Wrapped Up In Work
Aly was bored - the day had been one of those where there had been few customers, and even fewer sales, so when her manager had left an hour earlier and told her to lock up when the store closed she knew it was going to be worse. She looked at the customer by the shelves of everyday scarves and smiled, hoping that would encourage her to buy something.
She looked the type to wear a scarf - about five foot six, wearing a brown dogtooth design jacket and skirt, with light hose and brown leather shoes with a short heel. She had short brown hair cut into a tight bob. “At least I might make some sales, and save the day for La Beauté des Foulards,” she said to herself.
The shop was a small one, tucked into the corner of an old Victorian arcade, and specialised in scarves of all shapes and sizes. Rachel liked it for that, and smiled at the young assistant behind the counter. The girl had shoulder length black hair, and was wearing a white blouse under a pale blue v-necked sweater. She had seen her walking round the store when she cam in, and knew she had on a pair of pants the same colour as her jumper, with black leather ankle boots.
The door opened and Rachel watched a young man come in. He was casually dressed, with a black leather jacket over a shirt and trousers, and carried a large leather holdall in his hand. He smiled at Rachel, who smiled in return, before walking up to the counter and looking at some of the more expensive scarves that were on display under the glass.
Amy saw him walk in and smiled. “Can I help you sir,” she said as he put the bag down on the floor and looked along the counter.
“I hope so, yes,” the man replied, and Aly warmed to him as he smiled at her. “Could you show this scarf please?”
He pointed to a Hermes square that was under the glass counter. Aly gently removed the tray it was sitting on and laid it on the top, unfolding the large silk square and showing it to the customer as Rachel continued her search. It was made of pale cream twill silk, and an intricate pattern was laid out in gold thread across the surface.
“This is truly exquisite,” he said as he turned over and looked at the cloth. “How much is it?”
“This particular scarf costs £280 sir.” Aly saw the smile on his face as he said “Worth every penny - I will take it.”
“Very good sir - may I ask how you will be paying for it?”
“Oh I’m not going to pay for it,” he said with a smile as he produced a pistol out of his pocket and pointed it at Aly, “I’m going to take it - in fact I’m going to take all of the scarves from you. Do yourself a favour - don’t scream, don’t move, and most especially don’t press that emergency alarm button you’re looking at right now.”
Rachel looked up as she heard the conversation, and then put her hand over her mouth to stop herself from screaming at the sight of the gun. She knelt behind the shelves she was standing behind, her bag on the floor as she wondered about what she was going to do next.
For her part, Aly was too shocked to move, even though she had glanced at the button under the counter. Instead, she slowly raised her hands and said quietly “What do you want?”
“Right now,” the man said with a smile, “I want you to go very slowly over to the door, lock it and turn the sign to closed, then come back here and stand still with your hands in the air.”
Slowly, Aly made her way to the door of the shop and turned the lock. She had not seen the other customer leave, and hoped and prayed she was not still there as she moved the sign to “closed “and walked back.
For her part, Rachel was not sure what to do. There was a man with the gun forcing the shop assistant to close up, and she was stuck inside with them now! Her handbag was by her side, but she was too afraid to fetch her mobile phone from it and call the police - what if he heard her?
“Is there anyone else in the store? I’ll know if you are lying.”
Aly looked at the young man, and shook her head. “No - please, just take what you want and then go. I promise I won’t call the police for a good half an hour, just don’t hurt me.”
“I’m not going to hurt you,” the man said with a smile, “Provided...” He then put his finger to his lips as he heard a small squeak from behind some shelves. “Whoever is there, you had better come out now - I don’t wan to have to hurt this charming your lady here.”
Rachel swore under her breath - the sole of her shoe had rubbed over the wooden floor as she had moved a little, and that had been enough to give her position away. She slowly stood, raising her hands in the air as she looked at Aly and the intruder.
“Over here please,” he said as he waved with his gun, “and stand next to the lovely young lady here.” He watched as Rachel slowly walked over, and stood facing him before she said “You should get out of here you know - I called the police.”
“No,” he said quietly, “No, I do not believe you did.” He picked up the holdall and handed it to Aly. “All the scarves in there please, as quickly as you can.”
“You can’t just push them into that bag,” Rachel protested, “That will ruin them. They need to be properly folded and laid in, or they will be worthless!” Her tone was harsh, but when she saw the way the man was looking at her she stopped talking.
“What’s your name,” he finally said.
“Well, Rachel, tell me - do you like that scarf?” He pointed to the Hermes square which was still lying on the counter.
“Yes - but I could never afford that.”
“Would you like one?”
“Yes,” Rachel replied before she realised what he had said. “But I would never steal one,” she continued as he looked at Aly.
