It was quiet outside - no children playing in the street, no cars going past, and no lawnmowers hard at work – and that was exactly the way Rebecca liked it. Curled up on her sofa, she was lost in a world of chivalry, of knights and damsels fair in foul distress,
From her father’s example and injunctions, Rebecca had learnt to bear herself courteously towards all who approached her. She could not indeed imitate his excess of subservience, because she was a stranger to the meanness of mind, and to the constant state of timid apprehension, by which it was dictated; but she bore herself with a proud humility, as if submitting to the evil circumstances in which she was placed as the daughter of a despised race, while she felt in her mind the consciousness that she was entitled to hold a higher rank from her merit, than the arbitrary despotism of religious prejudice permitted her to aspire to.
A sigh escaped from her lips as she sat reading the Scott classic. Her right arm was resting on her grey tweed jacket which lay where she had left it when she came in, while she turned the pages The sleeves of her white cotton blouse were rolled up to her elbow, and her pantyhose clad legs were curled under her grey skirt as she continued to read through her glasses.
A sudden tapping sound made Rebecca sit up and turn her head in the direction of the door. As she sat silently, the sound of birdsong started to come in through the open window, so she shook her head and returned to the pages of Ivanhoe, muttering to herself “Blasted birds” as she did so.
She soon found her self lost in the realms of historical fiction – so lost she didn’t hear the sound of her kitchen window being slowly opened by a gloved hand that had reached through the hole expertly cut in the glass. As the window was pushed open, two men in grey overalls slipped quietly through and alighted on the kitchen floor.
They looked at each other, and silently opened the kitchen door, making their way slowly down the hallway to the staircase. As they walked down, however, one of them stood on a loose floorboard, and Rebecca heard the creak that resulted.
Her eyes narrowed as she turned in the seat. “Is there anybody there?” she called out, but there was no response. This time, however, Rebecca knew there was no way a bird could have made a floorboard squeak.
“I said, is there anybody there?”
The sun was shining off her greying hair as she sat there, tensed as she wondered what was going on. In the hallway, one of the men reached into an inside pocket and took out a thin cardboard box. Opening it, he handed one of the items inside to his companion and placed the other item over his own head. Both men nodded and then ran into the front room.
Rebecca stared in shock as two men ran into her room, dressed in grey overalls and wearing stocking over their heads. “What the hell…” she said as she let her book drop to the sofa cushion, before one of the men grabbed her and placed a latex gloved hand over her mouth.
“Not a word, teach,” the other intruder said as he took a knife out and held it against Rebecca’s throat, “or your lovely voice will never grace a classroom again, understood?”
Rebecca nodded, and whispered as the hand was removed from her mouth “Wh… who are you?”
“Your robbers for today,” the man behind her said as Rebecca watched the first one take another cardboard box from his overall pocket. As he opened it, she recognised it a brand of stocking that she used herself, but she wondered what he was doing with them as he took the contents and stretched them out in his gloved hands.
“You’ll find out soon enough,” he replied as he handed one to his friend behind Rebecca. “In fact, you can find out now – hands behind your back, if you please.”
Rebecca looked at him, but knowing she had no way of resisting them she slowly moved her hands behind her. The second intruder grabbed them, crossed her wrists and quickly wrapped the stocking around and between them, pulling tightly so that her wrists were held tightly together before tying the ends of the stocking together out of reach of her fingers.
She looked over her shoulder at the tight binding around her wrists, then turned and stared at the two men as they looked at her.
“Do I know you two?” she repeated as she looked again at the way her wrists were bound. The stocking was tightening every time she twisted her wrists around, so much so that she quickly realised the thin material would start to cut into her wrists if she didn’t stop. Sitting back, she realised that the intruder who spoke first was stretching the second stocking in his hands.
“Hold her legs,” he said as the second man grabbed Rebecca’s legs and held them together on his knee. Taking the stocking, he quickly started to bind her thin ankles together, pulling the material tightly around and between her ankles so that they were secured together, side by side. Her patent leather shoes lay where she had kicked them off when she first returned home, as her bound ankles were allowed to fall to the floor again.
