One Burglar Too Many
Two weeks ago
“It really is very nice of you to allow me to visit your home in this way, Ms DeLaCroix.”
Madeline made no response to the masked woman’s comment. She had been dragged out of her bed thirty minutes earlier at gunpoint, and forced to reveal the combination to her safe and watch her jewellery boxes as they were scattered on the floor, emptied of their contents.
Now she had suffered the ignominy of being bound with white rope. First, her wrists had been lashed together behind her back, and her ankles bound as well. She was still dressed in the black short slip and panties that she habitually wore these days, and the cold night air was starting raise goose pimples on her bare skin.
Had that been enough, then it would have been bad, but the black-clad intruder was still not finished. More rope was lashed around her chest and arms, then tightened by being passed around her neck. Finally, yet more was used to link her ankles, wrist and chest bindings as she knelt there.
“Well, nothing to say in reply?” The intruder looked at Madeline through her stocking mask, a smile playing on her lips.
“Get out of my house!”
“Just as soon as I have finished with you.” With that, she took a red scarf and pulled it tightly between the bound woman’s lips, tying it at the base of her neck and then covering her gagged mouth with black plastic tape. Pushing Madeline over onto her side, she watched as the woman struggled to get free.
Turning her attention back to the safe, she withdrew a document from the interior and started to flip through it. As she read, another smile started to pass over her masked face. Gently replacing the paper, she picked up her bag and made her way out of the mansion, the bound victim screaming as she left.
Natasha turned her head towards the camera and grunted from behind the layers of silver duct tape that covered her lower face. Clad in a black PVC cat suit, she twisted her wrists round against the white rope that held them crossed behind her back, as well as the rope around her arms and chest that had been tied in a way that emphasised her rather large breasts.
She was kneeling in front of a chair, her head lying sideways in the seat, and moving around in an attempt to free herself from the ropes that held her together. So violent did the movements become that eventually she fell off the chair, slid onto the floor and let out a groan of exasperation.
“Cut! That’s a print, everyone”
The crew stopped filming as the director stood up and ran over to where Natasha lay on the floor, her dark hair lying around her head.
“Darling, you were wonderful,” he cooed as he peeled the tape away from her face.
“Thanks, Jack – but please tell me I don’t have to do that take again. That tape pulls at my skin.”
“No, darling, you’re finished. Someone get this rope off her!”
The prop girls came running in and started to untie Natasha. Katie was dressed in a grey polo neck sweater and trousers, while her sister Annie was in a brown round neck sweater and jeans. They quickly removed and coiled the ropes while Natasha stood up and drank from a bottle of water.
“I’m telling you, Natasha darling, L'Hôtel Des Voleurs is going to be the comedy smash hit of the year. The tale of how the widow of a master criminal gets her revenge by beating her bosses at their own game, with comic mishaps – the audience will love it.”
Natasha took another drink. “So I was captured by two goons, tied up and left in the room, but I manage to free myself. What then?”
“Those are the scenes for tomorrow, sweetheart. Go and make sure you’re ready for that. Katie – make sure that you and Annie get that stuff put away properly.”
“Yes, Jack,” Annie called over her shoulder as the two girls carried the ropes out of the room they were shooting in, and down the corridor of the hotel they were using as the main setting for the film.
“He’s a jerk, isn’t her?” Katie said to her sister.
“Yeah, but he pays our wages.” Annie opened the door to the prop room and walked in, Katie right behind her. They were stopped in their tracks by a tall, dark haired woman who had been searching trough the costumes and props.
“Ah – I had hoped I would not be interrupted,” she said as she pointed a pistol at the two girls. “My bad, your worse. Please, put those ropes down and place your hands on your head – I’ll need them in a few minutes.”
“What did you say the first scene would be tomorrow?”
“It’s where you surprise the three female cops that are after your enemies, and leave them trussed up and out of the way – for their own safety, of course.”
Natasha shook her head with a mixture of surprise and shock. “Jack, where on earth do you find these actresses?”
“Young, new and desperate,” Jack said as he opened the door to a room. Inside were three young women, all intent on learning their lines.
“Girls, say hello to Natasha, the star of the film.”
“Hi, Natasha,” the three chorused back to the black-clad woman.
“Listen, Natasha is going to come round later and walk you through the scene for tomorrow, all right?”
The three actresses nodded and went back to learning their lines.
“Are you all right Annie?”
“M l rght – mmph! Tht hrt!!”
