“Well,” Anna said to herself as she drove up the single carriageway road, “at least it’s a warm sunny day to make this drive on.”
It was a bank holiday weekend, and she had been invited by her friend Coleen to come to the cottage with three other mutual friends for a weekend of, as she put it, “chocolate, drinks and no men.” Given Coleen was seven months pregnant, Anna knew she would not be the one drinking, but that was all right. She was sure the other four would catch up.
She eventually pulled up outside the large cottage, smiling as she saw Coleen look out. She was wearing a black and white smock top covering her leggings, the bmp clearly visible, and smiled as they embraced.
“Come on in,” Coleen said as she looked at her dark haired friend. “The others are inside.”
As Anna walked into the main room, she saw Brenda sitting in a comfortable armchair, her light brown hair falling loosely and a pair of glasses perched on her nose. On a two seater couch were Carly and Orlagh, Orlagh’s red hair betraying her Irish roots.
Carly was the oldest of the group – in her late thirties, she was divorced, while the other three were single. Which, of course, led to the important question of the weekend.
“Where is he?”
“The hubby? Spending one of his last weekends of freedom with the boys,” Coleen said with a smile. “This is a ladies only weekend, so let’s kick back and have fun. Who wants to open the first bottle?”
When Anna came down the stairs the next morning, and walked into the kitchen, she saw Coleen sitting at the table. The pregnant mother-to-be was wearing a long blue dress, with a ribbon tied above the bump and a skirt that came to just above her knees, blue tights and knee length brown suede boots. Her red-brown hair was pulled back into a simple ponytail.
“Hey,” Coleen said as she looked up, “fresh coffee in the pot.”
“Thanks,” Anna said as she went and poured herself a cup. She had her black hair held back, and had put on a knee length black dress with a round neckline, black tights and long black felt boots. “How are you feeling this morning?”
“Junior’s kicking,” Coleen said as she held her back. As Anna looked at the clock, she saw it was nearly eleven.
“I thought we could all go out to the local pub, have a long lunch, and then head back here,” she said as she stood up, “I’ll drive so that you can all have a drink.”
“Sounds fun,” Brenda said as she came in, putting her glasses on and adjusting her own ponytail. She was wearing a white sweater and a green knee length skirt with a brown belt, blue wool tights and straight tan leather boots. Pouring herself the last of the coffee, she started a fresh pot and then sat down.
“It’s a beautiful day out there, so I hope this place has a large garden,” she said with a smile.
“Local pub I know of for a long lunch,” Coleen said as Carly came in. She was wearing a blue v-necked sweater over a white t-shirt, and a knee length skirt with a travel label pattern on it. She was also the only one not wearing tights or boots, settling instead for a pair of cream coloured sandals.
“Long lunch, excellent,” she said as she poured a mug from the fresh pot.
“Where’s Orlagh,” Coleen asked.
“She was in the shower when I was dressing,” Carly said, then smiled as the red haired Irish woman came in. She was wearing a blue sweater with a thin cream belt, a cream coloured short skirt, dark tights and knee length black suede boots.
“So,” she said in her soft accent as she poured herself a coffee, “what’s on the cards for today?”
“Finish this coffee,” Coleen said, “then get any jackets and coats on.”
Thirty minutes later the five women headed out. Anan had out on a grey jacket that was more of a shrug in the length, while Brenda had on a denim jacket with the cuffs and collar turned down. Orlagh had put on a cardigan that matched her jumper, and wrapped a large blue patterned scarf around her neck.
The five women got into the car, driving off as from a nearby hill a pair of eyes followed them through binoculars.
“Okay – the house is empty. Make the preparations.”
“Now that is how to spend a Saturday afternoon,” Orlagh said as they returned a few hours later.
“Very much so,” Carly said as Coleen came to a stop outside the house, and the five women got out. As Coleen locked the car, Anna said “I’m going to sit out the back. Anyone want to join me?”
“I’ll come out,” Brenda said as she walked round the side of the house.
“Anyone for coffee?”
“I’ll join you,” Carly said as the other three went into the house.
“I’m just going up to the toilet,” Orlagh said as she went back up the stairs, stepping into the toilet and closing the door behind herself.
A few moments later, she came back out, turning to close the door as she heard the toilet flush. It came as a total surprise to her when she was grabbed from behind, and a latex gloved hand clamped over her mouth.
“Whattehhhllllhssthrrr,” she mumbled as she was pulled backwards into her room, and then pushed onto the bed, her face buried in the covers as she felt one pair of strong hands holding her shoulders down, and a second pair of hands pulling her wrists behind her back.
