Learning From the Others – Part 1
Saturday 18th July
2.30 pm Pacific Time
Beverly Hills Hotel
“Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Madeline and Emma to the floor for the first dance.”
The guests stood and applauded as they came to the floor, smiling as they held each other and started to dance as the band played a waltz.
“May I have this dance,” Andy Morecombe said as he offered Maisha his hand, Kylie smiling as she stood up and joined him on the dance floor. Soon, other couples were joining in, so that the floor slowly filled up.
“They look so happy,” John Jacobs said as he sat with Coco Aldington, his partner for the event, Shirley and Sandra.
“Indeed – it is nice that they have each other,” Coco said with a smile, her periwinkle blue eyes sparkling as she sat there.
“Come on,” John said as he stood up, and offered his hand, “let’s dance.”
“John, you know I’m a terrible dancer…”
“I’ll guide you,” John said as he took the small, slightly plump woman onto the dance floor, Shirley laughing softly as her partner John Hammond came over.
“Happy,” he asked as he leaned over and kissed her.
“Very much so.”
“Maddie has asked for a portrait shot of you two with her and Emma. I’ll find you later on for it.”
“That sounds good,” Sandra said as she sipped her wine.
“By the way,” Shirley said as John went off, camera in hand, “I’m offering two more of Susan’s old group possible positions at the farm. If they accept, can you arrange to discuss relevant training with them?”
“Can do,” Sandra said quietly, “lead them to me…”
“May I have the pleasure of this dance,” Winston said as he picked Jeannie out of her chair, holding her as the floor parted to allow them on.
“I cannot help but be amazed every time they do that,” Juliette said as they danced past her.
“I know the feeling.”
She smiled as she turned and saw Barbara watching beside her.
“You played me, Juliette Huntingdown,” Barbara said quietly.
“Moi? Now what makes you think I would do that, Mrs. Brewster?”
“Because you did,” Barbara said, smiling as she shook her head. “And it was well done as well.”
“I know you’re concerned,” Juliette said quietly, “but trust me – he is an artist, and he knows what he’s doing.”
“I hope so,” Barbara said, “because I nominated both of us to chaperone when he does the shoot.”
“Fine by me,” Juliette said with a smile as Jeannie came past again, “I’d love to see the way he works as well.”
“Okay,” Emma said as she re-appeared on the stage with Andi, Belle and Xandra. “For some totally unfathomable reason, the band has insisted we take over for a little while, so blame them. Does anyone want to remember how Ladydown used to sound?”
There was a cheer from the floor as Xandra said into the microphone “for the love of… We’re middle aged women now, you know!”
“Aw, live a little,” Belle said as she tapped her drumsticks together, and then launched into a drum riff that led to Andi and Xandra playing the intro to Lead Me On, Emma smiling as she began singing.
“Dance with me, dance with me,
Take me into your arms…”
“It’s almost as if the years are rolling away,” Madeline said as she stood at the bar, talking to Juliette.
“I never really listened to them, but I can see why they were popular,” Juliette said as Andi launched into a guitar solo, Emma grabbing a tambourine and playing along before she started singing again.
“Thank you very much,” she said as the song ended, “but we don’t want to hog the stage. Who wants to jam?”
The room cheered as Belinda Carlisle jumped on stage, and talked quickly to the four girls. Emma walked over to join Andi, as the four of them started singing.
do you know what that's worth?
Ooh heaven is a place on earth
They say in heaven love comes first
We'll make heaven a place on earth
Ooh heaven is a place on earth.”
“And they’re off,” Juliette said with a laugh as Belinda started singing.
“Can we talk business a moment?”
“So who exactly will be handling the course for my girls next weekend?” Maddie asked.
“Diana, with assistance from Penny and Jan.”
“That sounds good Ju. I presume all three will be masked at all times round the trainees?”
“That’s the plan. They will not be masked, but will be blindfolded on their way to the location and back again.”
“Diana does know I want them to have her advanced weapons and tactics taught to them?”
“She does, don’t worry it will go perfectly as always. In fact, I heard her and Penny planning an exercise they will enjoy… Now, changing the subject, where is the honeymoon to be?”
“The Seychelles…lots of sea, sun, and a truly luxurious hotel.”
“Mmmm that sounds good to me.”
“We talked about Australia’s Gold Coast, but neither of us has ever been to the Seychelles, so we opted for that instead.”
“Sounds divine – I’d book a holiday there, but we’re heading up to Beverley and Manchester in a couple of weeks.”
“Sounds nice as well – a trip away from home.”
Maddie nodded before she said “Just ask Diana to arrange for some venison to be sent to me when we return. I like a rich game stew.”
“Little Judith is very ticklish, isn’t she Heather,” Little Sandy said as she used her fingers to tickle the baby girl’s sides. Judith giggled and waved her arms round, obviously happy as the others looked at her.
“Yes she is,” Carina said as she looked at her little girl, “you love been tickled, don’t you?”
She giggled again as Carina tickled her tummy, and said “who loves you, who loves you very much little one?”
“Mama!” Judith said as she waved her little arms at Carina.
“Did Judith just…”
“Oh dear Goddess…she just spoke.” Carina said as she smiled broadly.
“Mama.” Judith repeated the word as Carina lifted her up.
“Annie she’s started to talk!” Cari exclaimed.
“She has?” Annie came over and looked at Judith, smiling as she did so.
“Mom, Pops, Ingy.” Carina called, “Judith just spoke.”
“She did?” Klaus reached for his mobile and rushed over.
“Mama.” Judith spoke her line on cue, just as her grandfather started filming.
“Oh, she is talking.” Juliette took her granddaughter. “Who’s a clever little girl then?”
“Oh this calls for a celebration,” Klaus said as he motioned to a waiter. “Champagne please – we have a milestone to celebrate.”
“Who am I, darling, who am I,” Juliette said as she looked at Judith. The little girl seemed to be concentrating and then smiled.
“Grammah” Judith looked very pleased with herself as Juliette reacted, smiling broadly as she said “that’s right, darling.”
“Here, take the camera please Ingrid,” Klaus said as he stood with Carina.
“Am I missing something,” John Hammond said as he walked over.
“Judith said her first words,” Carina said, proud as punch as Juliette pointed to Klaus.
“Who’s this Judith?” Juliette asked, “Grandpa?”
“Try and say Grandpa Judith.” Klaus urged as he looked at his granddaughter while Ingrid filmed. “Grandpa.”
For a moment Judith looked solemn, then she tried and said “Grappy.” She smiled as she looked at Klaus.
“Oh I love that,” Ingrid laughed, “a new name…”
“From now on you are Grappy Pops.” Carina laughed.
Judith held her arms out towards Annie, “Mama.”
“Poor thing is going to be confused having two Mums.” John Hammond spoke as he snapped pictures of the happy family.
“Oh she’ll manage,” Annie said as she took Judith and buried her face into Judith’s tummy, “she’s a clever little girl, aren’t you?”
“Mommy, Judith just started talking!”
“Well, that’s the end of the peace and quiet for Carina now,” Sandy said as Heather walked over, shaking her head and smiling.
“You forget how innocent it sounds when they talk like that,” she said as she sat down, “she is a very bright young lady.”
“Still, now the fun really begins,” Sandy said with a smile. “How are you doing, lover?”
“What do you think lover?”
“You’ve had three good night’s sleep in a row, and much better for it. How does that sound to you?”
“Remarkable – was I that bad?”
“We were all worried.”
“Well, I’m going to drive into Boston twice a week while we are up in Manchester.” Heather smiled. “Serena will hopefully give me some things to think about.”
“And you can take the shuttle, or drive up to see her, once we move back to New York.” Sandy nodded.
“It helps having someone to talk to who knows just what I went through.”
“Karen thought it would lover.”
“Serena’s referring me to a therapist in London.” Penny spoke as she sat down. “It really is time I put a few of the issues I have to rest.”
“I agree.” Heather nodded.
“Just as long as you never stop being the wonderful women you both are.” Abby hugged Penny.
“Are you two?” Sandy asked.
“Just occasionally.” Penny smiled. “Abby loves Tony, but she still finds a place for me.”
“Yes I do.” The model said as she kissed the Englishwoman.
“When in LA…”
The young girl looked round to see Helen and Catherine standing behind her.
“Hey – I guess you want to know how I feel about last night?”
“Well, it can be a concern,” Catherine said quietly. “It helps if you tell us how you felt when it happened?”
“I was seeing red,” Marina said quietly, “I was so angry that she was so contemptuous of life, of the person she was treating like dirt…”
“That is understandable,” Helen said, “the first is always the worst. I was there though, and to my mind you did the right thing – so do not distress yourself in that.”
“The girl – how is she?”
“I understand she is resting – Shirley will ensure her protection until Maddie returns.”
“Good – good. So what happens next?”
“We continue your training – now, we buy you a drink.”
“So how does it feel, to see one of your oldest friends married,” John said as he danced with Shirley.
“Strangely fulfilling – she is happy, and that is the most important thing of all in my eyes.” Looking into John’s eyes, Shirley said “you know, you and I are alike in one thing when it comes to events like these?”
“Oh – what’s that?”
“We don’t like to reflect that much on the past.”
John looked at Shirley, and then said “Robert?”
“In my case – in yours, though, it’s Elaine.”
John nodded. “I know – it’s been quite a few years, and I’m not saying I don’t think of her from time to time, but she would not want me to be sad or to dwell on it. When we get back, will you come and visit her with me?”
“Of course – I’d be honoured to,” Shirley said as she laid her head on John’s shoulder.
“Where’s the chatterbox?”
“That is my daughter you are talking about, Joanne Smith,” Carina said with a giggle. “She’s with Mom and Grappy Pops.”
“I know, I jest – so looking forward to getting out of the city?”
“Like you would not believe – we need this break.”
“You know, I have been considering certain dates.”
“Oh – what dates?”
“Why the 7th of August of course.”
“Judith’s first birthday? And why not…”
“And the 5th – or have you both conveniently forgotten I turn eighteen then?”
“Why so you do, Miss Smith,” Abby said. “We went low key last year, but for this occasion, we may have to mark it in a suitable fashion. Any ideas?”
“None whatsoever – I leave that in your capable and highly devious minds,” Jo said with a grin, “but remember I have that shoot with Caroline the next day.”
“My Lords, Ladies and Gentlemen,” Bertram called out, “It is time for Madeline and Emma to leave. Please gather to wish them bon voyage.”
As one, the guests moved to the lobby, as Maddie and Emma came out of a side room. Maddie was now wearing a short pleated cream leather skirt and a white blouse, while Emma had on a pair of black suede boots and a black dress.
“Damn – so much for getting away quietly,” Maddie whispered.
“No chance,” Sandra and Tracey said as they stood at the end of the line, the guests applauding as they made their way out to the waiting car.
As they drove off, the guests ran after, waving them away before Shirley said “Well, that was a day to remember.”
Sunday 19th July
Charlotte and Dominique looked out of the car as they parked by the sidewalk.
“Nice house,” she said quietly as they both got out, Ama and Maisha exiting from the rear doors. All four were wearing short sleeved dresses and dark glasses, looking from right to left before they crossed the road and walked up to the front door.
As they approached, the door was opened and Becca smiled, standing to one side to let them in.
“As promised,” Charlotte said, “I have brought The Heart and The Strength to meet you, and your house guest.”
“I am honoured,” Becca said as she bowed again.
“No, do not bow,” Ama said quietly, “we are the same as you, and experienced the same as you. We greet you as a sister, and an equal.”
She then hugged Becca, Maisha doing the same as Maria appeared.
“We have coffee and pastries ready,” she said quietly, “and Flower is in here.”
“That is the name she has chosen – come,” Becca said as she took the guests in.
“Hello Flower,” Charlotte said slowly, “I have brought some friends to meet you. This is Ama and Maisha – they have shared the same experiences as you, and now help us to support those who like you have been freed.”
Flower looked at them, and then spoke a few words.
“She says,” Charlotte translated, “that she wants to know if you are angels as well.”
“No,” Maisha said as she sat with Flower, and Charlotte translated as best she could, “we are like you, and we came to tell you we are here for you. We live many miles away, but we can be called at any time.”