Rebecca looked down at her ankles and again back at her wrists, realising with a sickening feeling in the pit of her stomach that she was going nowhere very fast. “Start searching the room,” she heard the leader of the two say, and looking up she watched the other intruder start to search through the drawers and shelves in her room.
“Listen – if its money you’re after, my purse is in the kitchen and my jewellery is upstairs. Just please don’t make a mess or damage anything.”
“Thanks for the help, teach, but we’ll find your stuff for ourselves thanks,” the man said as he walked out of the room, and started to make his way up the staircase. Rebecca watched him walk up; looked at his friend as he tipped some books off a shelf, and then started to twist her wrists and ankles round again bin a mixture of anger and panic.
Looking down, all she saw for her efforts were the white marks where the tight stocking had rubbed against her own pantyhose and marked it. Leaning back, she let out a scream of frustration – one the brought the intruder running over before he grabbed Rebecca by her shoulders.
“Make another noise like that and I’ll shut you up good,” he said as he took another pack of stocking from his own pocket, pulled one out and pulled it tightly around Rebecca’s legs above her knees, pulling them together and knotting the ends at the side of her legs. Although it was only a single turn, he did it with such force that Rebecca started to cry tears as the pain cut across her thighs.
“You can’t do this to me, you can’t” she cried out as she looked down at her legs, but that only seemed to infuriate the intruder more. Taking the other stocking he pulled Rebecca’s head back by the hair. Before she had a chance to respond, he pulled the material tightly over her closed mouth and bound the ends tightly together at the base of her neck.
“Let’s just make sure you can’t move,” he said as he took another pack from his pocket, and pulled out a pair of tights. Winding the gusset tightly so that the material made a continuous band, he pulled it around Rebecca’s waist and tied the end together around and over her wrists, so that they were held tightly against the small of her back.
“Try and cause me trouble now,” he said as he walked back across the room, leaving Rebecca staring at him and trying to cry out for help. Leaning her head back, she tried again and again to call for help, but the material was so tightly stretched across her lips she was unable to move them more than a fraction. All that escaped from her mouth was a soft “Hlp…”
A sound in the hallway made her turn her head, and she watched the main intruder come back in carrying a pillow case that softly jangled as he placed it on the table. “Did she give you any trouble?” he asked.
“Some, but I shut her up. What do you think?”
“Not bad, but I can do better – watch.”
Taking his knife, he cut the material around Rebecca’s mouth, letting the stocking fall to the ground. She started to say “thank you”, but then saw the second pair of antyhose he held in his hand.
“Open wide,” he said, and as Rebecca opened her mouth he stuffed the gusset of the pantyhose in, before pulling the legs tightly back so that the material cut slightly into the corner of her mouth. Rebecca grimaced as he pulled the legs tightly round her head and knotted them together at the base of her neck, biting down on the material with her teeth as he did so.
“That should keep her nice and quiet,” he said as the two men gathered together their ill gotten gains. Rebecca closed her lips around the pantyhose and looked at the two of them as they stared at her, wondering where she had seen them before – there was something familiar about them despite the masks they were wearing…
“Hey – I think teach recognises us,” the man who had first gagged her said as she stared at the two of them. “Is that right, teach – do you know who we are now?”
Rebecca looked at both of the men for a few more minutes, before closing her eyes as realisation hit her. Of course she knew who they were – she’d sent both of them to the principal three months previously after she caught them threatening a couple of girls in her English class, and the last she heard they had been expelled. Closing her eyes, she listened to the two of them as they started laughing.
“Yeah, she recognises us, Joey,” the lead intruder said. “So, what do you think we should do now?”
“Forget it, Nick – we need to get out of town fast.”
“Nah, Joey – teach needs to learn a lesson first,” Nick said as he walked forward, the knife turning in his hand. Rebecca closed her eyes as he came forward, fearing the worst….
“Nick – forget it, let’s just go man!!”
“Lucky for you, teach, that we have to go now. If you see those little chickens, tell them hello from us when you tell them how scared you were today.”
Rebecca looked at the two boys, not yet really men, as they walked out and left her helpless on her couch. Looking up, she started to cry in frustration, fear and relief, hoping that somebody, anybody would hear her, but there was still no sound of children playing in the street, or of lawnmowers working – the way she normally liked it, but not now, not now…..