“Did you have to pull that quite so tightly?”
Katie stared defiantly up at their assailant as she knotted the rope that held the two girls together by the chest. Annie and Katie were sat back to back, their wrists held together behind their backs and their ankles and legs bound. Annie had several layers of red tape over her mouth, stopping any cries for help.
“Yes I did – I want to make sure the two of you cannot raise the alarm.” Their assailant was wearing a black PVC cat suit identical to the one Natasha was wearing, but had placed a black domino mask on her face. “Now, which room did you say the star of this film was in.”
“Room 51 – down the corridor on the left.”
“Thank you – now pucker your lips together.”
The assailant tore another strip of red tape off her roll and smoothed it over Katie’s lips. Repeating the process three times, she stood back and looked at the sisters as they struggled.
“Hang in there, kids,” she said as she slowly opened the door. Looking down the corridor, she saw Natasha entering a room, so as her door closed she slipped out and made her way down the corridor, stopping outside Natasha’s door and knocking softly.
“Come in,” Natasha called, and the black clad woman opened the door before slipping quietly in.
“What is it this….” Natasha said as she looked up from her script, before raising her hands and placing them on her head.
Dee, Ellie and Fi were sat in the room Natasha had visited earlier. Dee was wearing a white vest top, black leather skirt and white knee length boots, with her brown hair in a ponytail. Ellie had on a grey patterned top, white miniskirt and black boots, while Fi was wearing a teal coloured sleeveless top, snakeskin leather skirt and brown suede boots. All three were so intent on their lines they failed to notice the muffled shouting from the room next door.
“Well, you may be the star of the film, but I’m the star of the evening.”
Natasha stared angrily at the woman talking to her. In the cat suit and mask, she looked almost identical to the young actress, except she was free and Natasha had her hands handcuffed together behind her back, as well as tape all over her lower jaw and ankles.
“I suggest you just sit there – I’m going to visit one of your fans in another room, and then be on my way.”
“Gt m ut f hr”, the young actress screamed through her gag as the intruder let herself out of the room. She hadn’t taken more than three steps, however, when Fi stuck her head out of the door.
“There you are, Natasha – get in here so that we can walk through this scene!”
The black clad woman was dragged into the room where Dee and Ellie were sat on the couch.
“So, Natasha, how do you want to play this scene?”
Thinking for a moment, the intruder came up with a plan and said “Well, why don’t I stay in character?”
“As Miss Black Master Thief? That could be fun.”
“Well then,” Miss Black said as she placed the bag she was carrying on the floor, “Let’s get started. I want you three to kneel down, hands on your heads, and stay quiet.”
“Please, don’t hurt us,” Fi said with a smile as the three girls all knelt down and placed their hands behind their head.
“Now,” Miss Black said pointing at Dee,” we’ll deal with you first. Kneel down on that bed and put your hands behind your back.”
As Dee knelt at the end of the low bed, the woman in black handed Ellie a length of rope. “Tie your friend’s hands together behind her back – and make sure you do it properly.”
“Like this,” Ellie said as she doubled the rope, passed it around Dee’s wrists and tightened the rope, passing it round her wrists several times and then passing the loose ends between her arms.
“Hey, that’s not too shabby,” Dee said as she tested the ropes while Ellie was handed another length. “Make sure her ankles are tied together the same way,” Miss Black said as she watched.
“You won’t get away with this,” Ellie said as she tied her friend’s ankles together over the white leather. “Oh, I think I will – now kneel next to your friend. You, you do the same to her now, and then kneel next to her.”
Fifteen minutes later, Fi was looking over her shoulder as her ankles were lashed together by Miss Black. “You really know what you’re doing, Natasha – where did you learn to tie ropes like that.”
“I’ll tell you in a minute – there’s something I need to do first,” Miss Black said as she tied the ropes off, then walked over to the bag and drew out three balls with leather straps passed through the middle.
“What are those?” Ellie asked as she watched Miss Black walk over.
“Jack changed the script – this is going to be more realistic. Now,” she said as she walked behind Dee, “Open wide and don’t fight the ball.”
Dee allowed the white ball to be pushed through her teeth into her open mouth, and grunted as the straps were tightened around her neck. As Ellie allowed the gag to be strapped into place, Fi looked at Miss Black with a quizzical expression.
“Natasha, why are you doing this? You’re beginning to scare me.”