“My sister is right,” Ama said as she sat on the other side, and held Flower’s hand, “trust in us, and trust in those who are here with you.”
“May I speak with you,” Becca said as she beckoned to the table. As they sat down, she said “is someone likely to come and try to take her?”
“No,” Dominique said, “but in case of such risk, someone is watching the house, and will stop any attempt. Soon, we will arrange for her to join some of the other girls in a safe place, but we need time to arrange transport.”
“It is a good thing you’re doing,” Maria said as she poured coffee, “I know the way we came out was hard, but you have been kind and supportive to us.”
“As you were to Becca,” Charlotte said. “Our employer thanks you for your help in this, and says she will not forget.”
“Mom,” Ama said as she looked up, “Flower wishes to ask a question. Can Charlotte translate?”
“Of course,” Dom said as Charlotte translated “I was not the only one. There are others – will you find and free them?”
“Tell her we will do all in our power to do so,” Dom replied. “Now, join us for food and drink.”
9 pm EST
The Richmond Mansion
“We’re back,” Sandy called out as the cab driver carried in the bags.
“Welcome home,” Nessa said, “we’re in the drawing room.”
Sandy and Heather came through to find her sitting with Rose, Maeve and Katherine, April asleep in her baby chair.
“I invited them round for an early dinner and a chat,” Nessa said as the children came in, and Jo paid the cab, “how was the wedding?”
“An amazing event,” Heather said, “and a lovely ceremony.”
“And I heard little Judith say her first word,” Little Sandy said, beaming with pride. “She said mama.”
“She started talking? Oh that is wonderful,” Rose said as she looked at the little girl. “She’ll be talking to you all the time soon.”
“I hope she learns some new words,” Sandy said, “I don’t want to be called mama all the time.”
“All right you two – upstairs and get washed,” Heather said as she steered Sandy and George to the stairs, “you can come down and see everyone afterwards.”
“We’d better head back as well – Susan will be wondering where we are.”
“They’re coming with Shirley, so they should arrive home in about an hour,” Jo said as she headed to the kitchen.
“Well, we’d better go then,” Rose said as Maeve picked up the car seat, “thank you again for allowing us to come today Vanessa.”
“You’re welcome – and safe journey when you fly back on Tuesday night. I’m coming to London in a few weeks – may I visit then?”
“We’d be honoured,” Maeve said as Nessa stood up and showed them out, Sandy and Heather looking at Katherine Carter.
“A decision we made while you were away,” Katherine said with a smile. “Nessa, Paulie, Maureen and I are going to go to London for a week.”
“Oh? When is this happening,” Sandy said as she looked at her mother.
“We’ll fly out on the 9th of August – so we won’t miss two very important birthdays,” Nessa said as she sat down. “So, are we still on for Manchester later this week?”
“I hope so – unless something’s come up while we’ve been away.”
“Besides, Jo and I need to take a trip on Tuesday – so we’ll be out all that day.”
“We do? Oh yeah, we do…”
Tuesday 21st July
The car pulled up at the side of the neat row of headstones, Serena getting out of the car and looking round.
“Are you sure you’re ready to do this Sis,” Jo said as she and Heather sat in the back seat.
“No, I’m not – but I need to do it,” Heather said quietly, taking several deep breaths before she opened the car and stepped out. Both she and Jo were wearing dark headscarves on their heads, and large sunglasses, with long coats covering their clothes.
“I haven’t been back in the town since the funeral, never mind here,” Heather said as she looked round.
“Which is why it is important you come here, while it’s quiet and in the sunlight,” Serena said as she locked the door. “Which way?”
“Over here,” Heather said as she gripped Jo’s hand, and they walked along and between the rows of headstones, stopping eventually in front of a simple white cross. In the centre was a bronze plaque, the words “George and Heather Smith” in the middle.
“I didn’t want to do more than acknowledge their names,” Heather said as Jo laid a simple bouquet of flowers on the green grass.
“I understand – but say what you need to say,” Serena said as she stood to one side.
Heather looked down and whispered “Hi. I haven’t forgiven you – I don’t think I can ever forgive you – but I’ve let you scare me for long enough now. I’m happy – a loving partner, and Jo is dating a good and kind man – and I cannot let you ruin that any more.
“So I’m here to see you’re still here, for Jo to finally say goodbye – and to tell you when I come again, it will be to tell you the horror you inflicted on me is not part of my life any more. Until then, wherever you are, know this.
“I’m not going to let you rule my life any more, in any way.”
“Well done,” Serena said as Heather turned and walked away with Jo, “now, do you know somewhere we can get a coffee?”
“Not here – there’s a good coffee shop half an hour down the road. Let’s go there – I don’t want to come back here until I’m ready.”
Wednesday 22nd July
The Huntingdown Apartment
“Hi Carina,” Anna Carlton said as she stood in the doorway, “you booked a babysitter?”
“I did indeed – come away in,” Carina said as she stood to the side, Anna coming in and hanging her denim jacket on the rack. “Mom’s in the front room – go on through while the rest of us get ready.”
“Thanks,” Anna said as she went through, finding Juliette sitting and talking with Catherine and Helen.
“Of course Heather can start work on it – but are you sure they are responsible?”
“We believe so – but I will know tomorrow,” Catherine said as she stood up. “Anna, a pleasure to see you – I will leave you and Juliette to talk to Helen.”
“Thanks – I think,” Anna said as Catherine left.
“It is all right, Anna – Catherine is one of us,” Juliette said as she closed the door. “Now, I know you are going to present to the group tomorrow, but the one gap you saw on the proposal was an explosives expert, correct?”
“That’s right – we need someone who can blow a safe with minimal noise and damage.”
“A challenge,” Helen said, “this should be interesting.”
“Indeed – Helen has some skills, but needs time to practice and refine her thoughts. Are you free on Saturday?”
“I am,” Anna said quietly.
“Good – Diana will take you and Helen with you to the farm on Saturday, to give you a chance to outline what is needed, and for Helen to practice.”
Standing up, she said “now, I need to get ready. Helen, we will see you in the office tomorrow?”
“Of course,” Helen said as she stood up, “now I must join Catherine.”
Thursday 23rd July
The Brewster brownstone
“All right Stephen, I’ll let her know. I look forward to seeing you?”
“Who was that, mum?”
“That was Stephen Stone on the phone Jeannie.” Barbara called, “He’s going to fly in to shoot you next weekend.”
“Oh dear God, he’s in a hurry.” Jeannie gulped a couple of times. Despite her bravado, she was still a little nervous of posing largely unclothed.
“Eve said they are flying over with their daughter and her family.”
“I heard Cassandra wants to do research for her new movie… You know Nikki is dying to meet her.”
“Well she may well get a chance.”
“Did I hear Janice is going to be the technical advisor on the film Mum?”
“So she told me yesterday when we went shopping.”
“Is she looking forward to it?”
“I’m not sure,” Barbara paused for thought. “She was giving me very mixed signals.”
“Well I’d be excited round all those stars…”
“Who would probably be just as excited about meeting you Jeannie my love.” John kissed his granddaughter as he came in.
“It’s what I love about all of you as a group,” Barbara laughed as she brought her father in a cold beer, “none of you has a star complex, and you all, even Abby, forget you are actually huge stars yourself.”
Friday 24th July
Holiday Inn Express
“Welcome,” Susan said as Tracey and the LA group came in, “pleasant flight?”
“Very much so,” Tracey said as she looked at the table, “you met the team last week, but this is JD, Darlene, Rene, Rose and Daisy.”
“Welcome to New York girls,” Susan said as she shook their hands, “this is Pamela, my PA. She’s new to the company, but playing catch up fairly quickly.”
“Hi,” the slim woman said as she waved her hand, “I trust you’ve all found the rooms to your satisfaction.”
“Very nice indeed,” JD said as she sat down, “so when do we get started?”
“Oh believe me, you will know when the training exercise begins – tonight is more of a social event however, so please, sit, we’ll have a meal and just share stories.”
“Susan used to work for Maddie in the LA office,” Tracey said as they took their seats, “before she moved on and I filled her position. She then spent time with Dominique before moving here.”
“So what do you prefer – LA or here,” Rene asked.
“I actually prefer here – but bear in mind I’m a mother now. Besides, hot as it here at the moment, it’s not like this all year round – and being a Brit, I like to cool occasionally.”
“So what exactly are we doing tomorrow?”
“I honestly can’t tell you exactly what you will do,” Susan said, “but I will tell you this. You are in for the hardest weekend of your life, and you will find it an unforgettable experience.”
“When does it start?”
“I’m not saying…”
Saturday 25th July
Holiday Inn Express
Tracey was dreaming, a deep deep sleep. They had sat up with Susan until after midnight, talking and joking, before they had finally called it a night.
So the light being turned on was not what she expected – now was the sight of a young woman, dressed in overalls, and wearing dark glasses as she stood over her.
“Up – now,” she ordered, “your training starts here.”
“You have got to be…”
“Do I look as if I am joking,” she said as she produced a gun, “up, dressed, and downstairs.”
She pulled the covers back, waiting impatiently as Tracey threw some clothes and a pair of trainers on, before she was escorted down the stairs, her door slamming shut behind her.
The woman led her down the service stairs, and out the back to where a minibus was waiting. As she climbed in, she saw her five companions already seated, three more women in dark glasses standing with them.
“You will be hooded for the journey to the training centre,” the tallest of the woman said, “there will be no talking, and you will stay in your seats.”
She nodded to the other three, as black hoods were pulled over their heads, and they felt the van move off.
“Here we g…”
“NO TALKING” Daisy heard one of the women say, as they were driven off.
“And away they go,” Jo said as she watched Juliette drive the vehicle away.
“We need to go and get some sleep,” Heather said, “Manchester awaits.”
“Oh yes,” Juliette said as Janice and Penny helped the hooded girls out of the vehicle. “I had the windows down all the way, and I had a lovely scenic drive through the Hamptons, round and then up to here.”
“Of course – I need to get back. Where are Doc and Helen?”
“Other side of the farm. They wanted plenty of room – Helen brought supplies, and she’s setting something up now.”
“Right – have fun,” she said as she drove off, Diana pulling the balaclava down her head as she walked over to the open area in front of the barns. She nodded to Janice, as she called out “Remove the hoods.”
The girls of Maddie’s group looked dazed and confused as the hoods were pulled off their heads, and they discovered they were standing in a courtyard somewhere, surrounded by buildings. They had been warned this weekend would be stressful, but they had not counted on being rousted out of bed after less than three hours sleep, hooded, and then driven round for what seemed like an eternity.
As their eyes adjusted to the sunlight they saw standing in front of them three women wearing jeans, and military style camouflage jackets, their heads covered by ski masks, each pointing a decidedly lethal looking sawnoff shotgun at the trainees.
“Welcome to the farm ladies,” one of the women spoke. “You are here to…” the rest of her words were drowned out by the sound of an explosion, that caused the trainees to look round in utter confusion.
“As I said ladies,” she continued as the noise died down, “welcome to the farm, and please don’t worry about any loud bangs you might hear, you are not the only people using the facility this weekend.”
Each of the trainees nodded as they tried to figure out what was going on.
“You are here,” she continued, “because Madeline Moore wants you prepared to our standards for a forthcoming piece of work she has in mind. We are all members of what is so delightfully called the Pussycat Gang, and this facility is ours.”
That line firmly got the trainees attention as they looked at the three masked women.
“A training course with us has two possible outcomes,” a second woman spoke, “you either graduate and live, or you fail and you die.”
“At all times you obey our orders to the letter and do precisely as you are instructed,” the first woman resumed talking, “or you will learn first hand, just what these little babies can do to a human body,” she smiled as she patted the barrel of her weapon.
“In there,” the third woman spoke as she pointed at a barn, “you will find clothing and your breakfast ration. You have ten minutes to eat and get dressed and then report out here…Do you understand.”
“I want to here that from all of you…”
“YES MA’AM!” the trainees shouted back.
“Ten minutes ladies…from now.”
Quickly the trainees ran into the barn.
