and nobody else calls round. You’ve made sure I can’t raise the alarm – but you cannot leave me like this for long...”
The doll looked at her and then nodded.
“So you will raise the alarm for me?”
As the Doll nodded, Queenie opened her mouth and felt the cotton on her tongue, the Doll tying the band round her head and securing the ends together at the base of her neck.
She watched as the three masked women completed their search of the flat, too afraid to move much as they walked round. Eventually, they put certain items into their bag and stood watching her, their heads tilted to one side.
The Dolls put their heads up and picked their bags up, turning on the television before they left. Queenie watched as BBC One came on, the lunchtime news starting as she watched, her eyes growing heavier...
As she opened her eyes, Queenie saw a police officer come in, running over and easing the damp bandana from her mouth.
“Oh thank you,” she said quietly, “how did you know I was in here?”
“Anonymous call – some woman rang and said she thought she had heard a muffled call for help from this address. When we got here, we found the door open and...”
“Please, untie me,” Queenie said quietly, “I really need the toilet.”
“Are you sure you’re all right?”
“I’m fine,” Queenie said as her partner held her hand. “It could have been a lot worse.”
As she walked off, Queenie looked through the mail, and picked out a hand written envelope with a local postmark. Opening it, she read the short note.
With luck, the release you requested will have reached you fairly quickly, and we trust you are none the worse for our visit. We, as women, do understand the joy of expecting, and we hope the extra steps we took to ensure our escape were not too uncomfortable.
May you have a peaceful pregnancy, and know true joy with your new children.
The China Doll Gang.
“This,” Queenie said as she folded the note and put it away, “a reminder. There’s something I need to tell you...”
Well, as you can imagine, over the course of my career there have been occasions when I have had to make sure a woman who was pregnant could not raise the alarm. Whenever it happened, I tended to make sure it was more difficult for them to raise the alarm, but I never bound them in an overly restrictive way, and took great care to ensure they were not unduly distressed.
I guess it may be better if I talk about a more recent occurrence, when I was employed to test the security on a recently restored flat in the Knightsbridge area. The client had some knowledge of my, shall we say colourful past, and was willing for me to use my skills to see if I could beat their alarm system.
So I spent a little while investigating and – casing is such an ugly word, but descriptive of the things I had to do to get an understanding of the building the flat was in. At the rear of the building was a fire escape, which was good news for me. I’m not as young as I was, and climbing drainpipes while possible was definitely a less favoured option.
So I returned later that night, with some things I thought I might need, in a rucksack, and dressed for night work in black. Making my way round and into the back yard – big mistake not to lock the gate – I as quietly as possible made my way up the fire escape, and then used a thin metal blade to open the windows. He had used the original design, so it wasn’t a mutlibolt closing – just a single latch, which I opened with ease.
I’m not a fool however – so as I slipped into the dark room, I kept to the furniture and made my way across the room until I reached the alarm box. It had a digital code, but a small device a friend loaned me allowed me to break that code, and I smiled as the alarm went off.
So far, my friend was in trouble, but I knew there was still the matter of his safe to deal with. So I stepped off the couch, took out a penlight and shone it round – then turned suddenly as the room light went on.
The woman standing there was about five foot ten tall, with long dark hair, and was wearing a grey padded jerkin over a red tartan blouse, the cuffs rolled slightly up. She was also wearing a pair of black leggings and black leather over the knee musketeer style boots, with gold buckles. What was also clearly visible to me was the bump that showed she was in the latter stages of pregnancy.
We took a couple of minutes to look at each other, before she said “this is my father’s idea of testing security for my flat, isn’t it?”
“I’m afraid so,” I said quietly, “and I apologise for the fact you walked in on the test.”
“Well, he didn’t warn me,” she said, “so I guess that was the idea – so what do we do?”
“I can leave if you wish...”
“Oh no – if he wants this tested, let’s do this properly. A real thief would make sure I told him where the safe is and the combination.”
“True – but a thief like me would also note your condition, and say that so long as you answer my questions, I’ll make sure you are safe.”
“I get the feeling you’re an uncommon thief,” she said with a smile, “so thanks, but do this right.”