“And your name?”
“Well Aly,” the man said as he handed the bag to Rachel, “Rachel is quite right. Leave two of those delightful squares on the counter, and very neatly put all the other scarves into the bag while she holds it open for you.”
Rachel looked at the armed man, then held the leather holdall open as, one by one, Aly carefully laid the expensive scarves into the bag, filling it until the cabinets were bare, and the bag full.
“What do you want these for anyway,” she finally said as she laid the last scarf in, “Are you a collector or do you sell them on the black market?”
“I like to see beautiful women wearing scarves in artistic ways,” he said with a smile. Rachel and Aly looked at each other, and then at him, wondering what he meant.
“Now, Rachel,” he said, “a woman such as yourself must have a handbag with her. Where is it?”
“Over... Over by the shelves where I was standing,” she said as she looked at the rows of scarves there.
“Aly,” he then said, “Very quietly, go and retrieve her hand bag and place it on the counter there, then find your own and place it next to Rachel’s.”
The young woman walked to the back of the shelves, bending down and picking up the large Louis Vutton bag and placing it on the counter. She then slowly bent her knees and picked up her own handbag, which she placed next to it.
“Open them, take out the mobile phones and place them where I can see them.”
Aly swallowed and removed the two phones, her own iPhone and the Blackberry from Rachel’s bag, and placed them in full view on the counter. Rachel was silently muttering - this was a brand new phone, a brand new bag, and her wallet and credit cards were inside as well.
“What are you going to do now,” Rachel said. “you got what you wanted - you could lock us in here and go now.”
“I have a better idea,” he said as he looked at her. “I want you to go to the shelves Rachel, gather as many different scarves as you can, and then come back here.”
“You’d better do as he says,” Aly whispered, as Rachel walked back to the shelf and scooped as many as she could in her arms. As she came back, a single blue chiffon square fell and floated to the floor, while she gazed at it wistfully.
“Through there,” the man said as he pointed at a door behind the counter, “Is that the storeroom?”
“Yes,” Aly said, “You could lock us in there and then escape. Please?” She made a pair of kitten eyes as she looked at him, but it only seemed to make him smile.
“Inside,” he said as he pointed the gun tot eh door, “Both of you.” He picked up the two Hermes squares and watched both of them. Aly grimaced as she opened the door and walked into the room, followed by Rachel and then the robber, who closed the door behind him as Aly turned the light on.
“Now what,” Rachel said as she looked at the stacked shelves and the bare floor.
“Put the scarves down on the bench,” the man said as he looked at a wooden bench that sat by the shelves, “and then I want you to get on your knees, Rachel.”
The smaller woman walked over and dropped the pile of scarves on the wooden bench, before slowly kneeling on the ground, with her hands raised.
“Reach back, grab the heels of your shoes, and don’t move,” the man said as he watched Rachel. With some effort, she finally managed to grab hold of the heels and look back up at him.
“Aly,” he said turning to the assistant, “I want you to lie face down on the floor, and put your arms behind your back, wrists crossed.”
The young girl visibly blanched as she said “Please, just lock us in here, you don’t have to tape us up.” Her eyes were fixed on a large roll of brown parcel tape that was on the floor as she slowly lowered herself to the ground and obeyed the demand.
“I’m not going to use tape,” the man said as he placed the gun where Rachel could see it, and selected a scarf, a six foot long red silk rectangle. With remarkable speed and dexterity, he used the scarf to bind Aly’s wrists together, so that they effectively sat in a pair of silk cuffs as he passed the ends between her arms.
Aly herself was shocked at how quickly he did this - but also how snug it felt, as the silk sat on her skin. She only noticed the matching scarf that he used to pull her elbows together when her chest was pressed further into the floor.
“Don’t move,” the man said as he walked over to Rachel. “Big man,” she scowled as he knelt behind her, “Likes to see women wearing scarves in an Oooohhhhhh”
She was surprised by the feel of silk against her wrists as he crossed them in the small of her back, and then used a long yellow silk scarf to bind them together. Taking a second one, he pulled her arms together behind her back, making her gasp as she said “Hey - I’m not a gymnast, I can’t make my elbows touch.”
“Complain once more,” the man said as he tied the scarf off, “and I’ll keep you quiet.” Taking a long woollen scarf, he tied it between her elbows, and then down to her wrists as she tried to twist round.
“You can’t keep me silent - the moment you leave I’m going to scream the place down,” Rachel said as she watched him pick up one of the cream and gold squares, and fold it into a triangle before making a wide silk band.
“You liked this scarf, didn’t you Rachel?”
“Yeah - but I don’t want to steal it.”