“Well I hadn’t counted on one of Helen’s bangs.” Diana smiled as the three instructors watched the girls go into the barn, “but she timed that pretty well.”
“So ten minutes, and then?”
“We go and we have a nice, friendly, little chat,” Diana said with a smile.
“What the hell have we landed in,” Rene said to Darlene as she pulled the overalls on.
“The training course from hell – we suspected Cheryl was one of them, but I think we got three of the real bitches with us.”
“What, Miss Panther herself?”
“Worse,” JD said, “I’ll bet a hundred one of them is Miss Leopard.”
“My advice,” Tracey said as she took a swig of coffee, “eat and drink, fast – they’ll be in any minute.”
“Agreed,” Daisy said as she sat with Rose. “I have this horrible feeling…”
“Two minute warning,” Penny said as she came in, “then line up over here.”
“Actually, forget that,” Diana said as she and Penny walked in, “line up now.”
Tracey looked at Rene and shook her head as she walked over, the others following as they formed a line in front of the three masked women.
“Fear and terror ladies, are the two best weapons in the arsenal of the armed robber. When you threaten to kill someone, not only they, but you yourself have to know that it is no idle threat.” Diana paused. “I understand that some of you are already killers, could I ask those of you with that experience to stand to one side please?”
Tracey stepped over to the side, Rene following her as she stood by Penny. The other four looked at her as she did so.
“Long time ago, but I did it,” Rene said quietly.
“Came close, threatened it, but never needed to do it,” Rose said, Daisy nodding in agreement.
“Thank you…now you need to know something, and this may be a bombshell to you…by tomorrow night there will be NO division within this group, you will all have killed.”
There were gasps from the women at the news, as amused smiles played on the lips of the masked women.
“This is an advanced class ladies, in a pure trainees class we would have you stalking and killing a deer.” Diana paused again. “However given your experience level, we have decided that your kills should be a little more than that.”
“Do we have your attention now Girls?” Penny asked as heads nodded.
“I am not going to say when, or who – but it will happen. Alright ladies, let us talk tactics for armed robbery.” Diana looked in each woman’s eyes. “What is our ideal?”
“No alarms, no guards, no security cameras, few staff and the chance to take our time.” Darlene replied.
“Very good, and what are our chances of finding such a score?”
“Zero to none.” JD shook her head.
“Exactly, so we plan for less than ideal circumstances and deal with all obstacles put in our way.”
“Can we presume that you all have experience in tying up a victim or hostage?” Janice asked.
“Yes…” there were a few mumbled replies.
“Yes what ladies?”
“Yes Ma’am.” They all replied smartly.
“Good.” Janice smiled, “Well for the next thirty minutes we will watch as you practice tying each other, and timing you.”
“So go to work ladies.” Penny placed a holdall on the barn floor. “Materials are in there – make it as secure as quickly as you can.”
The three women watched, stopwatches in hand as the six paired up, and opened the bag. JD and Rene grabbed some zip ties, Rene taking about five minutes to secure the young woman’s hands and feet, while Rose and Daisy showed their versatility with a roll of duct tape, and Darlene attempted to bind Tracey’s wrists with rope – without much success, as Tracey easily freed herself – and then showed Darlene how to do it in her own way.
Thirty minutes later, the three women compared notes, before Penny stepped forward.
“I can see that Rose and Daisy have done home invasions,” she said, “they used zip ties, which are quick and simple.”
“And virtually impossible to get out of,” Rose said with a smile, Penny smiling in return as she said “use one to secure my wrists together.”
“Yes Ma’am,” Rose said as she took a plastic strip and secured Penny’s wrists together in front of her. She stood back, smiling as Penny said “Not bad, not bad at all. I can’t move my arms apart, right?”
“Wrong,” Penny said as she threw her arms up, and swung them down, breaking the hasp holding the ziptie in place as she forced her wrists apart. “That’s one way of doing it – and it is ridiculously simple to open them if you know how.”
“As for tape,” Janice said, “it will hold for a while, but it will normally wear with time and damp. The only way to secure someone’s wrists together – and make sure they stay together – is to use something like these.”
She brought out a pair of police issue rigid handcuffs, showing them to the six girls.
“These will immobilize you,” Janice said, “but they are heavy, and are not usable quickly. What you have to do is immobilize someone quickly in a way which makes it incredibly difficult to get out of it without help. I want a volunteer.”
The girls looked at each other, before JD came forward.
“This technique,” Penny said as she went to the bag, “was developed by the Chinese, and if practiced, you can get to the stage where someone is immobilized in five minutes. Watch carefully.”
She shook the rope out, and quickly doubled it, making a small loop before she draped the rope over JD’s shoulders.
“I will go slowly here, so watch carefully. Take the ends of the rope, and wind them down the arms in a spiral, pulling the arms behind as you do so.” Penny carefully wound the rope around JD’s arms, pulling them behind until they were folded behind her back, and she used the rope to bind her arms together.
“See – the ropes hold the arms in place, and then together. We further secure them by feeding the ends through the loop, like so, and then pulling up, raising the arms further up the back.”
The five girls nodded as JD felt her arms pulled up her back. “Now, we use the remaining rope to bind the upper arms to the upper body, making sure you go round in two places, and secure in the back. Some people like to be creative, some decorative – I recommend you just do it.”
They watched as Penny secured the young blonde’s arms to her side, and then stood back.
“Fifteen minutes, going slowly,” Diana said. “Another volunteer.”
Darlene stepped forward, as Penny prepared another shank of rope. “Now, how it can be done when you are practiced.”
Tracey and the others watched as Penny smiled – and five minutes later, Darlene was as tightly secured as JD.
“You four, split into pairs, and practice what you have seen. I want you able to do it in ten minutes. As for you two,” she said to JD and Darlene, “try to get free.”
“Now that was tough,” JD eventually said as she rubbed her arms, “but thorough.”
“Now let’s talk even more real life,” Diana held her shotgun in front of her. “On a typical armed raid you will not get time to truss up bystanders…what are your options?”
“Get them face down on the floor and set guards.” Daisy replied. “Make sure they do not do anything stupid. Just like we did last time.”
“That’s it in a nutshell.” Diana smiled. “Make sure they do not do anything stupid. It is your job to make sure nothing compromises the success of your raid, or results in either harm to, or capture of, any member of your crew.”
“It’s the first principle ladies, and it can be easier said then done.” Penny started talking. “As you know from our reputation, we practice both terror, and utter ruthlessness to achieve success. You must learn to do the same.”
“Because you are women, you are deemed to be part of the gentler sex.” Janice continued. “You have to get over that stereotype. People need be afraid of you, and you need yourselves to know inside that you have done, and are capable of doing in the future, extreme acts of violence.”
“Later,” Diana said, “we will take you elsewhere in the complex, to test your effectiveness with these weapons. For now, we will present a number of different scenarios to you in pairs, the others acting as those present at the scene. We are looking for quick reactions, effective use of language and threat, and rapid responses to anything that may happen.
“Rose and Daisy, you will go first – leave the room, and enter when called, prepared to begin.”
“Follow me,” Penny said, “and I will explain your situation.”
“Very well – you may rest for thirty minutes. Lunch rations are in the barn.”
The six girls walked slowly off as Penny, Janice and Diana made their way back to the main house, Diana heading to the kitchen as the other two sat down.
“Definite promise,” Jan said as she looked at Penny, “but some real rough edges. We’ll have a better idea once we get them out on the range.”
She looked to the door as two more masked women walked in.
“How is it going?” Penny asked as Doc and Helen came into the farmhouse and pulled their masks off.
“I’m beginning to understand the challenge.” Helen smiled. “Is that…?”
“Just brewed Helen.” Diana smiled and passed her a hot mug of coffee.
“The problem is that I’m used to doing demolition. This requires a very small, but highly effective bang.” Helen pulled out a little notebook she had been writing in.
“Here Anna,” Diana passed the younger woman a mug.
“Well at least this kind of bang can’t get us pregnant.” Doc smiled.
“Oh that’s an awful pun.” Janice shook her head.
“By the way Janice thank you for the information from the FBI files…Very, very, helpful.” Helen took a sip of her drink.
“You are welcome.”
“Also, by the way, Catherine phoned.” Diana sat to drink her coffee, “she and the girls have those ‘volunteers’ rounded up, and they will deliver them later.”
“Many thanks for doing this Diana, normally it would fall to me to eliminate the Honoured Master’s enemies, but while I am busy banging…”
“It will be our pleasure to do it for you.” Diana smiled.
“Fancy those bastards trying to infiltrate your organization so badly.” Penny mused. “I always thought the Yakuza’s were better than that.”
“It was we believe a botched job that got hurried after events in Los Angeles last weekend.” Helen finished her coffee.
“Well it gives our West Coast trainees a chance to learn the true feeling of the kill.”
“Indeed it does Diana.” Helen smiled.
“What I don’t understand is why – why are they targeting Cathy’s people?”
“Because we found something else last week,” Helen said quietly. “I’ll tell you later.”
“All right ladies,” Diana said as she stood in front of the line, “this afternoon we wish to discuss weapons, and the correct way to use them. This,” she said as she held up the sawn off shotgun, “is the signature weapon of our group. You know the reports of those we have met with these, and what it inspires in them.”
“Usually a bad case of incontinence,” JD whispered, but as Diana looked at her she said “Sorry, Ma’am.”
“That is not an unknown reaction,” she said quietly, “although I have been known to kill anyone who reacts in that way. Usually the sight is enough, but when necessary…”
She turned and fired a shot into a dummy, the girls watching as it disintegrated.
“Wow,” Daisy said, “that is powerful – and shit scary.”
“Correct,” Janice said as she handed over her own shotgun, “fire it.”
“That target over there,” Penny said as she pointed to a round target on a straw bale. Nodding, Daisy pointed the gun at it and fired, the target disintegrating – and Daisy flying back three feet, landing on her bottom.
“Now, can anyone tell me what Daisy did wrong,” Diana said as she looked round.
“Newton – action and reaction.”
“Explain,” Diana said as she looked at Darlene.
“You fired a shot that way, through a shortened chamber – so increasing the escape velocity. That force has to be equalized somehow – and the way she was standing, the only way was in the opposite direction.”
“And you would avoid that?”
Darlene took the gun, cocked it and fired the other barrel at a second target, bracing her feet and holding the stock against her hip.
“Mechanical Engineering major at MIT.”
“Doubly so,” Janice said as Daisy rubbed her sore posterior. “So, select a weapon, examine it, and then show me how you use it.”
An hour later, Diana called a halt, after making certain notes on a pad.
“Right – we now come to a test of skill and endurance. You will each take one of these rifles,” she said as Penny and Janice handed round the hunting rifles, “and run a little course we have prepared here. I want total accuracy in shooting and I do not want to see any damage on the rifles. Move out!”
“YES M’AM!” The six called out as they ran off with Diana.
As they returned to the courtyard, Diana looked as fresh as when she had set off – unlike the six girls.
“All right,” she said as they stood there panting, “not bad. Water break, then my colleagues have a series of tests to put you through. Go.”
As they headed to the barn, Diana returned to the farm.
“All yours,” she said as she pulled the mask off.
“How did they do?”
“Acceptable – one or two of them exceptional. Have fun?”
“Got the tests?”
“Oh yes,” Janice said as she and Penny put their masks on and headed off, another bang echoing round.
Diana headed to the kitchen and poured a coffee, before she heard a truck pull up. Picking up a pistol, she looked through the window, then relaxed as Cathy Lu got out of the driver’s cabin.
“Welcome,” Diana said as she came out, “I trust they are all in there?”
“Indeed – and in there they can stay for the moment,” Cathy said as she opened the rear door, the six hooded men sitting on benches, their wrists and ankles manacled.
“So who are these men?” Diana asked Catherine.
“Pretty low level scum, ethnic Chinese, but from Japan. Mainstream Japanese culture looks down upon them, but the Yakuza’s find them useful on occasion.”
“I saw Heather’s work on the gold mining in Mogola, it’s pretty clear there that this has both Japanese and Chinese fingerprints all over it.”
