After School Specials – Part 2
Mummy was a dancer on a television show, and was sometimes in the papers. Maybe that’s why what happened happened, but it was scary and exciting at the same time – if that is possible. I was eleven years old at the time, and it all started when Mummy and I went for a walk in Hyde Park.
Now I liked to dress like Mummy, and that day we were dressed in the same way. It was an autumn day, so we were dressed for the cold. Mummy had on a mustard coloured woollen jumper, with a long skirt made of brown tweed, and brown suede boots that had a square heel. Over all that she was wearing an olive coloured cape with a hood, fastened at her neck with a tie string.
As for me, I had on a chocolate brown jumper, and a skirt in the same style and colour as Mummy, with long black leather boots. My cape was the same colour as my skirt.
Anyway, we were walking along the path when two men walked up beside us. They were wearing long coats, fastened up against the wind, and dark glasses, and Mummy smiled at both of them as they came alongside us. She then looked again at the one next to her, and said to me that we were going to go into the tress for a few minutes – and I wasn’t to be afraid.
I was going to ask her what was going on – but the man next to me out his arm round me, and I was guided or forced, depending on how you look at it, to go into a group of trees with Mummy. That was when the man showed me the gun, and told me I had to be quiet.
Mummy put her hands on my shoulder, and told me I had to be very brave while the man who was with me lifted my cape up, and took my hands behind my back. I could feel some sort of rope on them as they were forced to stay together, and I saw that the other man was doing the same thing to Mummy, before he let her cape drop so that it looked as if her hands were behind her back.
He then took a wide roll of clear tape from his coat pocket, and tore a strip off before he pressed it down on Mummy’s mouth, smoothing it down so that when you looked at her, it was as if nothing was there. He then did the same to me, before the two men made us walk with them back onto the path.
I was too scared to do anything except go with them as we were walked towards a large black car, the men making me and Mummy sit in the back before one of them sat and looked at us, and the other got into the driver’s seat.
Mummy looked at me, and then pressed her lips onto my head, as we were driven off. I could not see where we were going – the windows were blacked out, and a screen went up between us and the driver – but Mummy was being brave, and if Mummy could be brave, so could I.
After a while, the car stopped, and the door was opened as the man told me and Mummy to get out. As we did, we saw we were in a garage, and we were forced to walk in to a large room with boarded up windows. Once we were in there, they removed our capes and peeled the clear tape away from our mouths, before they made us sit down on an old leather couch.
Mummy asked why they were doing this, but the two men just knelt in front of us, and used brown rope to tie our ankles tightly together. My boots made a funny squeaky noise as they were made to rub together, and when I looked at Mummy I saw the ropes sink into the soft material of her boots.
They then folded our skirts up and tied our legs together below our knees, then folded the skirts back. Mumm told me I was been very brave, and I blushed as they then took out two very long lengths of rope and walked behind us.
I saw one of them pass the rope round my body from behind, before they pulled tight and my arms were forced against my body. I watched as he wound it round me again and again, and then he tied it off behind me. I looked at Mummy, and saw the two bands of rope round her body as she wriggled round, her jumper stretched over it.
One of the men then went and got two glasses of milk with straws, so that Mummy sand me could have a drink. I was glad of that – it felt funny not been able to move my arms, but I was more thirsty than scared by this time.
The man said we were going to stay there for a while, but we needed to be quiet. As the other one turned the radio on, he took a roll of sticking plaster, tore a strip off and pressed it over my mouth. It felt different from the clear tape, but I really could not talk – and neither could Mumm when he did the same to her.
The men left us to listen on the radio, as I put my head on Mummy’s chest, and I felt her covered lips press down on my head as we listened to the music. I must have fallen asleep at some pint however – because I woke up to hear someone shouting, and then two policemen looking at me and Mummy.
When we got home, Mummy told me the men were trying to get money for our safe return, but someone had seen us been taken away, took a note of the car number plate, and called the police. I was very glad they did – but it was still an experience…
Mummy and me were doing the weekly shopping at Templetons on that Saturday morning when I was eleven. Mum had dark hair cut short, and wore large glasses, while I had lovely long light brown hair.