“Very well,” I said as I slipped off and opened my rucksack, “but for your own comfort, we need to do this differently. Please, sit down, make yourself comfortable.”
As she sat down, I pulled some rope out, and then folded her arms behind her back, tying her wrists to her elbows as she wriggled round. I then knelt down and tied her ankles together, the rope rubbing on the leather, and then secured her legs together below her knees, cinching the bands in each place with the rope between her legs.
“Now,” I said as I stood up, “the location and combination for your safe, if you please?”
“Well, since you asked so nicely,” she said, as she directed my attention to where I would find things. Thanking her, I took a blue scarf from my bag, rolled it into a band and then used it as a cleave gag – nothing more severe for her, as I put on the radio, and went about my business.
It was when I returned that I realised something had happened. Her eyes were wide open, and I could see the damp patch between her legs.
“OH dear – has what I think happened happened?”
She nodded and then grunted as I could see the pain in her face. Well, this was not the time to procrastinate – I untie and ungagged her, and helped her out of the front door and into my car, driving her straight to the maternity unit at the hospital.
A month or so later, I heard she had given birth to a healthy baby boy, and called him John. Can’t think why...
George was sitting in Susan’s flat, swirling his brandy round as he sat with Susan and Clint. April was asleep, and the conversation turned to past events.
“Lily told me about when you were on the run, and you broke into a woman’s house who had just given birth, getting her to call Lily’s mother out so you could talk to her.”
“Oh yeah,” George said with a smile, “you have to understand I needed to keep a low profile – but I also wanted to talk to her, so that was how I did it. I made sure the poor woman was comfortable, if a bit quiet.”
“Is that the only time you had to deal with a woman with a baby,” Clint said as he sat down.
“Well, yes and no,” George said. “There was the time, before I was arrested, when I had to take care of a rather pregnant young woman in order to persuade her husband to do a withdrawal for us.
“It would have been about three months before the arrest, so early spring. There were three of us in on the job, in a small town in the border country, near Carlisle. It was a small branch office, so it was more about getting finance for a bigger job.
“The manager lived in a cottage on the outskirts of town – early thirties, graduate, still a bit wet behind the ears if you catch my drift. His wife was a year younger, with dark hair dyed blonde.”
“How would you know, George,” Susan said with a smile.
“On the day we did this, she had her hair pulled back and in a bunch – and believe me, the roots were showing. Anyway, this day we were parked outside, watching as her husband went off to work, and then she came out and made her way down to the shops. Given the time of year, she was wearing a camel jacket over a black top with white spots, black leggings and knee length tan leather boots, that looked like riding boots but had the long zip up the inside.
“At any rate, we watched her walking down the road, before Bob got out of the car and followed her, while Ted and I made our way up to the house, and managed to get in through the back door. It was a nice house – very tastefully furnished, nice paintings. So we made ourselves at home, and we waited.
It was an hour or so later when we heard her walking up the garden path, and stood either side of the door to the front room. As she came in, I put my hand over her mouth, and whispered into her ear to stay calm, and not to struggle.”
“Real old school manners,” Clint said with a smile, “did it work?”
“Eventually – once she saw Ted as well, and heard Bob come in the front door. I asked her if she’d stay quiet, and she nodded as I took my hand away, asking who we were and what we wanted.
“I told her who I was, and I could tell from her reaction she knew who I was, so I suggested we all had a cup of tea – which I would help her make – before I explained what was going to happen. So I took her into the kitchen, while Bob went and fetched a bag from the car, and Ted made sure the telephone was disconnected.
“And so it was we all sat in the front room, with the curtains closed, drinking tea and discussing the news of the day, as I watched the time tick down. Eventually, I gave the nod to Bob, who set off while I invited her to go to the toilet – it might be a while before she could go again.
“Ted did the honours of escorting her, while I took some lengths of rope and other items from the bag. As she came back, I saw her thin brown belt, sitting on top of her bump, and promised her we wouldn’t do anything to cause her or the baby undue distress.
“I guided her hands behind her back, and crossed her wrists before I started to bind them tightly together with soft rope, while Tom went through her handbag and found her mobile phone. I made sure the binding was tight, and cinched it as a true professional should, before I tied her arms to her sides, above and below her chest, but taking care to make sure the bump was kept free of the ropes.