“I am ashamed to say it but yes, my government has been corrupted in many ways, and it would appear the rot is firmly into our trade and development mission in Mogola.” Catherine shook her head.
“The high pressure hoses being used to wash away the hillside are causing extreme environmental degradation as well.”
“Charlotte was explaining that to me. We need to act quickly and efficiently to stop this, and it is a battle that must be fought on several fronts.”
“Well Charlotte is beginning to co-ordinate moving people into that part of Mogola…we here though can only deal with the local threat, and we need further intelligence before we can do that.”
“Heather is working her computers as we speak Diana.” Catherine smiled.
“So what do we do with these guys?”
“For their last night on this earth? I am sure we can think of something – for now, where is Helen?”
“They should be done for the night – come in, I’ve just made some coffee.”
“Excellent,” Janice said as she collected the forms. “Now, the good news – we always ensure our students enjoy a good meal. In the main house, we have showers ready, and dresses for you to change into before we dine. We will call you shortly.”
As the two masked women walked off, Tracey handed bottles of water round.
“Why is Maddie having us put through this?” Rene asked.
“That’s easy girls...can’t you tell?” Tracey smiled, “she wants us to become basically Pussycat Gang West, we are here to find out if any of us doesn’t have the right stuff to be as terrifyingly bad, and as good in our careers as they are,” she nodded outside.
“The idea then is we all go home as stone cold killers?” asked JD.
“I think you got it right.” Tracey nodded. “I think Maddie has dreams of us hitting some very big targets, if there is even the slightest doubt about the ruthlessness of any of us she wants to know.”
“So they meant it when they said death is the penalty for not graduating.” Rose spoke quietly.
“It has to be,” Tracey smiled, “no one can back out and just be let go, you all know far too much.”
“So we need to become as hard as they are?” Darlene asked.
“If it will make me as rich as they are, then I’m prepared to leave the odd body.” JD looked at her colleague’s faces.
“Remember that is what it’s all about girls,” Tracey smiled slightly, “wealth, luxury, and power.”
“Greed is good…wasn’t that what the man said?”
“That’s it Daisy,” Tracey let her smile broaden, “and always remember…Crime does pay.”
“Ladies I hope you enjoyed your showers, and can I say you all look marvelous in your evening dresses.” Diana poured coffee after they had finished dinner.
“Thank you Ma’am” Darlene replied.
“What we are going to do now,” Diana said as she sat down, “is basically an evaluation session, we want all of you to tell us just what you think you bring to the crew, then tell us what if any weaknesses you think you have.”
“Now who wants to go first?” Janice asked.
“I guess I ought to.” Tracey nodded, “I think I bring, experience, some leadership ability, ambition, and I hope a certain ruthless dedication to the task at hand.”
“Intelligence, an understanding of the mechanics of crime, and I think a certain intellectual discipline that you gain at a place like MIT.”
“I’m an aspiring actress, I think I bring an ability to project my personality, and that I can by training make myself truly fearsome.”
“That’s good, “ Janice took a note, “now Rose?”
“I’m a first class driver, I learn quickly, I follow orders well…”
“I had a rough upbringing, I think my biggest asset is my drive to succeed and to get everything I ever dreamed of having.”
“I’m physically tough, I am very fit, and like some of the others I think I bring a lot of grit and determination.”
“Very interesting,” Janice finished her notes, “One thing surprises me.”
“What’s that,” Tracey asked as she sipped her coffee.
“I’m quite startled that none of you really stressed that you are a team player…why was that?”
The six of them looked at each other, before JD said “I trust them anyway. I know we only came together a few weeks ago, but we just seemed to gel.”
“Hmm,” Penny said as she sat back. “Okay, I can understand a team gelling from the get go. How did you and Maddie select them, Tracey?”
“We reviewed staff profiles, matched skills. JD and Darlene had the potential to do the job, that much was clear.”
“Okay – what were your concerns?”
Tracey sat back. “Apart from the inexperience of the newbies – no offence.”
“None taken,” Darlene said, “I knew we were lucky to get this offer.”
“We had two concerns. When it came to Rose and Daisy, they were home invader specialists. This was a move up for them. Rene – Rene I wasn’t that worried about. I’d worked with her before.”
“You said you’d killed earlier Rene – when?”
“Convenience store – bitch behind the counter went for the alarm, I killed her.”
“Did you regret it?”
“No – it had to be done. Why regret it?”
“It’s not a simple thing to kill – yes, it gets easier, but never forget it is still a life.”
Rene nodded as Penny looked up. “The psych tests you did earlier actually say you all have complimentary personality types – in other words, you form a natural team.”
“Any qualms about Tracey as leader?”
“I did wonder one thing – you’ve killed, but I saw you flinch when you did it. If we’re meant to be stone cold killers, why flinch?”
“Killing to me is a last resort,” Tracey said as she held her mug, “but I know when it needs to be done – that guy at the jewelry store was going to shoot the rest of us, so I killed him first.”
The other nodded as Diana said “As a team, your priority apart from the objective is to protect each other – and never, ever forget that.”
“What was it like the first time you killed Ma’am?”
“A conversation for another time.” Diana said. “Is there a situation in which you would not kill?”
“Children,” Daisy said, “although if I found someone mistreating a child, I’d kill them without a moment’s hesitation.”
Janice looked at her, before Rene said “Same here – children are a no no.”
“They are innocents – they still have to learn.”
“Very well,” Diana said as she stood up, “I think you need to retire for the night. Follow us, please.”
The six stood and walked across the yard with them, back to the barn. Six mats with sleeping bags were laid out.
“You will stay in here tonight – sleep well,” Diana said, waiting until all six were inside before she locked and chained the door.
“Well, guess we make the most of it,” Tracey said as she started to strip to her underwear.”
“So what do you think,” Penny said as Helen and Doc came down.
“Interesting listening to that,” Doc said as she took a coffee, “they have a lot of potential, but I can hear the squeamishness.”
“How would you grade their weapons handling Diana?” Penny asked.
“As a group about A minus. Maddie really needs to run regular courses out there like you’ve instituted in England.”
“Those were my thoughts, they are good, but they could be just that tiny little bit better.”
“On the robbery scenarios they’ve clearly got some idea of what they are doing,” Janice spoke, “but they need to think quicker on their feet, when I’ve thrown wrenches in the works, they have been finding it hard to adapt to and accommodate the changes.”
“Well we have all day tomorrow to iron that out.” Diana smiled. “Tonight we make sure they get very little sleep and that we drive up their stress levels.”
“Oh the cd’s Carina burned will do just that.” Penny giggled, “Let’s see how they are after ten hours in a locked room, sleeping on a hard floor, with Heavy Metal blasting out at random intervals.”
“You know Carina really does have an evil mind.” Janice laughed.
“You have no idea how evil – there’s not just Anthrax and Def Leppard on there.”
“Oh – what else is there?”
“The Birdie song.”
The women looked at each other and then burst out laughing.
is about breaking them down and then tomorrow night they will rebuild
themselves." Diana looked at her co-instructors.
"I think Maddie knew what she was doing when she selected this group, they are going to be a truly frightening group of bitches once we remove the last inhibitions." Janice looked up from her coffee.
“Well, I for one am turning in,” Helen said, “I think I’m close, but I need more time tomorrow.”
“I’m sleeping too – have fun ladies,” Doc said as the two of them went upstairs.
Sunday 26th July
“Morning,” Helen and Doc said as they left the farmhouse, the other three sitting round the breakfast table.
“What is Helen using by the way?” Penny asked.”
“RDX, she’s experimenting with charge sizes and the damage they do.” Janice ate an apple.
“According to Doc’s plan we need six simultaneous charges going off to remove the locks so we can get access to all three vaults.” Diana sipped some orange juice.
“That kid is as frighteningly bright as Heather is.” Penny shook her head.
“I know, but I’ll give her credit here, this idea is not rushed and ill thought out. It’s a plan even Juliette would be proud of.”
“Oh I agree Diana.” Janice smiled.
“So how do you think they feel?”
Diana looked at her watch. “Well, given they just had classic Anthrax played full blast to them, then I think they may be ready for bear. Where are they?”
“In the main barn, seated, secured.”
“Good – then it’s time to start.”
Tracey looked up from the mat, dark rings round her eyes as the doors were unlocked and thrown open. The others turned and watched as the three masked instructors walked in.
“Good morning,” Diana said, “I trust you managed to get some sleep?”
“Nope,” JD said as she stood up, “and some day, I hope we get the opportunity to thank you for that.”
“So do we,” Janice said, “but we need to get started on the second day. Yesterday, we told you that by the end of this weekend, you would all have killed. Now we start to make good on that promise.”
“In another barn,” Penny said, “we have six men who were part of a conspiracy to try and infiltrate the organization of one of our partners. This conspiracy, we now know thanks to evidence we received recently, is responsible for the raping and pillaging of the natural resources of a Southern African country.”
“Last year, we and others were responsible for the dismantling of a similar conspiracy in New York – I am sure you remember reading of this. It appears we have another fight on our hands – and we will win.” Diana looked at them and said “follow me.”
The six women stood up, all dressed in the clothes from yesterday, and put on their gloves as they followed Diana, Janice and Penny to the second barn. The six men were sat in chairs, secured with straps, hoods covering their heads.
“Amongst their crimes, they have been responsible for the smuggling of child slave labour from the African country into the US.”
The six women looked at each other, then at Janice as she walked to a table, six pistols laid out.
“They need to pay – and you will take that payment.”
As Diana watched, Tracey and Rene led the way over, the two of them picking up a pistol and priming it, then watching as the others did likewise.
“Take your positions,” Penny said quietly, as they each stood behind one of the men.
“The Honoured Father has found you guilty,” Diana said as she stood between the two rows, “sentence to be carried out immediately.”
“Together girls,” Tracey said as they each placed the end of the barrel to the back of a head. She then counted silently down from three, before as one they each pulled the trigger, the six slumping forward.
Rose and Daisy were shaking slightly, while Darlene and JD looked at each other.
“Now,” Diana said, “replace the guns on the table, and follow me. We’re going for a run.”
“Come on,” Tracey said as she looked at them, “let’s show them what we’re made of.”
Penny smiled as they ran after Diana. “It worked.”
“Yeah – instead of clawing at each other, they’re gelling as a unit, facing it together.”
As they spoke, there was another explosion – and then a flash of lightning.
“Nope,” Janice said as she looked out, “a summer storm. Nice timing. I’ll call Cathy, tell her she can collect.”
“Just the thing to put a damper on some fun,” Helen said as she handed Doc the flask of coffee.
“It’ll pass soon enough – happens all the time round here,” Doc said as she poured some coffee. “So do you think you’re getting close to an answer?”
“Oh I think I know what’s needed – but I’m enjoying myself too much. It’s not often I get a whole weekend to indulge my hobby.”
“Listen,” Doc said, “can I ask a question?”
“So long as it doesn’t involve me saying something that means I have to kill you.”
Doc looked at her and said “you’re joking, right?”
“Want to find out?”
“All right – Kylie. Where do you see her going?”
Helen nodded as she sipped on her drink. “Kylie – now we’ve rubbed off the rough edges, what do you think?”
“She’s stylish, can fit in anywhere, everyone loves her – what do you think?”
“I think she had a talent with guns, knives, other equipment – she has the potential to be a great asset as an enforcer, as well as a high class thief.” Looking at Doc, Helen then said “something she feels you have the potential for as well.”
“An enforcer? Someone should ask Dom, get her reaction.”
“I did – she felt it was an interesting idea, but your intellect and planning skills in my view mark you out more in Juliette’s bulwark than mine and Dominique’s. I would tend to agree – but you have time to find your footing. After all, studying to be a doctor will take a few years as well…”
“Hello from the sunny Seychelles.” Maddie said as she smiled into the camera.
“Hello from a very wet Connecticut.” Penny smiled back as she sat at the table.
“So how is it going?”
“They spent a restless night shall we say, but they saw to that business for Catherine just fine this morning, Diana now has them out running.”
“Oh poor them.” Maddie giggled a second, “rather them then me…So any squeamishness?”