Orlagh tried to struggle, but whoever it was was too strong for her, as she felt and heard a plastic zip tie been used to secure her wrists together. A second one was then used to pull her arms together, making her elbows touch as she screamed into the bed covers and mattress.
“Shut up or we will make you shut up,” she heard one of the men say as another zip tie was used to secure her legs together below her knees, and then her ankles.
As she was allowed to raise her head, she tried to scream – only for one of the men to pull her scarf up and between her teeth. She felt the band pressing in on her cheeks as it was pulled tightly back and around her head, and then the ends secured at the base of her neck.
The last thing she saw was the black hood as it was pulled over her head and secured loosely around her neck, before she was carried out of the room.
“That is good coffee,” Carly said as she sat in the front room with Coleen, the door closed to the hallway.
“Yeah – a special blend,” Coleen said with a smile. “I picked it up in a local market at home.”
“So what are you doing for your maternity leave?”
“I leave in a couple of weeks time – the firm is incredibly good about it, told me they would cover a year at full pay.”
“Well that’s... That’s a good thing...” Carly slowly started to yawn as she put her mug down. “That wine at lunch must have been stronger than I thought Coleen.
As she looked over, she saw Coleen asleep in the chair, her empty mug hanging in her hand. “OH – she must be tiredsswlll” Carly said as her eyes closed, her head falling to the side.
The door to the hallway opened, and two men came in, wearing black overalls and latex gloves. One of them was carrying a bag, which he put down on the coffee table and opened. Taking two lengths of cord out, he handed one to the second man, each of them crossing the wrists of one of them in front of their laps and then binding them tightly together.
Two more lengths of rope, and each man knelt on the floor, crossing their ankles and securing them tightly together. More rope was produced and used to secure their legs together below their knees, care taken to ensure the rope was passed between their legs to make the binding tight.
Standing up, the second man produced form his pocket a roll of white medical tape. He tore off a strip, then handed the roll to his partner before pressing the tape firmly over Coleen’s mouth. As the second man gagged Carly, a black hood was placed over Coleen’s head, and then Carly’s, before the door was opened and they carried Coleen out between them...
“I wonder what they’re up to inside,” Anna said as she looked at Brenda.
“Not sure – want to go in and find out?”
“Why not,” Brenda said as she stood up and stretched, “it’s getting a bit cold out here anyway.”
Anna nodded as they got up from the bench and walked into the house, closing the door behind themselves and making their way through the kitchen.
“Hey Coleen – you guys want a drink?”
When there was no reply, Brenda looked in the front room.
“Two coffee mugs, no Coleen or Carly – or Orlagh for that matter. Want me to look upstairs for them Anna.
She turned round to see Anna looking at her, and a tall man dressed in black behind her, smiling as he said “not a sound – walk into the room, sit down, and put your hands on your heads.”
“Who the hell are...”
“If you want to see your three friends again,” another man said behind her, “do as my friend says – go in there, sit down, and put your hands on your head.”
Nodding, Anna slowly walked in as Brenda was made to follow her, both women sitting down as they placed their hands on their heads.
“What is this – a robbery,” Anna asked in a quiet voice, “and where are our friends?”
“You’ll see them soon enough – both of you, feet up on the coffee table, ankles crossed.”
Anna and Brenda looked at each other before they did as the man had ordered, watching as the second man produced a roll of silver tape and secured their ankles together in a band. He then taped their legs together below their knees, the band sitting on top of their boots as they watched.
“Look, if you want our purses, they are...”
“Lean forward,” the man said quietly, “and put your hands behind your back.”
“We won’t try and stop you,” Brenda said – and then she felt the firm grip on her shoulder as the man said “I will not ask twice. Lean forward, and put your hands behind your back.”
The two women very slowly moved their hands behind their backs, feeling the tape as it pulled on their skin while the second man wrapped it tightly round their wrists to secure them together. He then wrapped it around their bodies, forming two bands above and below their chests, their arms almost fused into their sides.
“Look, we’re just staying here on holiday,” Anna said, “all we have here are our purses...”
“Talking of which – purse your lips.”
Brenda had to control her breathing as the silver tape was pressed down firmly over her mouth, trying not to panic as she watched Anna having her mouth covered in the same way as her. She saw the silver tape crinkle over her friend’s mouth as she tried to talk – and then the darkness as a hood was pulled down over her head.
She heard Anna call out in a muted fashion, and then she was picked up, her chin hitting the back of one of the men as she was carried out of his house. She had no idea what was happening, save that she was eventually put down on a cold floor, and she heard Anna next to her.
No – not just Anna. There was at least one other person there, but as she felt whatever they were on here move she concentrated on keeping herself calm.