It was in October, so I was wearing a plush red V-necked sweater over a white blouse, a knee length blue tartan skirt made of wool, long black socks and flat black shoes. Mummy had on her each coloured jacket and long skirt, and under her jacket she had a V-necked tank top over a light brown blouse, with a little strip of material tied in a bow at her throat and under the collar. She was wearing dark tights I remember, with brown shoes that had a small heel.
We filled out trolley, me helping to put things in, paid for the groceries and then pushed the trolley out to the car park. It was as we got to our car that I felt someone put their hand on my shoulder, and a strange man say “don’t do anything, lady – just carry on walking to your car, both of you.”
Mummy turned to look at me, and I could see she was scared as I felt something pointy against my back. She nodded as we walked to the car, and she unlocked the doors before opening the boot as the grip stayed firmly on my shoulder.
“What do you want,” she said as she closed the boot.
“Get behind the wheel – I’m going to sit in the back with your little girl.”
Mummy nodded as she opened the door, and I got in – then got a look at the man. He had short greying hair, and was wearing a denim jacket and jeans – and he had a knife in his hand. Mummy got in the front, as he said “will there be anybody at your house?”
“No,” Mummy said, and she was right – Daddy was away for a week with his work.
“Good – drive home, nice and casually, and do nothing to raise the alarm.”
I saw Mummy nod as we drove off, and he looked at me. “You too kid – no screaming or anything, understand?”
I nodded as we drove out of the car park, Mummy looking in the rear view mirror as I tried not to cry. I was scared – really scared – but I knew I had to do as I was told. We lived in a new estate outside of town, in a detached house that had a covered area to the side where we parked the car – so when we got home, Mummy drove under it and turned the engine off.
“Good – very slowly, get out and open the door,” the man said as he looked at the kitchen door, “then wait.” I watched as Mummy did that, and then the man opened the door, getting out as he motioned to me to follow him. I did so, then stood as he watched Mummy take the bags into the kitchen, before we followed her in and he closed the door.
“Good,” he said as he looked round, “got any duct tape?”
“In the drawer,” Mummy said quietly.
“Give it to me.”
She opened the drawer and took out the roll of silver tape, then handed it to him, watching as he took my hands behind my back and taped my wrists together. He then took the tape round my arms and tummy, before he said “sit down kid – your Mummy is going to put the food away, and then she’s going to cook something for me to eat.”
“Do as he says, dear,” Mummy said to me, as I sat down and watched as she put the groceries away. As she did this, he knelt down and taped my ankles together, then taped my lap to the seat of the chair. The last thing he did was put some tape over my mouth, before he sat down and watched both of us.
Mummy cooked him some bacon and eggs, and made him a hot drink, then he made her sit in another chair and taped her wrists and ankles together as well. As he ate, Mummy asked him who he was, and why he was doing this.
He told us he had escaped from the prison that was nearby, and we were just unlucky – he needed a change of clothing, food and money, but if we did as we were told he would not hurt us. Mummy looked at me and nodded, then asked if he would take the tape off my mouth.
He shook his head – and instead tore a strip of tape from the roll and pressed it over Mummy’s mouth! She looked at me, and then shook her head as we both watched him finish the meal. He then washed the dishes, before he cut me free from the seat and told us both to stand up, then go into the front room.
Mummy was told to sit in one of the armchairs, and I watched as she jumped over and sat herself down. The man then picked me up in his arms and sat me down on Mummy’s lap, before he used the tape again to tape me to Mummy around our tummies, and our legs, then made Mummy shuffle back so that she was against the chair back, and I was against her.
He turned the television on – and then left us there, first pulling the telephone wire out of the wall. We watched him walking up the stairs, and then we heard water running. Mummy leaned over and pressed her taped mouth on my head, and we were left to watch the black and white film that was on.
It was as the film finished that the man came back in – wearing some of Daddy’s clothes. He took his knife and cut the tape off us, before he told us to walk upstairs with him. We still had the tape over our mouths, as Mummy went first, then me, then him.