“No each girl did just as she was told, Tracey led them, and they did what they had to.”
“Sounds good to me.”
“The graduation test will be tonight, I’ll be very interested just how well they do.”
“You have worries Penny?”
“Not really Maddie, but we are asking a lot for one evening, I’m just going to be intrigued how they work it.”
“I have faith in them – so what happens this afternoon?”
“Janice has a little scenario for them to work through – one of Heather’s plans for them to look over and comment on.”
“While shifting sandbags the same weight as bank bags.”
Maddie grinned as Penny heard Emma say “M, come on – cocktails!”
“Talk to you Monday,” Penny said as the line went dead, and she looked out of the window, the rain steadily falling.
“This… is… ridiculous,” Rose said as she threw the bag to Daisy.
“Security guard approaching from right top corner,” Janice called out, Tracey nodding to Darlene as she drew her gun and aimed in the right direction.
“Good – keep working, this needs to be completed within the next ten minutes.”
“Nearly done,” Rene called out as she caught another bag.
“Bank worker number two is whimpering.”
“Shut the fuck up, bitch,” JS said as she poked the end of the sawn off shotgun into the dummy, “or I put an end to your sniveling.”
Diana nodded as she made a note, and the last bag was put on the wagon. “Good,” she said as she glanced at her watch, “you have an hour’s break for lunch. Rations are waiting for you in the barn.”
“Good – I’m starving,” Rene said, and then she stopped.
“Witnesses – shouldn’t we ice them?”
“No – our reputation is built on eye witness statements, both of the families and of the workers. Despite what you may have heard, we do not kill unless we have to – and then it’s often another of us who starts.”
“Miss Lynx? Will she be here?”
“No – she has other things to work on at this time. Go – eat.”
“Thank god,” Rene whispered, “I quail at the thought of meeting her.”
“How do you know we didn’t?”
“You mean – Cheryl? No… No… Really?”
“I love it when a plan comes together,” Penny whispered as they walked off. “So then, let’s go and get the work for this afternoon sorted out.”
“So, do you think we’re passing,” JD said as she looked at the others.
“We’re still alive aren’t we,” Tracey said as she swallowed what remained of her water, and then listened closely.
“Shhh,” Tracey said, and then indicated the side of the barn. Darlene and Rene nodded as they approached the metal cupboard from two sides, while Rose and Daisy picked up two lengths of rope.
JD waited with Tracey as the two women converged on the cabinet, and then threw the doors open, pulling the young masked girl out as she was jumped by Rose and Daisy.
“All right,” Tracey said as her two associates bound the girl’s wrists and ankles, “what are you doing spying on us?”
“Me,” Doc said as she looked up, “Oh, I’m the distraction.”
“Hello ladies,” Diana said as she walked in, “I see you found the decoy. While you were all looking at her, you were sprayed with bullets. The lesson is – if you’re dealing with someone, always make sure someone watches your back. Not a fail issue, but a lesson.
“Now, finish up and ship out – I want you back on the rifle range, and I want an improvement on yesterday.”
“All right girls, line up,” Diana said as they placed their weapons on the table, “yesterday we asked you where your weaknesses were. Do you still believe they are weaknesses?”
“What are they?”
“AREAS TO WORK ON M’AM!”
“Good,” Diana said as Penny and Janice came in. “Stand easy, take some water, and listen up.
“All three of us have discussed your progress over this weekend, and have determined that so far, you have shown enough promise to be able to move on. Congratulations – none of you die today.”
As they breathed a sigh of relief, Diana smiled and said “Oh just one last thing ladies, pair up please.” Diana smiled.
They looked at each other, as Rose and Daisy stood together, JD with Darlene, and Tracey with Rene.
“Here - each pair takes one of these files.” Penny said as she handed out folders.
“These are your graduation examinations ladies. Each contains details of a house that you will rob tonight. We will deliver you back to New York blindfolded – transport is waiting, and you will be left together. You will have until dawn – which tomorrow is at about 6.20 am - to acquire weapons, transport, and to rob those houses. You will have no id’s, no credit cards, nothing except your skills and wits.”
The six looked at each other, all thinking the same thing.
“Oh and one other thing, every occupant of the target house and any potential witnesses die. “ Janice smiled wickedly. “You proved earlier you could execute someone, Maddie now wants to know if you can do it in the field, unquestioning of the order to kill.”
“Do you understand her reasoning?” asked Diana.
“Yes Ma’am” the reply came back.
“Good – change into the clothes you arrived in yesterday. We leave in thirty minutes – you have until them to memorise the details of your targets. These do not go with you.”
“Good – get ready.”
“They’re ready,” Diana said to the blonde woman, looking at the six blindfolded women as they were led back onto the transport. “You have your instructions?”
She nodded as they were strapped in, and then the doors closed, getting behind the wheel and heading off from the yard.
happens now?" Penny said as she pulled her mask off.
three go home and spend a well deserved night in our own beds, whilst
Dominique, Lily and the girls watch and see what trouble our trainees for the
weekend can find to get into." Diana smiled.
driving back with me?" Janice offered.
"Please...Helen is driving her and Anna back in my car in the morning." Diana replied.
“Have fun,” Doc said, “We’ve got a couple of films lined up once we finish.”
“Got it figured out?”
“Almost – a couple more for luck,” Helen said.
“Come on – let’s head for home,” Penny said, “I need to check in before retiring tonight.”
“And I need to finish packing – I’m heading up to Manchester with Sandy.”
“We’re here, remove your blindfolds.”
Tracey and the other girls removed their blindfolds, looking on the darkening streets before their driver said “Out – your time starts now.”
“Thanks,” she said as they got out, the vehicle heading off as soon as the door was shut.
“Well,” JD said, “are we ready?”
“We need to get supplies before we get started,” Darlene said, “and figure out where the hell we are.”
“Okay before we split up, we need a pawnbroker’s to rob.” Tracey looked round for street signs, landmarks, any clue where they might be.
“I’ll go get us some wheels.” JD nodded at the parking structure on the opposite side of the street.
“I’ll help you.” Rose nodded.
“Do it – nothing flashy, we just need something to get from A to B.”
JD and Rose nodded as they headed across the road.
“Alright the rest of you scatter and meet back here in five minutes, I want to know what is in the neighbourhood that we might be able to use and what isn’t.”
“Gotcha.” Darlene spoke as she, Daisy and Rene headed out in different directions.
“Okay calm down Tracey,” she told herself, “For your part, see if you can figure out where we are.” She looked up at a sign that said Atlantic Avenue, and smiled. “Right – right, so we are in Brooklyn and not one of the better parts,” she spoke under her breath. “Good in some ways, bad in others.”
Looking round, she saw a bus shelter and went over to it, sitting down and waiting. Five minutes later, the other three girls approached.
“Okay, what we got?”
“There’s a pawnbroker two blocks that way,” Darlene said as she indicated over her shoulder.
“Another one a block that way,” Daisy said as she sat down.
“Okay – which is more likely to be of use to us?”
“Mine had no visible sign of guns.”
“Big sign over the door.”
“What about you Rene?”
“No pawn shop, but there is a convenience store three blocks in the direction I went.”
“Nah – we can’t hit two stores in the same area in succession. What about wheels?”
“Looks like we got some,” Tracey said as JD and Rose pulled up in two cars. “Get in – Daisy in one, Darlene in the other. Let’s all look at those stores.”
The other five nodded as Tracey looked at the door. “All right – JD, Rene, you take point, get control, then call us in. Any idea what you’re going to do?”
“Got an idea – Rene, follow my lead?”
“Pleasure,” the young girl said as they stepped out.
Walking into the pawnbroker’s, the two girls looked round the store. There were the usual collection of items people had left to raise money, but Rene noted the large collection of weapons in sealed cabinets behind the main counter, as well as under glass at the front.
She nodded to JD as the last customer left, and the man behind the counter looked at the two young women. He was small, a bit too fat, and badly dressed – which made him typical In Rene’s eyes.
“Hey,” he said from behind the counter, “Can I do something for you ladies?”
“Yeah,” JD said quietly, “can I get a better look at the rings in the window?”
“Yeah, sure,” he said slowly as he stood up, and walked slowly over.
“Oh I’m sorry,” JD said, “I didn’t know you were injured.”
“I’m not – rear end problems,” he said as he walked over, and opened the window. “Now, what were you looking at?”
“Do me a favour will you – do you see the two cars parked outside,” JD said as she stood behind him, and Rene walked to the door.
“Yeah – what about them?”
“I want you to motion to the girls inside to come in,” JD said as he felt a cold ring pressed into his back, “now, or I blow your spine out.”
She smiled as she saw the sweat appear on his neck, as he slowly waved to the cars, indicating they should come in.
“Move out,” Tracey said as the other four came in, Rene locking the door behind them.
“Thank you,” JD said as Rene pulled the man back, and he saw the barrel in her jacket pocket pointing at him, “now, keys to the gun cabinets, please.”
“What the fuck is…”
“Oh for fuck’s sake,” Darlene said as she picked up a baseball bat and brought it down hard on the back of the man’s knees, making him fall, “key, mother fucker – NOW!!!”
“Or you die, right here, right now,” JD said as she walked towards him. “So, going to do as we say, man?”
“All right – just don’t kill me,” he said as he unclipped a set of keys from his belt and handed them over.
“Good boy,” Rose said as she took the keys, Tracey heading with her to the counter.
“What are you going to do to me,” he said as he looked at JD.
“Want to see it, big boy?”
He stared at JD as she smiled, and said “Mister you just fell for the oldest trick in the book.”
He stared at her as JD pulled the piece of piping out of her pocket.
“Nice of you to co-operate though.” Rose smiled as she and Tracey raided the gun counter.
“Oh fuck,” he said as Daisy and Rene hauled him to his feet.
“Now we really will kill you.” Tracey smiled evilly as she loaded a round into her weapon.
“If you are going to do it, take him in back and use this cushion.” Darlene tossed Tracey the pillow from the seat behind the counter.
“No – please, for the love of…”
“Alright girls help yourself.” Rose invited the girls to take their pick of weapons as Tracey dragged the crying man through a door at the rear.
Each girl was loading a gun, as the muffled shot came from the back of the store, and Tracey emerged. “The first of the night,” she coolly stated as she picked herself a second weapon, and started loading it.
“No big weapons, but make sure to collect spare rounds,” Rose said, the girls nodding as they took all they could put into their jacket pockets, and put ammunition into a black holdall.
“Right – we have the weapons, now we need the supplies. Ropes, tapes, anything we can get.”
“Sounds like we need a mom and pop store,” Daisy said.
“Agreed – we’re in Brooklyn, let’s go for a drive,” Tracey said, “see what we can find.”
The girls nodded as they left the store, Rene turning the lights off before she came out and closed the door. The two cars drove off into the darkening streets, people walking to and fro…
“So what do you reckon?”
“Looks good,” Rose said as she sat behind the wheel. “If Tracey agrees, we go.”
She watched as the car behind flashed the headlights, and then all six women stepped out. Looking at each other, they walked into the store, Daisy turning and closing the door, then turning the lock and moving the sign to ‘closed’ as she blocked the view from the counter.
The woman behind the counter looked over. She was in her late forties, and wore a padded jerkin over a hooded top, a thick white scarf round her neck.
There was only one other customer in the store – A man in his twenties, wearing shorts and a t-shirt with flip flops. He was taking some milk from the icebox, and smiled as Daisy and Darlene as they walked towards him.
“Can I help you,” the woman said as Rene walked over, in a heavy Eastern European accent.
“Why yes you can,” Rene said with a smile, as she produced her gun and fired a shot into her head, “you can let us rob this store.”
The man watched as the clerk dropped to the floor, and then felt the searing pain as two bullets ripped through his spine and guts. As he dropped to the floor, Daisy and Darlene looked down, and saw the blood start to spill.
“Make sure you don’t stand in the blood – last thing we need is boot and shoe prints,” Tracey said, the two girls nodding as they walked round.
“All right – Rose, get the discs from the security cameras. JD, till and safe. Darlene, Daisy, Rene, you know what we need.”
