The Japanese Steal Ceremony
As she walked into the foyer of Fujiyama Security, her companion by her side, Hiro looked up and took in the site. She was dressed as she usually was, with a long yellow rain cape covering her body and a smog mask over her lower face to keep the fumes from the traffic outside.
“Good morning, Asuka,” he said as she stood there. “Punctual as always – but who is your friend? You know you are not allowed...”
The soft thup of the gun was all he heard before the dart hit him in the neck. He held his hand to where it had struck, looking at the young woman as she stared mutely back, before he slumped forward onto the reception desk. The man motioned to the door, as two dark clad masked men came in and ragged the unconscious guard into a back room, before a third man came in and took the place of the guard. Nodding to the couple, he watched as they walked to the lift and went in, the doors closing behind them.
The lift doors opened on the twelfth floor, as Asuka was escorted to the control room where she normally worked. The man opened the door for her as she walked in, closing the door behind them before removing his own coat. Reaching behind her ear, he removed the mask and said “Your daughter will be proud of you.” Akira merely nodded – the flesh coloured plaster that was revealed to have been covering her mouth underneath the mask preventing any audible response.
Two Hours Earlier
“You need to finish your breakfast, Hina, or you will not ctach the school transport.”
Hina looked up at her mother as she supped her drink. “Please, mother, stop panicking – I will be ready in five minutes.”
Asuka looked at her daughter as she sat there, dressed in the uniform all girl sat her school had to wear. A white long sleeved blouse with a blue sailor scarf fixed around the neck, a straight blue skirt that came to just above her knees, white socks and flat black shoes. Although Hina was nearly eighteen, she still looked to her mother as if she was a six year old starting on her first day.
As for herself, she turned and looked in the mirror to ensure she had buttoned up her own uniform blouse. This was also made from white cotton, with three buttons on each cuff, and at this point she had the red scarf she was required to wear draped around her neck. Her brown hair was done up in a strict bun on her head, and as Akira sat back down she brushed a few crumbs off the red skirt that she was wearing.
Hina walked past and picked up a small satchel as Asuka was pulling a pair of red patent leather shoes over her stocking clad feet. “I will see you tonight, mother,” she called out as she headed for the front door of the apartment. “Very well,” Asuka called back as she stood up and looked back at the mirror, taking the scarf and tying it in a bow at the front of her neck. She looked at herself in the mirror, as the front door shut, and adjusted the pear drop wire frame spectacles that she was wearing.
To her surprise, she heard the front door opening again, and called out “Did you forget something, Hina?” She heard her daughter say “Mother,” in a way that made her turn round slowly. Hina was standing there, with a man behind her holding a knife against her throat and two others coming in with him. All three were smartly dressed, and wore dark glasses on their faces as well as hats pulled over their heads. Asuka looked from them to Hina, and then asked “What is going on here?”
“Do exactly as we say, or believe me your daughter will not live to see another day at school. Do we have an understanding, Asuka?”
“How... How do you know my name?”
“We know all about you and Hina here – and we wish to conduct some business at your workplace, with your help. As I said, cooperate and we will all be fine, but do not do so and...”
“Mother?” Hina said as the knife blade was pressed against her throat. The rain was starting to fall, hitting the window of their apartment as Asuka slowly nodded and said “What do you want me to do?”
“First, I want you to call Hina’s school, and tell them that your daughter is sick and will not be in today. Then, I want you to make some coffee for me and my friends, while we make sure Hina is nice and comfortable. After that, we will explain what your part for today will be.” As he said this, one of the other two strangers picked up a chair from the dinner table, and set in the centre of the room. Asuka nodded and walked to the telephone, as Hina was made to sit down on the chair.
Asuka gasped as the tape was pulled away from her lips. She had been made to sit down in a chair in the control room she worked in, and her cape taken off to reveal her bound arms. As she gasped for air, the man who had accompanied her into the room looked at his watch and said “When will the other two arrive?”
Looking up at the clock on the wall, Asuka said “In the next half hour or so. I still don’t understand why you are doing this to me – what can you take from this office?”
“You would be surprised,” the man said as he took a phone from his pocket which had started ringing. “In the meantime,” he continued as he looked at the screen, “This should help you remember what is at stake here.” He showed the image on his phone to Asuka, who nodded slowly and bowed her head.
“Please, you’re hurting me, stop doing this.”
Hina gasped as the rope was pulled tightly against her chest, pulling her further back against the chair back as it was passed yet again under her breasts. The man had started by tying her right wrists to the wooden char back, before weaving the impossibly long coil of rope he had produced around her arms and chest, passing it through the lattice work and criss-crossing her body so that she was totally unable to move. As he took the last trailing end and secured her left wrist to the wood, Asuka carried in a tray with steaming cups and placed it on the table.
“Is it necessary for you to do this,” she asked as she looked at her daughter, her chest prominently displayed as the fabric of her blouse was stretched over it by the tight ropes.