“I then tied the two bands together behind her back, and secured her wrists to them, before she sat down on a seat and watched as I tied her ankles tightly together and then her legs below her knees, cinching the band between her legs in both places.”
“Well,” Susan said, “at least you made sure she was secure and safe.”
“True – but that was when we got the call on her mobile phone. Bob had arrived at the bank, and was having a discussion with her husband about the withdrawal we wanted to make. He was, as I figured he might, proving somewhat obstinate, so Bob called his wife on his behalf, as I put the phone to her head.
“I think you can imagine the conversation that took place, but eventually her husband agreed to give us the money, after I told him to listen to my friend. We then took a silk scarf, rolled in into a band and tied a knot in it, and used that to gag the fair mother to be.”
“All very chivalrous,” Clint said with a smile. “How long did you wait?”
“Bob called us as soon as he was clear, and we took our own leave, with the radio playing for the wife to listen to. It was a clean job, and a good day.”
“So fancy getting some practice in?”
“Oh,” George said with a smile as he looked at Susan, “what do you have in mind?”
Jay Edwards and Mrs McPhee
“Did ye all
enjoy yer lunch?”
The two girls looked at the woman and nodded as they shifted in their chairs. It was difficult, given they had a length of rope tied round their waists, holding them in place, while there was also a band of rope holding their ankles together, as well as their legs below their knees.
The woman asking the question spoke with a Scottish accent, and was wearing a blue boiler suit, with black shoes and gloves on her hands – and a black balaclava over her head, with only her eyes and lips showing.
“Where have they taken my husband,” their mother said as she stood at the sink, washing the dishes. She was in her late thirties, and wore a grey fake fur vest over a light coloured denim blouse, the cuffs turned back and the front open over a white t-shirt. The most obvious thing about her was the bump on her stomach, the t-shirt stretching over it as the blouse sat on both sides. She was also wearing a pair of blue jeans, the legs of which were tucked into knee length tan leather boots.
“Don’t worry, Zoe,” the masked man standing with her said in a Geordie accent, “He’ll be fine with my lad, and so long as he behaves, you, Ruth and Thora will be fine.”
Zoe nodded as she looked back at the table. The masked gang had surprised her as they had been planning to go out to the cinema, and kept them in the front room, their wrists tied in front of them, their ankles tied and tape over their mouths, until her husband had come home. He had gone with one of the intruders, while the others had stayed to make sure she and the girls behaved, and he knew that was the case.
Ruth was ten years old, and was smiling, her eyes twinkling under her glasses as she sat in the chair. She was wearing a pink checked lumberjack shirt, blue jeans and a pair of cowboy boots with a pink upper part, her brown hair in two long pigtails.
Thora was eleven, her brown hair falling over the shoulders of her white jumper. She also had jeans on, made in a patchwork style, with a pair of brown leather boots which laced up the front as they came to just below her knees. Zoe could hear the creak of the rope as they moved their own legs.
“Mrs McPhee,” the man said, “will you kindly untie Ruth, and let her go to the toilet? After that, we need to start getting her ready for when we get a call about her daddy.”
“Come with me lass,” the woman said as she untied the young girls legs and the rope from her waist, and then took her by the hand, Ruth waving as she went out.
“When she comes back, Mrs McPhee will take Thora, but after that we need to make sure all three of you stay where you are while we conclude our business.”
“Oh god, but...” Zoe looked down at her stomach, as the man smiled.
“You have the word of Jay Edwards, pet – I will not leave you in a way that will cause you or your unborn child undue distress. You believe me, don’t you?”
Zoe nodded as he smiled. “Good – finish the washing up, and then we can get started.”
“Look Mummy,” Ruth said as she turned round, and Zoe saw her hands, the silver tape covering her fists below where Mrs McPhee had tied her wrists together. The white rope went round and between her arms, and then around her waist, tied so that her wrists were locked in place.
Zoe nodded and smiled as she watched the masked woman begin to tie Thora’s wrists behind her back, having first made her hold the sponge balls in her hands before wrapping silver tape round them. Her older daughter looked worried, but as Mrs McPhee tied the rope round her waist as well, Thora smiled and nodded to show she was all right.