The girls nodded as Tracey looked at the two bodies, the blood slowly spreading from their bodies. She was beginning to feel it now – there had been something of it in LA, but this was different, this was stronger, more vivid. She put her hand to her crotch and smiled.
Tracey turned to see Daisy and Rene filling three paper sacks.
“Rope, electrical and duct tape, dusters, bandages – everything you need for DIY home invaders kits.”
“Good work, both of you.”
ladies, these are for you." Darlene tossed unopened packets of pantyhose
to her fellow gang members
got the security discs." Rose smiled.
bad haul for a convenience store." JD spoke as she stepped over the dead
clerk and customer, and stuffed the takings into a fourth sack.
ladies, next stop Manhattan and our real work for the night.” Tracey led the
team out the door, JD and Rose looking at the cars.
"First we need to ditch these cars and get fresh." Rene looked round, "these are probably just a little too hot for now."
“There’s a parking lot three blocks that way. Darlene, Daisy, with me. JD, Rose, Rene – you got twenty minutes.”
Monday 27th July
The girls got out of the car as Rene, JD and Rose drove up, taking the sacks from the trunk of their car and placing one in the trunk of each of the new cars, Tracey placing the convenience store takings in the trunk of the car Rene was driving.
“Right – you all know what you’re doing?”
The other four nodded as she looked round.
“Dawn is at about six or so – I want us back in the hotel, in our rooms, by then. Use something from your targets to carry takings, and ditch the cars – use the metro or something else. All right?”
Looking round, Tracey continued “Girls I know you are all tired, you are all stressed, you all want to get this over and done with, but just remember what doesn’t kill us, just makes us stronger. NOBODY fails tonight, we all pass and graduate…GOT IT?”
Tracey smiled as each girl nodded her yes.
“So just remember, no mercy, no mistakes. You kill and you rob.”
“We are all murderers now, so let’s just do it as we were told to.” JD spoke.
“Now get going, and I want to see you all back at the hotel later.” Tracey high fived each girl’s gloved hand.
They nodded as she looked at them. “Good luck,“ she said as they got into separate cars and drove off.
In a car some distance away, Jo smiled and said “Dom, they’ve split up. Let the monitors know.”
“Got it Jo – any problems?”
“Not so far, by the look of things – I’m heading home. Got a drive tomorrow.”
At the listening post, Dominique sat back and sent a text with three words to three women.
“On their way.”
In the Lincoln, Tracey looked at the street signs, as Rene drove along.
“Okay, it’s a basement apartment on East 52nd.” Tracey recalled the briefing document. “There should be a safe and that’s what we want opened.”
“Gotcha.” Rene nodded as she drove over the Brooklyn Bridge, the blazing lights of the Manhattan skyline ahead of them. “Who can we expect inside?”
“Married couple, late forties, no kids. He works for one of the banks, she’s a hairdresser.”
“So no real problems with luck?”
“Nah – we get in, secure her, he opens the safe, pop pop, we leave.”
Rene nodded as she looked ahead.
“You know killing that pawnbroker, I finally got what this all about,” Tracey mused as she watched for signs, “it was such a rush, such a kick, all this power, all this evil flowing through my veins.”
“I saw you touch yourself…you nearly had one there on the spot didn’t you?”
“Oh Goddess yes.” Tracey grinned, “I guess I’m a total bitch now.”
“You and me both – just tell me where to turn.”
“Thanks for letting me drive,” Darlene said as JD worked on the packets of pantyhose, “helps me concentrate.”
“Not a problem,” her partner said as she opened a second packet.
“What are you doing anyway?”
“Show you in a minute… and that’s the masks prepped.” JD said as she knotted the second stocking mask.
“That’s a neat trick, folding one leg inside the other,” her partner smiled as she drove up Broadway.
“Well two layers of nylon mean you are doubly unrecognizable.”
“You know I read once that stocking masks are probably the most frightening of all masks, because they distort and dehumanize the face underneath.”
“Interesting idea.” JD thought a second. “I’m not sure I ever thought about it in those terms, but I get what you are saying.”
“So our target?”
“Second floor apartment on W95th. Occupant a twenty two year old executive secretary for a swanky brokerage in Wall Street – word is she has expensive gifts.”
“Nice easy pickings then – think she might like to have some fun before we off her?”
“Well, we could get creative with the rope work…”
“JD, you have a devious mind. I like it.”
“Fuck, I think we have an interested cop.” Rose swore as she drove up lower 11th Avenue.
“Yeah he’s definitely on to us, “ Daisy said as she checked in the mirror.
“Do these bastards have built in cameras in their squad cars?”
“Yeah, but I know how to destroy it.”
“Fuck, he’s flashing us over.”
“Just be calm, just pull over, and I’ll deal with him.” Daisy whispered as she checked her gun, and then hid it by her side.
Rose nodded as she pulled in by De Witt Clinton Park, turning the engine off as she saw the officer get out of his car ad walk towards her.
“Is there a problem officer?” Rose smiled sweetly as the cop approached her side of the car.
“You got a tail light out lady… gonna have ta write yer up.”
“We have?” Daisy said as she got out of the car, walked round and checked.
“Yeah,” the officer said as he looked at Rose, “I hate writing a ticket up on Sunday night, but the Sarge needs his quota.”
“Well if you have to do it, you have to do it.” Daisy said as she walked round to the driver’s side.
“License and registration miss…” the words died on his lips, as Daisy put a bullet in the back of his skull. He slumped to the ground as Rose looked round.
“Quick, go get rid of the fucking camera.” Rose swore, “Then let’s get out of here.”
“Two minutes,” Daisy said as she walked quickly to the cop car, and then fired one shot into the back seat, before disabling the camera and removing it.
“What the hell was that?”
“He had a perp handcuffed in the back – no witnesses, remember.”
“Right – come on, we need to get to W 60th and 3rd – there’s an elderly lady who has an appointment with her maker.”
Rene pulled up outside the brownstone as Tracey looked up and down the street.
“Nah – parked cars, nothing else. Mask up.”
The two women took the pantyhose and pulled them over their heads, tucking the opening into their jackets before they both got out of the car. Popping the trunk, Tracey collected their supplies bag as Rene moved down the stairs to the apartment door.
“What do you think,” Tracey said as Rene looked at the door.
“Got a piece of plastic?”
Tracey looked in the bag, and took out a Loyalty card for the convenience store.
“That should do,” Rene said as she worked on the wooden lintel, and then slipped the card into the gap she had made, listening carefully until she smiled as the door swung out.
The two women moved carefully inside, Rene closing the door as silently as possible while Tracey put the paper bag on the small table, and drew her pistol from her jacket pocket. She watched as Rene drew hers, and then headed along the corridor, turning a corner and then finding the bedroom.
Tracey opened the door, to see the couple lying on the bed, the covers kicked off. She had graying brown hair, a scarf folded and tied as a band over it, and a short white nightie, while he was wearing a short sleeved top and grey shorts.
They stood either side of the bed, looking at each other before the woman rolled onto her back, and opened her eyes. Rene’s gloved hand over her mouth stifled any sounds, as she stared at the gun, listening as Rene said “Nice and slowly, wake your husband up lady – we need to talk to him.”
She nodded as she pushed her husband’s side, her stare never leaving Rene as he mumbled “what is it Harriet?”
“Harriet?” He opened his eyes to see Tracey pointing a gun at his forehead, as she said “not a word, fucker – roll over, hands behind your head, and your fucking wife can do the same. Go and get the supplies.”
The couple rolled onto their stomachs and looked at each other as Rene left the room, Tracey saying “just shut the fuck up and you’ll be just fine…”
JD slowly opened the bathroom window wide, climbing in and taking the bag from Darlene before she joined her, and closed the window to. Opening the bathroom door, JD looked both ways before motioning to Darlene to follow her, as they made their way to the main living area.
“Nice,” Darlene whispered as she put the bag down, and took out some rope – then froze as both of them heard a door open, and footsteps approaching.
JD stood by the doorway as a dark haired woman walked in, wearing nothing but a pair of panties. She stopped as she saw Darlene standing there, and then felt JD’s gloved hand over her mouth, and a cold metal circle against her neck, as JD said “Very quietly, Cocksucker, lie down and do nothing. Got some cloth?”
Darlene nodded as she took a duster from the bag, and passed it to JD as the girl dropped to the floor. She whimpered as the armed and masked woman took her hand away, and then stuffed the duster in her mouth, before Darlene wound the duct tape tightly round her head.
“She’s not the lady of the house,” Darlene whispered as she stood up.
“No she’s not – find her while I keep this little dyke here,” JD said as she grabbed some rope, and crossed the near naked girl’s wrists behind her back.
Rose slowly opened the kitchen door and motioned for Daisy to follow her, the stockings covering their heads as they walked in. Placing the bag on the breakfast bar, they took rope, cloths and tape out, and then walked through the corridor, looking from left to right until they found the master bedroom.
The grey haired occupant was lying on her back, the covers pulled up over her as she mumbled something in her sleep. Rose picked up a pair of scissors and cut a length of rope, handing it to Daisy as they each took one of the old woman’s wrists and gently tied the rope round it. They then stretched her arms up, and secured them spread wide to the metal headboard, before they eased the covers down, revealing the rest of her black silk pajamas.
The cool air was enough to make her stir a little, and then open her eyes wide, looking up at the two masked girls standing either side of her.
“Who the fuck do youfnnkurrrr…?” Her shout was stifled by the duster Rose stuffed into her mouth, and then the layers of duct tape that Daisy tore off and pushed firmly over her mouth.
“We’re the girls who want you nice pretty things,” Rose whispered, “so listen well, you old slag, shut the fuck up and don’t scream again, or these will be your last seconds on this earth.”
“Miss Slocombe? Did you call out?”
Rose nodded to Daisy, who took up position behind the bedroom door, while she pressed her gun against the old woman’s head, grinning as she did so.
“By now they can only be running on pure adrenalin.” Dominique looked round at the tech who was keeping her company at the monitoring station.
“I can only imagine,” the girl smiled, “I’m just glad it’s not me out there, no real sleep for nearly 72 hours, physically drained, mentally stretched…”
“It will show us just what they are made of.” Dominique interrupted as the tech listened to the police band.
“The cops found their squad car.”
“They’ll probably think it had something to do with the guy in the back seat. Convenient for our girls that the cops will probably deduce it was a hit.”
“Some very agitated chatter.” The Tech held the earphones to her ear.
“Yeah, the cops take it rather personally when you kill one of their own. The ladies found that out last year – hold that thought.”
Dominique looked at her laptop, and then opened the video window to show Maddie.
“Good morning Dominique.” Maddie spoke on the secure link, “how are my girls doing?”
“Not bad at all, Daisy had to off a cop, but other than that it’s gone pretty much as we expected it to.”
“The body count so far?”
“Five, but it will get higher before the night is over.”
“Good, so I’ll be getting just what I hoped for out of this weekend?”
“Very much so, they will be a frightening tool in your hands Maddie.”
“That was what I was hoping for - an armed robbery gang that can rob and kill without conscience.”
“Well, we debrief tomorrow morning in the office, and then they can enjoy some down time.”
“I’ll call tomorrow then – forgive me, brunch is waiting.”
“Have fun,” Dominique said as the link went dead, and then the door to the room opened.
“Hello Madame we didn’t expect to see you tonight,” the tech smiled at her employer as Shirley walked in.
“I couldn’t sleep, so I drove over. How is it going Dominique?”
“As I was telling Maddie on the phone, other than Daisy having to kill a cop who pulled them over for a busted tail light, very much as we hoped.”
Shirley sat with Dominique, rubbing her eyes as she said “You know Penny wants me to let her put a squad together like this for back in the UK.”
“Well Madame they would be an extra weapon in your arsenal…”
“I’m still not sure about the extreme violence though.”
“We might not like it Madame, but we only need look at the successes of our friends to realize it is both highly effective, and very profitable. I would suggest, for the UK, they take a slightly different remit – only handle those jobs you feel it is absolutely justified for.”
“I know…” Shirley paused as she held a set of earphones to her ear…”who are the watchers?”
