Lady in Grey
“Samantha, would you ask Fiona to step in for a moment please?”
David Henshaw sat behind his desk, looking over the material he had spread out before him. He knew what eh was about to ask Fiona Grey was an inconvenience to her, but it was necessary that this be done today.
There was a knock on the door, and Fiona Grey came in. She was a fair haired woman, of medium height and wearing a pair of steel-rimmed spectacles. Whether by choice or by habit of her name, she was dressed this particular day in a light grey tie-neck silk blouse, a grey sleeveless cardigan, mid-length grey skirt and grey leather boots.
“You wanted to see me, Mr Henshaw?”
“Yes, Fiona, would you please close the door behind you and come over here?”
Fiona sat opposite her boss at the desk.
“Fiona, I hate to ask this of you, but the Maidinseenot contract has reached a rather delicate stage, and it is vitally important that a meeting is held with their head negotiator.”
Fiona nodded. She had heard that this was a major contract for her company, and secrecy was vital around the details. What she did not understand is why she was hearing about it today.
“The only way we can have this meeting is somewhere discreet, and the only time this can be done is tomorrow while he is in the country on business. Regretfully, I have to attend a meeting with the Executive Board tomorrow, so I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to attend in my absence.”
“Are you sure you want to trust me with this, Mr Henshaw?”
“I believe you will be fine. There won’t be time for you to go home, so Samantha will give you a corporate card and you can claim expenses for any essentials.” He placed the documents in a briefcase and locked it. “The negotiator is the only other person with a key to this case, but keep the case with you at all times. Here is the hotel that you will be staying at – a reservation has been made in your name.”
Fiona stood up. “Very well, Mr Henshaw – I will leave immediately.” She took the case and left the office.
Mr Henshaw sat quietly for a few minutes, and then picked up the phone.
“Hello? I’ve sent the person we agreed upon with the case. You know what to do.”
Some hours later, a taxi pulled up outside a city centre hotel, and Fiona stepped out. She had a small overnight bag as well as the briefcase with her, as she walked into the lobby.
A smartly dressed woman was stood behind the reception desk.
“Good evening, and welcome to the Amsel Hotel. Can I help you?”
“Yes – you have a reservation for a Ms Grey?”
“Let me check – ah yes, here we are.”
Fiona heard a thumping noise from behind the office door at the reception.
“What was that?”
“I do apologise, Ms Grey – we are having a little remedial work done in our office. Here is you room key, and please do not hesitate to call reception if we can help. If you would just sign here?”
Fiona signed the proffered form, and headed to the lift. The receptionist turned and entered the office.
“If you don’t stop that, we may have to bind you more strictly!”
The lift stopped on the fifth floor, and Fiona made her way to her room. Closing the door behind her, she placed her bags on the bed and took her coat off. A cup of coffee looked very inviting at this point, and she started the percolator in the room brewing.
There appeared to be a fair amount of noise coming from the other rooms. Fiona realised that discretion was paramount, but she did hope that this was not going to be a sleepless night. She picked up the phone and dialled.
“Room Service? Could I order a Turkey Club sandwich with all the trimmings please?”
“Certainly, Ms Grey. We will be with you in about 10 minutes.”
In the kitchen, the woman replaced the telephone and turned to speak to one of the men there. “The Henshaw contract will be ready in ten minutes. You know what to do.”
Fiona had just poured herself a cup of coffee when there was a knock on the door.
She opened the door and told the waiter to bring it in as she headed into the bathroom.
“Just place it on the table please – I’ll be out in a minute.”
As Fiona left the bathroom, the first thing she noticed was the absence of a Turkey Club sandwich. The second thing was the latex gloved hand that clamped itself over her mouth and the rough voice whispering in her ear “Don’t make a sound, or you will regret it.”
Fiona reached up and tried to grab the hand, but an arm came round and held her tight. “Hands on your head, bitch – NOW!!” the voice rasped, and Fiona did as she was asked. “When I take my hand away, I want you to open wide and say nothing.” As Fiona did as she was asked, she saw a brief glimpse of a white cloth before it was stuffed into her mouth. Her hands were then pulled behind her back, and she felt rope been used to bind them together.
“Sit down on the bed,” she was told, and Fiona was pushed into the room. As she sat down, she got her first look at her attacker. He was smartly dressed, in a dark suit, white shirt and tie, but his hands were gloved and his head covered with a stocking mask. She watched as he produced another length of rope from his pocket, and lashed her crossed ankles together.
“Now, where is the briefcase,” the man asked. Fiona tried to loosen her hands and to speak, but the ropes were too tight and the glove in her mouth prevented any noise escaping.
The intruder continued to search the room, until he found the briefcase and placed it on the table. He then came over to Fiona, and whispered in her ear “I need to make sure you can’t raise the alarm. Sit perfectly still.”
Fiona watched as he pulled the phones cords out of the wall, and then produced a long length of rope from somewhere in his suit. Finding the centre, he lopped the rope around her arms below her breasts, and proceeded to tie her arms to her sides above and below her breasts. The rope was cutting into her arms through her blouse, but there was nothing she could do. After a while, he passed the rope over her left shoulder, under the bindings between her breasts, then back over her right shoulder before knotting everything behind her back.
“I hope that’s tight enough – you’re not going anywhere for some time”. Saying this, the intruder produced yet more rope, and tied Fiona’s legs together below her knees, then above her knees lifting her skirt to make the tie. He then pushed her onto the bed, and Fiona struggled against the tight bindings.
“Right, time to open the case,” and the intruder went over. Fiona mmphed and tried to shout, so much so that he came back and took the cloth out of her mouth.
“What is it?”
“You can’t open the case – only one person has the key.”
“This key?” and he produced from his trouser pocket the key to the briefcase.
“You – you’re my contact?” Fiona gasped.
“Yes – and no.” he replied. “I am indeed the person who this case is for, but I don’t work for the clients that Mr Henshaw mentioned. Indeed, the details in these documents will make a tidy sum on the open market.”
“Oh no – you tricked Mr Henshaw into setting up this meeting?”
The intruder came over and checked the bindings over her clothes and boots. “Not quite, Ms Grey – Mr Henshaw realised that you had been paying a little too much attention to some of his recent appointments, so he felt this would kill two problems he had with one stone, as it were. You are going to take a little trip, and then we’ll see what happens.”
Fiona started to scream at the top of her voice “Help, somebody help me…” The intruder put his hand over her mouth.
“My dear Fiona, no-one is coming to help you. Tonight the Amsel hotel has become the Damsel Hotel. There are quite a few business transactions of this type taking place here tonight – you’re not the only one who will be taking a trip.”
He opened the briefcase and examined the contents. “Ah – everything is in order. Just one last thing I need to do now.” He removed from the case a pad of cotton wool and a roll of silver duct tape. “I need to make sure you cannot see or talk until we reach your destination.”
He opened the pad of cotton wool and pulled a large part off. “Open wide,” he said as he approached Fiona. She twisted and writhed on the bed and turned her head away from him, but he pulled her back over and held her nose. Eventually, Fiona was forced to open her mouth and the intruder stuffed it with the cotton wool. He then tore several strips of duct tape, and covered her mouth so that no legible noise could escape.
“I will see you at your destination. Until then, try to relax.” Saying this, the man covered Fiona’s eyes with more cotton wool, and used the tape to secure her blindfold.
Fiona tried everything she could to loosen the bonds around her, but as she heard the door close she realised the full import of what the man had said, and what all the banging and noises she had heard were really from. She kept struggling until the door was opened and she was lifted up……