“Now then young Ruth,” Mrs McPhee said as she took a longer length of rope from the bag, and used it to bind her arms to her side, wrapping it around her stomach and her shoulders before she tied it off, “I want you to sit on your bed for me.”
“Okay,” Ruth said as she walked over and sat down, Mrs McPhee kneeling and removing her cowboy boots before she tied her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees, cinching each band between her legs.
“Now, we also need to make sure ye cannae call out or talk for a wee while,” Mrs McPhee said as she folded a small white cloth, “so open yer moof, and I’ll put this in.”
Ruth nodded as she allowed her to put the cloth inside, closing her lips as the Scots woman tore a length of white micropore tape from the roll, and smoothed it firmly down over Ruth’s lips, Zoe nodding as her daughter lay down, and her ankles were secured to the foot of the bed.
It was then Thora’s turn, as Mrs McPhee tied her arms to her side, and then gagged her with a cloth and tape. “Ah’ll stay here and read tae Ruth fer a wee while,” she said as she selected a book, the other masked man and Jay taking Thora to her bedroom.
A few minutes later, she too had her legs tightly tied and was lying on the bed, her legs secured in place as Zoe bent over and kissed her forehead. “Keep an eye on her,” Jay said as he took Zoe out.
“Will they be all right?”
“Aye, they’ll be fine – you live in a bungalow, so you can hear each other. But, I regret to say, the time has come to keep you quiet. Shall we go back into your front room?”
Zoe slowly nodded as they walked back in, and Jay picked a length of rope up from those sitting on the chair. “I’m not going to cover your hands,” he said, “but I do want you to cross your wrists behind your back.”
The mother nodded as she allowed Jay to cross and secure her wrists together, the white rope holding firm as he tied it off. He then did the same as had happened to Ruth and Thora – took a length of rope around her waist that locked her wrists against her back, but he took great care to keep the rope below her bump.
He then took a second length of rope, and tied it around her upper arms, keeping this band over the top of her bump before he tightened it by passing the rope between her arms and her body on each side. When he had finished, Zoe realised her arms were locked in place, but they weren’t bothering her bump and the new life there at all.
“Remain calm, and you’ll be just fine,” Jay said as he tied the rope off.
“I am, actually – how do you do that?”
“By treating you with respect, I hope – now, lie down on the couch, and put your feet on the arm.”
Zoe nodded and walked to the couch, lying with her head supported by a pillow on one arm, and her legs hanging over the other side. Jay then crossed her ankles and bound them tightly together, the rope squeaking as it rubbed on the tan leather and further tightened between her legs. Jay then secured her legs together below her knees as well, Zoe watching as he said “now, get comfortable – you will be here a little while.”
As she moved, Mrs McPhee came in and said “Ruth’s asleep – Thora is coping well. How are you feeling Zoe?”
“Given the situation, not too bad – why do I get the feeling if I wasn’t expecting, I would be much more strictly tied?”
“You would be,” Jay said, “but as I said when we arrived, we don’t want to upset any of you more than...”
He stopped as his mobile phone went off. “A moment,” he said as he took it out, and said “this is Jay Edwards.
“Excellent – make sure he cannot raise the alarm, and leave. Meet at the usual rendezvous.”
“We’ll be going soon,” Mrs McPhee said as she took from the bag a large headscarf, and rolled it into a band, “but we must make sure you cannot raise the alarm easily either.”
Tying a double knot in the middle, she looked at Zoe, who nodded as she raised her head and opened her mouth, allowing the masked woman to push the silk knot behind her teeth, and tie the band tightly round her head, her long ash blonde hair trapped underneath.
Zoe settled as she watched the masked gang gather their things, and then leave, hoping someone would come before too long...
“That’s right Officer – I saw a grey van leave the Cedar Cottage and drive off at high speed an hour ago. I think you need to send a car there and make sure they’re all right.”
“That should get them the release they need,” Mark said as he looked at Yvonne. “I hate the idea of leaving her longer than necessary in that way.”
“That’s what I love about you Mark – your consideration,” Yvonne said as she kissed him on the cheek. “But we’d better get moving – the kids will be home soon.”