“Well, I need to check in anyway,” Dominique said as she pressed a series of keys. “Lily, how’s it going?”
“They went in twenty minutes ago,” Lily said as she sat in her car, watching the bedroom light in the basement apartment through the heavy curtains. “So far, so good – no problems.”
“Keep me posted – Marina?”
“I’m watching the apartment block – there’s movement, but no sound. I saw then walk round, so I presume they went in the back way, but no sign of them leaving yet.”
“Good – Annie?”
“They went in ten minutes ago, through the back door. So far, no sign of problems.”
“Good – remember girls, when they leave, I need verification. Let me know when it’s achieved.”
“There now, you little piggy, we have you all trussed up and ready for the roast, right?”
Harriet nodded, the sweat pouring from her and running down the outside of the silver band that was wound round her head, holding the duster that Rene had stuffed into her mouth in place. Her arms were folded behind her back, wrists tied to elbows and ropes tied so tightly round her chest her nipples were visible under the nightie. Her ankles were bound as tightly, as were her legs above and below her knees, before her legs had been bent double, and her ankles secured to her arms.
“Now, you little fucker,” Tracey said as she pulled her husband from the bed, “you’re going to come with me, while my friend looks after your charming cocksucking wife. One wrong move on your part, and she dies, got it?”
He nodded as Tracey grabbed his arm and dragged him to another room, which was fitted out as a library. “There is a safe in here,” Tracey said quietly, “open it.”
“I don’t have a OHFUCKINGHELLDOYOUHAVETODOTHAT!!!”
“Lie to me again,” Tracey growled as she squeezed the man’s sac, “and I will castrate you and let you bleed to death. Now, where… is… the… safe?”
“Bbbbbookcase – third shelf up, middle.”
“Open it – and no tricks.”
“Scared,” Rene said as she stroked her hand down Harriet’s back, smiling as she saw the reaction in her eyes, and saw her slowly nod.
“Don’t be,” she drawled as her hand slipped between the older woman’s legs, feeling the dampness and sensing her fear. “I’m going to take really, really good care of you.”
The older woman jumped as she felt her captor’s fingers slip into her panties, and then squirmed at the touch between her petals.
“OH yeah – you are enjoying this, aren’t you? Let me help you enjoy it more…”
Darlene smiled under her doubled stocking as she looked at the blonde, and then jammed the end of the gun barrel between her legs.
“Hmmm,” she said – before she opened her eyes and her mouth to scream.
“Do, and I shoot,” Darlene said, the girl suddenly closing her mouth and nodding as Darlene stroked the gun up her legs.
“Your – friend is with mine – you, very slowly, get on your knees and put your head down, and your arms by your side.”
“Allll rirghghthtttttt,” she said as she got onto her knees, Darlene shaking the rope out and doubling it over before she made a small loop, and prepared to bind her as they had practiced the previous day.
“Right – want to see your lover chick?”
“What have you done to her?”
“Wrong answer,” Darlene said as she pushed the cloth into her mouth, and then wound the tape tightly round her mouth, “I said, do you want to see your lover chick?”
“Ysss,” she moaned as the ropes rubbed on her bare chest.
“Good – let’s take a walk.”
As she was pushed into the front room, she saw her lover on the floor, trussed like a turkey, the rope between her legs rubbing as she squirmed round.
“Now,” JD said, “unless you wish her to be speaking from a new orifice, bitch, where are your valuables?”
The door opened as a red haired woman came in, a candlestick in her hand as she looked in.
“Miss Slocombe, are you…”
The woman on the bed screamed as Daisy shot the other woman through the head, Rose looking at her as she said “if you don’t shut the fuck up bitch, you’re next.”
“Fuck it,” Rose said as she shot her through the heart, “at least we get some peace to find what we came for. Let’s start looking.”
“Shirley,” Dominique whispered, “you know it’s probably time that you killed yourself, I know you’ve ordered sanctions, but I think it’s important for the future that you have done one yourself.”
“I know,” Shirley said as she rubbed her eyes, “it’s one of those things I never had to do, and for years it was a point of pride, but I suppose if I am to keep running this organization…”
“You need to move with the times?”
“I suppose so.” Shirley smiled. “And I hear the thrill is positively sexual.”
“You might say that.” Caroline smiled slyly.
“When would you advise Dominique?”
“Whenever you feel up to it Madame. I merely suggest for you, it should be important – something you feel only you could do.”
“Well, I think I do draw the line at being a dominatrix like Penelope.”
“Yes I can’t see John as the slave type.” Dominique giggled a little.
“No not his thing at all.”
“You know we are all so happy you and John found each other?”
“I know, so many of my friends have told me…”
“That you positively glow in his company?”
“Yes.” Shirley blushed.
“He’s brought you out of yourself again, and I bet you compare your current social calendar to an old one, the difference would be amazing.”
“I know,” Shirley said quietly, “he and I do seem to be so complimentary – but I still do not wish him to know of this side of my business.”
“Of course not,” Caroline said, “but you know what the next big question in New York society is after whether or not Klaus von Furstenheim and Juliette Huntingdown become man and wife is?”
“How long before there is a second Mrs. John Hammond.”
Shirley looked at Caroline, before she blushed.
“Oh no, don’t tell me…”
“No – no he hasn’t. We discussed our future in LA – we’ve decided we are happy as we are. He doesn’t want to marry again, and I’m happy as a single woman.”
“When we go back to the UK, I’m accompanying him to the grave of his first wife – and he will come to Robert’s.”
“Ah – then I am glad you are both content.”
She nodded to the tech as she said “Go on, Annie.”
“The two just came out of the apartment, and I checked – two dead, no-one else in, house emptied.”
“Thank you Annie – I’ll see you for breakfast.”
“One down,” Shirley said.
“Two to go.”
“There – there, it’s open.” George sobbed as the ropes pulled his arms tightly into his sides, and then felt it rubbing against his ankles as the masked woman bound his legs together.
“Well done, little prick,” Tracey said as she yanked his head back, and pushed the cloth into his mouth, before she wound the tape round his head to seal his mouth. He watched as Tracey emptied contents of the safe into a holdall she had found in the hallway, the whimpers from the bedroom the only other sound.
“Very very nice,” Tracey said as there was a muffled scream of pleasure from the bedroom. “Now, would you like to see your wife?”
He nodded as Tracey stood up and walked behind him.
“Close your eyes – you’ll see her in a few minutes.”
He nodded as she picked up a seat cushion, and held it between his head and the gun barrel…
Tracey walked in to see Harriet panting on the bed, Rene smiling as she wiped her hand.
She glanced to the chest of drawers, Tracey nodding as she searched out the rest of the valuables. “Is she content?”
“She is happier,” Rene said.
“Good – reward her.”
Rene nodded as she picked up a pillow, and placed it over her head, before she fired two bullets into it.
Removing the pillow, she looked at the two red holes, and her lifeless eyes, before she said “we done?”
“We’re done – let’s go.”
The two girls moved through the apartment, removing their stocking masks as they returned to their car. As they drove off, Lily quickly got out of her car, and slipped into the apartment, returning a few moments later.
“Dom? Job done – and done well,” she said into her cell phone before driving off.
“Well, what have we here,” Darlene said as JD dropped a large handbag on the couch, the contents jangling as she did so.
The two women were now facing each other on the floor, secured face to face with band after band of rope holding their upper bodies together. A rope was now also tied between both their legs, their moans increasing as Darlene pulled the ropes between both of them.
“HNNNNNNNNN” they both called out as they shook, their taped lips rubbing against each other as they orgasmed.
“Oh yes,” Darlene said as she looked at Rene, “Got everything?”
“I think so – what do you want to do now?”
“Oh, I don’t know – kill them?”
They both opened their eyes and shook their heads as JD primed her weapon.
“Allow me,” she said as she shot them both in the side of their heads. And then in their necks, before Darlene picked up the bag and looked at JD.
“Let’s go – and turn the lights off.”
As the apartment was plunged into darkness, the two girls walked out, and there was silence – until Marina looked over the two bodies, and then left silently.
“Final target confirmed,” Dominique said as she looked at Shirley. “Chatter?”
“We got reports of police called to two car fires. No other reports yet.”
“Right – when are they reporting for debriefing?”
“Inform Susan I will be there,” Shirley said as she stood up. “And you, Dom?”
Dominique looked at her watch. “3.30 am – I need to make a call, and then head home. I will be at the office for noon.”
Holiday Inn Express
Tracey looked at the other three as there were three taps on the door. Standing up, she walked over to look through the peephole, then let JD and Darlene in.
“Mission accomplished,” JD said as she dropped the bag on the bed.
“Excellent – now the bad news. There was a message from Susan when I came back – report to the office by noon. All clothing into this black bag, all weapons into the second one – someone is calling in an hour to collect.”
“I couldn’t sleep anyway,” Darlene said, “I’m too pumped.”
“I think we all are – so go to your rooms, shower, change and we meet for breakfast at seven thirty. I have your pass cards here – but you’ll need to go naked.”
“So what – we fucking DID IT!”
“Wait for the debrief, and keep the noise down. Get stripped – and then get cleaned up.”
Xavier International NY offices
The three women looked round as Pamela came in. Susan was wearing a short sleeved blouse and knee length skirt, Caroline in a silk sweater and pants, while Madame was wearing a grey blouse and skirt, split at the side.
“Your twelve o’clock is waiting in the conference room.”
“Right then,” Susan said, “I think we are in agreement?”
“We are indeed,” Shirley said as she stood up, “shall we?”
The other two nodded as they stood up, Pamela holding the door open as they walked down to the conference room. As she opened the door, the six women all stood, watching as Susan, Caroline and Shirley came in and sat at the other end.
All six had taken the chance to shower and change into some slightly smarter outfits, Tracey, Rene and Darlene wearing blouses and skirts, while the other three were wearing summer dresses.
“Sit,” Susan said as she looked at them, “well, this morning I have been reviewing the feedback from your instructors, along with my friends here.”
“Forgive me for asking,” Tracey said, “but why is Caroline Jameson here?”
“Well, that’s a fair question to be starting with,” Caroline said before she removed her blonde wig, Tracey staring at her before she said “Ah – forgive me, I did not know.”
“The fact you do now know,” Susan said, “I hope is an indicator of the fact that you have all passed – congratulations.”
The six women looked at each other, before they high fived each of the others in turn.
“The fact I am here as well,” Madame said, “should also indicate both the seriousness of that fact, as well as my own pleasure that you have done so well.”
“I was monitoring your progress last night,” Dominique said as she replaced her wig, “and was able to consult with your instructors as well as Madame as to the final decision. Your takings from the events have been assessed, and you will each receive an equal share of the takings in due course.”
looked at the other end of the table, and said “Well ladies I don't think I see
before me the same women who flew into New York on Friday."
Madame you don't" Tracey replied for the group.
you understand what has happened this past weekend and why?" Dominique
JD nodded, "Maddy wanted us turned into an utterly ruthless gang of armed
robbers, and you fulfilled her wishes."
hope we did more than that." Madame smiled, "but yes, this weekend
was specifically tweaked to Madeline's request. She sees Los Angeles as being a
mine of opportunity for this organization, but we needed you brought up to the
standards of a certain gang operating out of New York."
believe we've done so." Susan added.
before we proceed I want your thoughts on the whole experience?" Dominique
asked as Susan started to take notes.
right to admit I discovered just how much I enjoy being bad?" asked Tracey
as she looked around the group.
so?" Dominique asked.
murdered 4 people in the last day or so, and I honestly feel no regrets, no
pangs of conscience, in fact I close my eyes all I can feel is a warm glow of
about you?" Madame asked. "It was reported that you showed extreme
calm in killing that policeman and his prisoner, any feelings?"
two hours ago if you'd told me I'd be a cop killer, I'd have probably gone to
pieces, but everything this weekend taught me that this is a predators world,
if you want something bad enough...then take it, and don't give a damn about
eliminating anyone gets in your way, and that included that fucking cop."
your language please Daisy." Madame said as she raised an eyebrow.
"I'm sorry, I apologise Madame."
“Having said which – the motivation you shared is indeed an essential part of the way our friends from New York work. So in future restrict such language to the workplace.”