“You are not in a position to judge us, Asuka,” the man who seemed to be their leader said as one of the others grabbed Hina’s ;left ankle and placed it against the front leg of the chair, a length of rope in his other hand. “Be assured that Hina is going to be perfectly safe, if a little sore. As for you, we need to start to make you ready as well.” As he said this, he reached into his overcoat and pulled a length of white rope from an inside pocket. Walking round behind her, he said “Please, place your wrists together behind your back. I assure you, the feeling is not – unpleasant.”
Reluctantly, Asuka did as she was asked, and as she watched her daughter’s legs been lashed to the char she felt the soft white rope encircling her own wrists, pulling them together as it was passed round and tightened. The man had been right about one thing – although it was tight, especially when he passed the rope between her wrists and the coils pressed even more down on her cuffs, it was not rough and she felt she could endure this. She felt the ends of the rope hit against her skirt as the man nodded to the other intruder, who produced a large coil of rope similar to that that encircled Hina and passed it over to him.
As she looked over her shoulder and watched him uncoil and double the rope, Asuka asked “What exactly do you want me to do – you won’t get into the offices on your own, the security guard at the front desk will stop you before you take two steps.”
“He will allow us to get in, because you are going to let him,” was his reply as he passed the rope over Asuka’s head and pulled it around her arms and torso below her breasts. She felt her arms being pulled into her side as the rope was passed around several times, both above and below her breasts. As the rope coils were applied, the material of her blouse tightened over them as it was stretched, making them appear larger than they really were. Asuka noticed this, as did Hina as she sat there, watching the men binding her mother’s upper body. Eventually, Asuka grunted as she felt the lengths of rope from her wrists been pulled up and around the coils against her back, forcing them to lie parallel with the coils.
“Well now,” the man said as he walked over to the table and picked up a coffee cup, taking a sip before he spoke again, “I trust you realise now that we do mean business. If you will allow us to drink your most generously supplied refreshments, we will then move on to the next stage.”
The door opened and Rina walked into the control room. A few years younger than Asuka, she was dressed in the works uniform, and her short brown hair lay loosely on her head. Her spectacles were also slightly different, been the more traditional round lenses.
“Good morning, Asuka,” she said as she hung her coat on the stand before looking round, “I see we have – oh dear...”
She now saw Asuka for the first time, sitting in the chair with her wrists and arms bound, as well as the man in the dark suit and glasses who was standing beside her, a pistol in his hand and pointed at Rina. “Good morning,” he said as he took a length of rope from his pocket, “please, turn round, put your hands behind your back and say nothing. We have Asuka’s delightful daughter as a hostage, and you would not want to see her hurt, would you?”
Rina looked at Asuka, who simply nodded as she kept her head down. Looking at the man again, Rina slowly turned round and did what she had been asked to do, as the intruder placed the pistol back in his pocket and grabbed her wrist in his gloved hand.
“Mmthr, hlop m”
“I advise you to keep quiet and calm, Hina, as it would not be pleasant if you were to try and struggle,” the man said as he stood back, the roll of flesh coloured plaster in his hand. Hina stared back at him, unable to answer because of the lengths that had just been pressed over her lips. Asuka stood in front of her, crying slightly as one of the other men fastened her yellow rain cape around her. This covered her bound arms and torso, so that she looked perfectly normal as she stood there.
“Please, Hina, stay calm,” she sobbed, “I will be fine, and I am sure you will be too.”
“Admirable sentiment,” the man said as he walked over to Asuka, tearing a strip off the roll as he did so. “Now, I am afraid we must silence you. Even though we are going to give you a lift, we do not want you to raise the alarm, now do we?”
Asuka glared back at him, but offered no resistance as he smoothed the wide strip over her own rouged lips. To her surprise, he then produced a smog mask from his pocket and fixed it over her lower face, passing the loops over her ears before placing a rain hat on her head. Donning a similar mask himself, he nodded to the other two before taking Asuka by the hand and leading her out of the apartment, Hina watching both as they left.
He took Asuka to a service elevator, which led to the basement car park. There a grey van was parked, which he opened the side door of and pushed Asuka in before entering himself. Inside were two more men, one dressed in the same uniform as the security guard at Fujiyama Security and the other dressed from head to toe in black with a mask over his head. Only his eyes, clear blue and cold, were showing.
“Let’s go,” the man said as he banged on the front panel, and Asuka sat still as the van drove off.
Rina grunted as the man pulled the ends of the knotted strip of cloth tightly together at the base of her head, pulling the knot tighter into her mouth and forcing the handkerchief he had pushed in further inside. Tying the ends tightly together, he pulled Rina back so that she lay on the floor, the ropes creaking around her legs as she twisted slightly.
It was at this moment that the door opened and Yui walked in. The same age is Rina, she differed in her dress and decorum only in the fact her dark hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and her glasses were square framed. “Good mmmm” was all she had a chance to say before the man grabbed her and forced her to lie face down on the floor.
“Just sit still,” the man whispered as Asuka watched him tie the wrists of her other workmate together, before making her sit up and starting to wrap more rope around her arms and chest. Yui looked round and saw Asuka sitting there, crying, before asking “Asuka, what the hell is this?”