“That’s because I’m not Natasha,” Miss Black replied, and before Fi could say anything the ball was pushed into her mouth as well.
“Now,” Miss Black said as she produced some long lengths of rope from her bag, “Can you guess what I’m going to do next?”
“So how’s the film coming along, Jack?”
“Suzie, it’s going to be great. I’m so glad you could come down today.”
Suzanne DeLaCroix, or Suzie to her friends, was the produced for the film that was in production, and she had come down to see how the film was progressing.
“So Natasha is going to pop in later?”
“Yup – she should be here in about half an hour…..”
“There – three maids in a row.”
Fi was softly crying as her ankles were pulled back and secured to her wrists with a short length of rope. By her side Ellie was struggling to get free, with the result that her white skirt had ridden up slightly to reveal more skin. Dee was looking at their assailant as she collected their handbags and placed them into her own larger valise.
The door opened and Jack stuck his heads round.
“Wow – you really got into character for this didn’t you?”
“Jck – ts nt ntsha. Hlp pls!!”
“Very good, Dee, very good – keep it up. Natasha, don’t forget you’re meeting the producer in five minutes, all right?”
Miss Black nodded without saying a word, keeping her back to the director the whole time.
“Great – see you tomorrow, girls.”
As Jack closed the door, Miss Black picked up her own bag.
“Have a nice night, ladies,” she said as she turned off the light and closed the door behind her, leaving the trio in near darkness.
“Come in, Natasha!”
Suzie had her back to the door as Miss Black walked in, engrosse din studying a file that she had laid out on the room table. Closing the door softly behind her, the intruder waited and watched Suzie in her grey sleevless tie-dyed top and blue tracksuit bottoms. She had long frizzed brown hair that came down past her neck, and was a slim young woman.
“Natasha, I just wanted to say… You’re not Natasha.”
Suzie stared at Miss Black as she turned round. In reply, the black-clad robber locked the room door behind her, then advanced quickly and placed her gloved hand over Suzie’s mouth,
“No, I’m not – I paid your aunt a visit a week or so back, and now it’s your turn,” she said as Suzie slipped into unconsciousness. Catching the girl, Miss Black laid her on her back on the bed, before taking the roll of silver duct tape from her bag and starting to tear strips off.
As she gagged the prone woman, Miss Black thought over the events of two weeks previously. She had broken into the house of this girl’s aunt, and had bene about to leave when she saw the copy of the contract and the filming schedule for the hotel. Given so many people were going to be “tied up” for their art, she had reasoned that one more miscreant would not go unnoticed – but when she had slipped in behind the scenes earlier, and seen how much she resembled the star of the film, a more daring plan had come to mind.
Turning Suzie over, she took a length of rope and started to lash her wrists together behind her back. It wasn’t long before Suzie was bound hand and foot, and lying on her side on the bed. Miss Black collected a set of keys from Suzie’s handbag, and left the room with her victim quietly sleeping.
The story of the raid on the filming of L'Hôtel Des Voleurs was the front page of the less reliable papers for some days afterwards. The intruder had secured four members of the cast, two stagehands and the producer, stripping each of them of whatever money, valuables and cards they had on them. It had taken the three minor actresses’ hours to raise the alarm, and longer to convince the chambermaid that found them of the seriousness of the events that had transpired.
As Suzie DeLaCroix was relaxing in her home two weeks after the event, she thought that she had finally managed to put everything behind her. The film had eventually finished, and the press quotes were even now being used by their publicity department as taglines for the posters.
Taking a sip of her wine, she failed to hear the front door to her home opening and closing, or even the soft footsteps until the sweet smelling cloth was clamped over her nose and mouth, leaving her slowly succumbing to sleep as she caught a glimpse of a black clad form behind her……
“Good evening, Miss DeLaCroix – I hope you slept well.”
Suzie shook her head to clear the fuzzy feeling in her head, then realised that something was pulling at her mouth. Looking down, she saw that her wrists had been taped down to the arms of the chair she was sat in, and her ankles were taped to the chair legs. As the white tape could be clearly seen in the dimly lit room, she realised that it had also been used to gag her.
A hand pulled her head back, and she stared into the masked eyes of the woman who had attacked her at the hotel.
“We have some unfinished business – I am going to take your jewels, and then we are going to have some fun as I and your aunt did.”
Suzie screamed, but the sound was blocked by the thick and strong white tape over her mouth. She knew what was coming, and she did not like the idea at all.