“Of course, Madame,” Daisy said as she looked at the others.
into crime because I wanted nice things and I didn't want to work too hard for
them." Rene spoke. "I think this weekend taught me that crime can pay
dividends if you are prepared to do what it takes."
“As you have discovered,” Dominique said. “The takings from the visit paid by you and Tracey alone are quite substantial.”
"I just want to ask,” Rose asked quietly, “was the penalty for failure really death?"
"It was," Dominique replied with a smile. "We couldn't let anyone go who wasn't 100% dedicated to both the gang and her own interest. In addition, the executions you performed yesterday mean you performed not only a great service for some of Madame’s contacts, but proved you were capable of killing."
needed to drain the last pieces of what society considers to be good and normal
from you." Madame smiled, "it’s why we stretched and strained
you till you broke, and then we rebuilt you."
"I could tell what was happening." Tracey nodded. "I didn't like it at the time, but I can see the benefits now."
“This does not mean you act in this manner the whole time,” Dominique said, “but that you are capable of doing it. Hiding in plain sight is the mantra of the ladies in New York, and must be yours as well.”
be very rich young women soon, IF - and it’s a big IF - you never forget the
lessons you learned this weekend." Susan looked each woman in the eye.
murder still trouble any of you?" Madame asked.
all Madame." JD answered for everyone.
"I think that's what we really wanted to know. Congratulations – we do not have a graduation ceremony, but something else instead. Last week, my friend Catherine Lu undertook a fitting for all six of you, ostensibly for future reference. With her help, we have something else arranged to celebrate this day."
“Come with me,” Susan said as she stood up, the six of them following her, Dominique and Madame as they went from the conference room to the lifts, down two floors and stopped outside a set of double doors.
"In there, ladies, are new wardrobes for you all, Maddie ordered about $100,000 worth of clothes for each of you to recognise your new status as elite bad girls." Madame smiled. "Everything from furs to lingerie."
"Wow!" JD's mouth dropped.
"Now before we let you go and try on new outfits I need to ask - any regrets?"
"None, Dominique." Darlene smiled as she looked at the others. "I didn't become a criminal to play it safe, we do a job now, I know I'm a stone cold murderess, and so are the girls backing me up."
ends justify the means." Rene smiled as well.
"I'm an evil and bad woman," Tracey laughed, "and I intend to one day live in the lap of luxury thanks to my life of crime."
hairdressers and makeup artists as well waiting to work on the final part of
your transformation." Susan spoke.
you all fly out of the country for two weeks well earned rest and
recreation." Dominique smiled. "A chance for you to adjust to being
your new selves, and for the heat after last night to maybe die down a
"When you return I understand from Madeline she will have some work ready for you to do, so take advantage of the downtime ladies, and look forward to what I think will be a bright future."
"Thank you Madame," they all smiled and nodded.
“Right,” Susan said as she opened the doors, “let’s get started…”
“So,” Shirley said as she looked at the champagne, “I think this is a landmark day for all of us.”
“Indeed,” Susan said as the girls came in, “and here they come now.”
Tracey came in first, smiling under her new hairdo, the red hair cut in a bob around her head. She was wearing a white silk blouse, the top buttons open, and a knee length tight red leather skirt, with four inch heeled white pumps.
Rene was next, her hair dyed blonde and cut in a feathered style that framed her face, wearing a silk kimono style dress in green with a brown fern pattern, and green heels, a pair of large sunglasses covering her eyes.
Darlene and JD walked in, standing side by side in their black leather leggings. JD’s dark brown hair was cut short, while Darlene now had black hair, both with white silk blouses with the front tied under their chests, and high heeled ankle boots.
Rose was wearing a striped blouse, with a Louis Vuitton scarf folded into a band and tied round her neck, under a pastel blue jacket and knee length skirt, the slit at the front and back showing her legs, and a pair of three inched heels. Finally, there was Daisy, her auburn hair falling down her back as she stood, her wrap round skirt parting to show her heels and a crop top enhancing her chest.
“Very nice indeed,” Dominique said as she looked at them, and then opened a bottle of champagne, filling the glasses as Susan handed them round.
"Your passports and your tickets are in your handbags girls." Susan smiled as she indicated the six Jameson bags waiting on a side table. “You fly first class to Sydney, and we hope you enjoy the trip.”
“Ladies,” Madame said as she raised a glass, “to the West Coast – and your future successes.”
They nodded and returned the toast, carefully sipping the champagne as their expensive designer luggage was brought in.
The Richmond summer house
“KATY!!!” Little Sandy ran out and embraced Katy as her mother and grandmother got out of the car.
“Come on – we’re going to be sharing a room,” she said as she took her friend inside, Sandy and Nessa watching as Janice and Katherine walked up.
“Thanks for inviting us,” Katherine said as they came in, “It’s good to get out of the city for a few days.”
“I know the feeling,” Sandy said as she hugged them both. “Come on – Heather’s preparing some iced tea out back.”
“Hi Mrs. Carter, Aunt Janice,” George said as they came in, “where’s Katy?”
“She went upstairs with Sandy,” his mother said, “why?”
“Oh, just curious,” he said as he walked into the front room, Jo leaning against the door of the kitchen as she watched him.
“Who knows,” Heather said from the sink, “come away in – drinks are nearly ready.”
“So how did it go,” Sandy whispered as Katherine and Nessa went into the back garden.
“Oh we think they’re ready – and I haven’t had the kill signal from Susan, so I presume they’re happy as well. Right now, I just want to relax for a few days – we’ve got that film crew visiting next week.”
“Oh yeah – the world infamous Brian Goldstein.”
“Indeed – are Juliette and the girls still coming out tomorrow?”
“For the day, yeah – and then they’re up in Beverley for the birthday week, but she’s chaperoning for Jeannie with Barbara before that.”
“Oh yes – the Stone shoot. That should be fun…”
“How are you anyway,” Janice said as she looked at Heather, “I heard you went home.”
“And got out as quickly as I could,” Heather said with a sigh, “but I’m good. No nightmares for the last three nights, which is a start.”
“Good – when do you see her again?”
“Tomorrow morning, then Friday.”
“Well, hang in there,” Jan said as she hugged the young woman.
“ICKY – Mom’s hugging Heather.”
“Enough – get out and get some fresh air,” Sandy said, “it’s a lovely day and too good to miss.”
“Come on Katy – we’ll kick George out of the tree house,” Sandy said, Katy waving as she ran out with her.
“Thanks,” Katherine said as she took the glass of iced tea from Heather. “So Paulie is coming over tomorrow as well?”
“Yup – we can finalise our travel plans and accommodation then.”
“The Savoy is looking forward to hosting you,” Sandy called through.
“The Savoy? Very chic.”
“Leave them to plan,” Sandy said as she took Janice’s arm, “let’s talk in the kitchen…
Tuesday 28th July
“And I’m back,” Jo said as she came into the kitchen, bending over before she started her warm down stretches.
“That was a long training run Jo.” Janice spoke as she passed the runner an energy drink from the fridge.
“Coach Waterman wants me to up my mileage so I can move up to running miles.” Jo spoke as she both sipped her drink, and wrote in her training diary.
“So what are you currently running in training?”
“Between 30 and 40 miles a week.” Jo smiled, “We are working on my endurance.”
“Well it seems to be paying off…what have you lost? About seven pounds?”
“About that…Annie always thought my body hadn’t quite finished developing, I guess she was right.”
“She has brains, beauty, and sporting ability, quite frankly I’m jealous.” Heather spoke as she came in from outside.
“Oh like you don’t?” Jan laughed.
“Brains maybe, but beauty is at best so-so, and sporting ability is ZERO!”
“Well Sandy thinks you are the most beautiful woman alive, big Sis, and hers is the only opinion that counts.”
“True,” Sandy said, “and I forgive the lack of sporting talent – although I have been tempted to pay for golf lessons for you.”
Janice looked at the three of them as they burst out laughing. “I don’t get it,” she said quietly.
“Sorry – I’ll explain it some day,” Sandy said as the younger kids came in. “Come on you three – breakfast, and then you’re coming down to the beach with me and Jo.”
“All right you two – not too long in the sun,” Heather said as Jo sat on the blanket, wearing a blue bikini top and denim cut off shorts and rubbed sun cream into her legs and arms.
She looked over at Katy and Sandy, who were lying on their towels. Although they were wearing swimsuits and shorts, she could see they were getting older, and wondered if Sandy and Heather had even noticed. Perhaps her own upcoming move had made her more aware of how much things were changing for everyone.
She smiled as she remembered two years ago, her first summer here and Abby complaining about her body. Last year the focus was on Cari, and then Judith arrived early. This year – this year she just wanted to relax every chance she could get, as she closed her eyes and relaxed.
As George and Heather walked down to the shore, with his sample jar, Katy pushed herself up onto her elbows, watching as they went onto the horizon, and then lay down again.
“Do you think George is handsome?” Katy asked Little Sandy as they lay together on the sand.
“Oooooh he’s George, he’s YUCKY!” Sandy wrinkled her nose.
“I don’t know, he can be cute at times.”
“Oh dear Goddess…he’s AWFUL!” Sandy couldn’t believe what she was hearing from her best friend’s ears.
“I used to think so,” Katy said “but he is sort of growing on me.”
“Like a wart!”
“He’s asked me to go with him to his school dance at the start of the semester…”
“Don’t tell me that you said yes?” Sandy rolled her eyes.
“Why not, he’s sort of fun, and he certainly is a good dancer.”
Sandy shook her head, lay back on the sand and closed her eyes, “what was happening in this world,” she thought to herself, “Katy liked George?”
“Hey – we can still be friends, can’t we?”
“Yeah – I need to be there in case he hurts you. Then I can look after you and kill him.”
Katy looked over and said “Thanks Sandy – you’re the best.”
“So how was the beach,” Janice said as Katy came in, drying her hair after her shower.
“Fun – even if Sandy was a bit funny. Mom?”
“Hmm,” Janice said as she looked in the wardrobe.
“Mom,” Katy said as she sat on the bed, “if George wanted to kiss me, should I let him?”
For a second, Janice stood and looked at her. She had been so busy in recent months that she hadn’t really started to see that Katy’s little breasts were starting to grow, that her daughter was experimenting with makeup, and just how tall she’d grown. In her mind Katy was still a little girl, but the question had shown that Katy maybe was just starting the magic transformation.
“Do you want him to?”
“I used to think it was yucky and stupid, but he looks at me sometimes and I wonder what it would be like.”
“Did he ask you to his school dance?”
“And did you say yes?”
Katy nodded and smiled.
“Well, if he asks to kiss you, you will know if you want him to or not.” Janice sat by Katy and looked at her. “You know you can talk to me about these things, right?”
“Yeah – thanks mom…”
In the main room, Katy was also the topic of conversation.
“So who won the pool on when Katy would eventually let George ask her out?” Juliette asked.
“My damn mother…who do you think?” Sandy looked skywards. “I think someone in this world, or the next, is giving her inside information.”
“Not at all darling,“ Nessa smiled, “I merely watch and observe, then do my calculations.”
“Well your calculations are hurting my bookmaking operation.” Sandy shook her head as she poured the drinks.
“What do your calculations say about Saintz and Sinnerz’s chances at Saratoga on Wednesday Nessa?” asked Paulie.
“That this might not be the time to back him to win. Grant rang and said he was off his feed a couple of days, and took his time to settle in. He thinks he gives Emperor of Soul a good race and loses, but that he will beat him the next time they run.”
“Or in other words, Grant’s advice is to back him to place or show.” Sandy smiled at her mother.
“Exactly my darling.”
“They are the two best two year olds seen so far in the east.” Gus snagged a sandwich. “I’m not really a huge racing man, but I look at the sports pages, and I read that piece suggesting it will go all the way to the Breeder’s Cup before they decide Horse of the Year.”
“Exciting,” Sandy said. “Right now, I wanted to discuss something else with you, while Heather and Carina have her out of the room.”
“Who… Oh – Jo?”
“And her upcoming eighteenth. So, what are we going to get her?”