“A robbery, Yui, and I’m sorry – they grabbed me at home and forced me to come here, and said they would kill Hina if I warned you he was here.” She still remembered the screen shot on the phone, of Hina with tear stains on her face as the man held a knife against her throat, her scarf undone and the top button of her blouse pulled open.
“Relax, young lady,” the man said as he pulled the rope around Yui’s arms above her chest, “We just need some information, which Asuka will help us to get as soon as I am satisfied you and your colleague will not interfere. Then I will leave you as I found you. Now, lie down on your side.”
Asuka watched as the man bound Yui's ankles together, as he had done hers once they had arrived. Producing another handkerchief and knotted length of cloth, he quickly gagged Yui before leaving her next to Rina, struggling on the floor as he went back over to Asuka.
“Now, Asuka,” he said as he swivelled her round in her chair, “I want you to guide me in accessing a particular file share in your archives, and obtaining the information that you have there. My colleagues will be listening,” he continued as he dialled a number on his phone and left it on the desk, “so if any alarms go off, or you do anything to alert someone, Hina will pay the price. Do you understand?”
“Yes,” Asuka said as she heard her colleagues moaning on the floor behind her. The man smiled as his gloved hands moved over the keyboard, accessing files as he quizzed Asuka on the access codes and security measures. As he carried on working, Asuka began to realise which file she was looking for.
“You – you want the Mushibuka records, don’t you?”
“Very good, Asuka – I do indeed wan the truth of what happened to that company. My employer lost a great deal of money, as well as respect, and is anxious to see it repaid in full. Now, if you will point me in the right direction, I will be even quicker in departing and leaving you alone.”
“I will help you, if only to get you out of here,” Asuka said as she sat forward. “You need to go here...”
In the apartment, Hina could hear everything that was going on at her mother’s office. A large yellow scarf covered the lower half of her face, hiding her mouth and nose, while a second white scarf with black polka dots was folded into a band and tied over here eyes. She sat there, struggling slightly but afraid to move too much in case the two men who were sitting silently with her did something.
What she did not know, what she could not see, was the door that was blowing slightly in the breeze that blew in from where the intruders had left a window open as they had escaped down the fire exit...
“Thank you, Asuka,” the man said as he removed the memory stick from the console. “I believe I have all I need now. I assure you that Hina will be quite safe, but now allow me to help you to join the others.”
Asuka said nothing as she was helped to her feet and moved across the room in short bunny hops, before been helped to kneel down on the other side of Rina. She could not even if she wanted to, as the taste of cotton in her mouth indicated the wadded up handkerchief, and the tension across her jaw the band of cloth that was tied into her mouth, the knot filling it so that she could barely close her lisp around it. She could see how the blouses of Rina and Yui were stretched over their chests as they struggled, Rina with her head back and Yui trying to comfort her.
“There now,” the man said as he helped Asuka to lie down, “I trust you will not be too uncomfortable. Good day to all three of you.” With that, he quickly left, Asuka watching as he closed and locked the door to the room before walking away.
Time passed, with only the muted grunting of all three women to indicate anything was wrong. Eventually, Asuka rolled over onto her back and managed to get herself into a seated position. Sweat stains had appeared under her arms, and the two buttons underneath her bow had come undone in her movement, but that was minor compared to how her colleagues looked.
The buttons of Yui’s blouse had come undone, save where the bow was tied around her neck, and her pink ;lacy bra was showing prominently. As for Rina, her struggling had made her skirt slip down slightly, revealing her black panties underneath her tights.
Shuffling over on her bottom, Asuka indicated with her head that Rina should try and move her head closer to her own bound wrists. Realising what was happening, Rina managed to slide over so that Asuka could try and slide a finger underneath the cloth that encircled her lower jaw. It took some time, but eventually Asuka was able to pull the knot out of Rina's mouth, allowing her to spit out the sodden cloth it had kept in place.
“Thank you, Asuka,” she said as she gasped for breath. “Stay there while I try and untie your wrists with my teeth. Yui – se if you can activate the hidden alarm.”
“th hdn lrm? Wr?”
“Under the console desk, the white panel – it’s a pressure switch. Be quick – I’m starting to get a cramp here.”
“Hina? Where are you?”
Hina raised ehr ehad and tried to call otu when she heard the male calling, and was relieved to see a uniformed officer as he removed her blindfold. She had fallen over onto ehr side, and her right arm ached, but otherwise she was unharmed as he righted her chair.
“Your mother is safe,” he said as he started to unravel the rope, “I’ll take you to her once we have you free – oh, sorry.”
Realising his mistake, he untied the yellow scarf and peeled the tape away from her lips. “Where did they go?” she asked as she was freed from the chair.
“The apartment is empty, save for you,” he said as he helped her to her feet. “Come – we have an ambulance waiting.”
“You have done well – we now know who to pursue for our missing funds. You may go.”
The men bowed and turned as Wei Xiu looked at the information on her screen. “I do not tolerate failure,” she said as she read the report, “especially from a Japanese antagonist. He will pay, he will pay...”
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