“Carly? Carly, wake up!”
Carly slowly opened her eyes, trying to ignore the pounding headache as she allowed them to focus. She was lying on a long black leather couch, and as she looked to her side she saw Coleen sitting there, her eyes wide in panic.
“Coleen? What the hell was in...”
She slowly sat up and looked round, before she said “where are we?”
“I don’t know – I fell asleep in the front room of the house, and I woke up a few minutes ago here.”
The two women looked round the room, which was bare apart from the two couches they were sitting on. The room was lit by a bright white bulb, but there were no windows – and as Carly slowly walked over to the door, she saw there was no handle.
“Fuck,” she said quietly, “have we been kidnapped or something?”
Before Coleen could say anything, a bolt was pulled back, and the door opened as three people came in. One man was dressed in brown, and both women noticed the handgun that he was carrying. The second man was well dressed – a tall, well built African in a tailored suit, white shirt and patterned silk tie, while his black shoes were highly polished. The third person was a woman, wearing a white jumper and slacks, and carrying in one hand a garment bag, and in the other a pair of black high heels.
“Welcome,” the African man said, “take her to the next room for preparation.”
“Who are you,” Coleen cried out as she was taken by the arm, “what do you think you are doing?”
“You will see,” the dark skinned man said as Carly watched while Coleen was frogmarched out of the room.
“And what about me?”
“You,” the man said, “are going to put on the outfit this woman is holding. You will not give her any trouble, or there will be consequences.”
Carly stared at the man, before she slowly nodded.
“Good – knock when you are ready,” he said as he walked out, the door locking behind him.
“Do as he says,” the woman said as she laid the clothes bag on one of the couches. “George is not a violent man, but it is best to do as he says.”
“George? What is this place?”
“You will see soon – please, change.”
Carly slowly slipped her cardigan and jumper off, and then pulled her skirt down, before she sat down on the spare couch and removed her shoes.
“Your underwear as well.”
“I really don’t have a choice in this, do I?”
The woman shook her head as Carly unhooked her bra and pulled her panties down, before the woman opened the clothes bag, and handed Carly a black cocktail dress. It was strapless, and as she was helped to put it on the bodice pushed her chest up and out.
“Not put on the shoes,” the woman said, Carly nodding as she sat down and strapped the high heels to her feet. As she stood up, she took a moment to get her balance as the woman knocked on the door.
The man in brown came back in, Carly shocked to see two sets of manacles in his hands. He wasted no time in fastening one set around her wrists, and then the second set around her ankles, with a chain linking the two sets together.
“Open your mouth.”
Carly swallowed hard, beginning to realise what was happening as a leather panel was pressed on her face, the rubber bung going between her teeth as it was fastened around her head with thick leather straps.
“I am afraid so – if it is any comfort, it is for a charity,” the woman said as Carly was made to shuffle out of the room, along a corridor and then onto what resembled a large convention hall. The floor was covered with a number of tableaus, and Carly could see various women in various forms of restraint populating those tableaus.
She looked over to see Anna and Brenda wearing bikinis, and lying on sun loungers – but their arms were taped down to the armrests, their ankles and legs secured with tape, and tape covering their mouths.
On another tableau, she saw Orlagh dressed as an Irish maiden of the nineteenth century – a lowing skirt with a white blouse and waistcoat, and black ankle boots. She was fixed into an old fashioned set of stocks, a scold’s bridle fastened around her head.
For her part, Carla was led to a scene like a dining room, and made to sit down, watching as various teams in brown and white seemed to be making final arrangements. She sat still, noticing the armed guards in brown, and wondering when someone would speak.
She looked over as she saw the man called George stand in the middle.
“Welcome, all of you, to Objects of Beauty, and to tonight’s charity auction. All proceeds tonight will go to support the families of those who, for whatever reason, are unable to provide for their families through their work, and you should be honoured to be a part of tonight’s events.”
Similar screams went round the room, as George said “the guests will start viewing in a few minutes. Enjoy the evening ladies.”
He walked out of the area as Carly looked round, one thing in mind.
Where was Coleen?
“A truly magnificent evening I think, George,” the grey haired man said as George came and joined him in the reception.
“We have standards to maintain Dave – but my thanks to eSlave for helping with procurement.”
“Glad to help our old employers,” Dave said with a smile as a young couple came over. “Coleen – I hear you helped gather the last exhibits.”
“I did,” Coleen said with a smile as she sipped her water, “all four had been carefully cultivated over the last year, for this very purpose.”
“One of our operating principles – we take a long term view,” her husband said as he joined them.
“It’s time,” George said, indicating the doors could be opened as the guests walked in to view the exhibits.