“Would you like to try it on?”
She watched as he picked up the band, and tied a thick knot in the middle of it. “Well - why are you doing that?”
“You’ll see,” he said as he walked back and stood behind her, holding the band in both hands, “open wide now.”
“Oh no, no way, there is no way on Earth I am going to let you mmsassdsadsadasdad....” Rachel’s protests were cut off as he pulled the large knot between her teeth, and the band around her head, tying the ends tightly together at the base of her neck with a triple knot.
“UWNNTSHTMP” she roared out, only to watch as he selected a second scarf, this one black and about 60 inches along the edge, folded it into a band and tied it over her nose and mouth, pulling it tightly around her head as he did so.
“Lllsstlclfrhlp,” she mumbled out as he then selected a blue head square, with an inch long band of green around the edge, and folded it into a triangle. Laying it over her head, with the point at her neck covering the other knots, he tied it tightly around her head, the knot sitting under her chin as Rachel realised it was preventing her from opening her mouth any more.
The man helped Rachel to sit with her back against the wall before walking back to Aly, who had been watching what was happening with a growing sense of horror. Kneeling beside her, he looked at Rachel as she wildly struggled, before saying “Calm down, Rachel - keep that up and you’ll start to choke, and you don’t want to do that.”
Rachel opened her eyes wide as she heard that, and stopped struggling, watching instead as the man selected a black bandana with white marking, folded it into a band and used it to bind Aly’s ankles tightly together. “That hurts,” Aly said as she looked over her shoulder.
Actually, it did not hurt that much, but the thought of staying on the cold floor unable to move was filling her with dread and fear, especially as he rolled her over and bound her legs together above her knees with a second black and white bandana. Taking two small blue silk squares, he folded them into thin bands and used them to tighten the two bands by tying them between her legs, before he stood up and started to fold the Hermes square as he had before.
“Please,” Aly pleaded as she watched him “Just lock us in. I don’t want to be gagged.”
“Stay calm, and breath slowly through your nose,” the man said as he tied the knot in the middle and then rolled Aly back over, raising her head as he held the knot in front of her mouth. “Be a good girl now and say Ah.”
“I won’t lettyuuddthsss” Aly mumbled, but it was no use - within a few minutes she too had a large knot of silk filling her mouth as he tied the very expensive scarf around her head, forcing her tongue down and muffling her calls. This was followed by a large pale blue square which went over her nose and mouth, and then a gold head square with a black border, which covered her hair even as it held her jaw firmly closed.
As she felt her ankles being pulled back, Aly wondered what her boss was going to say when she found out what had happened - the scarves alone as a collection were worth over £50,000, and her was just going to carry them out.
Looking over her shoulder, she watched as he used a long white woollen scarf to secure her ankles to her elbows, and then left her on the floor as he picked up two more bandanas, these ones red with blue markings, and two white silk squares.
As he began to bind Rachel’s ankles and legs, she started to try and rub her cheek on the floor, trying to dislodge some part of her gag...
“There,” the man said as he tied the second white square between Rachel’s legs, just below her knees, “Now you don’t want to be like your young friend there, do you?”
“Nddnnt,” Rachel mumbled through her gag, the soft silk rustling as she shook her head. She had tried so hard to force her wrist free, but they were snugly secured, and it seemed to tighten even more the more she struggled.
“Relax, Aly, Rachel,” the man said as he stood up. “Your bags and other personal items are safe - I only came for the scarves. I’ll call the police once I had had a chance to get away, so for now, just relax, and remember not to struggle too much.
“Who knows - you might even get to like it,” he said with a smile before closing the door to the storeroom. Both women listened as the footsteps receded, and then the outer door closed on them.
“Rullrt,” Rachel mumbled as she looked at Aly, who was sobbing quietly on the floor. She looked over her eyes red over the pale blue band covering her mouth, and nodded. She was going nowhere, and she knew it - but the floor was cold, the white scarf had her in an uncomfortable position, and she just wanted it to end.
It was half an hour later when they both heard a voice calling out “Is there anyone in here,”
“YSSSSS” they both screamed as loudly as they could, and when the door opened and they saw the security guard looking at them they both let out a muffled sigh of relief.
“We had an anonymous tip off,” the guard said as he knelt next to Rachel and started to remove her gag. “The police are on their way - are you all right?”
Rachel simply nodded - glad her ordeal was over, and at the same time strangely sad. She had got used to the feel of the silk around her body, and a strange thought was beginning to form in her mind.
Maybe she could try this herself at home - or find someone to do it to her? She looked over at Aly, who was sobbing as the guard untied her, and kept that idea to herself.
For now at least...