When we got to the top of the stairs, we went into my room and he told me to change into a set of pyjamas. Mummy nodded, so I put on a pair of pink pyjamas, before he told me to put my hands behind my back again. This time, he used a pair of Mummy’s tights to tie my wrists together, and then passed the legs round my tummy, tying them together in front of me.
We walked then into Mummy’s bedroom, where he told her to get changed as well. I watched as she took off her clothes and put on a long white nightdress, before he tied her wrists behind her back with more tights, and then tied the legs round her tummy as well.
He then told us to lie down on Mummy and Daddy’s bed, on our tummies – and after we did so, I felt him tying my ankles together, as well as my legs. I looked back, and saw ne was using Mummy’s scarves to do that, a red and a green one. He took two more – a black and a white one – and tied Mummy’s ankles and legs as well, before we rolled onto our sides and looked at each other.
He said he was sorry, and just to lie still, before he left the room. I heard him run down the stairs, and then out of the house, as Mummy looked at me and started to rub the side of her cheek on the covers. I wondered at first what he was doing, and then I saw that the edge of the tape that was over her mouth was coming loose -and with each rub, it was coming away more and more, until she was able to take it completely off!
She said she was sorry this had happened, and then started to shout out for help. It took a little while before someone heard us and came to investigate, but I was so happy when they did so…
That long hot summer will never be forgotten – and neither will we forget the day we all ended up on the floor of our living room, unable to move or speak for an hour.
Dad and my Uncle Joe had gone fishing, leaving me at home with my sister Dot, Mum, Aunt Kay and her son Jack. We had planned to go to a party later, and before that day we’d all decided – well, we decided with Mum, Mum told Aunt Kay, and Kay made sure Jack toed the line – that we would wear the same sort of clothes.
And the design for the day was red check on white – so both Dot and I were wearing sleeveless dresses with white socks and red deck shoes. I was eleven at the time, and wore glasses, my strawberry blonde hair long – Dot had light blonde hair cut into a bob.
Mum was wearing the same style of dress as us, but with red heels – and when Aunt Kay came, we saw she had the same outfit on as well. As for Jack – he had on a shirt in the same pattern, but with grey shorts, white socks and off-white trainers.
So, as I said, the plan was we were all going to go to a party, but Mum chased Jack, Dot and me into the back garden, saying she needed to talk to Aunt Kay for a few minutes. We sat on the back porch, talking about what we were going to do when we got to the party, before Aunt Kay came to the door and said we had to come in.
Jack looked at her and asked if something was wrong – and she did seem a bit upset about something, but she smiled and said we just had to come in. As we did so, I saw she closed the back door and locked it – but that wasn’t the big shock. That was the man who was standing in the kitchen, wearing a blue boiler suit and black gloves. He also had a balaclava pulled down over his head, so that we could only see his eyes, and a gun in his hand. I thought at first it was a toy one, but Aunt Kay was scared.
I remember he asked if that was all of us, and she nodded as he told us to walk into the front room, with our hands on our heads. As we did so, we saw there was a second masked man in the room, and he was standing behind Mum, doing something as she stood with her hands behind her back.
He looked at all three of us, and told us we were to do what he and his friend told us to do – starting with sitting on the long couch, and keeping our hands on our heads. As walked over, Jack saw the first man pull Aunt Kay’s hands behind her back, and told him not to hurt his mummy.
He laughed as he pulled a long piece of cord from his pocket, and I realised they were tying Mum and Aunt Kay’s wrists together behind their backs. So I told Jack not to worry, and to be very brave like both of us, as we sat down and watched.
When the men had finished, they told Mum and Aunt Kay to sit on the floor back to back. They had pulled the curtains across the windows, so it was dark and warm inside as we watched them sit down, and then the men took more cords, and tied their ankles together. Dot nudged me and asked if I thought they were going to do the same to us – and I nodded, before saying it would be all right, and we would all be the same.
I saw they wrapped the cords round and between their legs, and then did the same with a longer piece round their legs. For a moment, I wondered where they got the cords – but then I saw a big black bag on the floor…
As the two men stood up, one of them looked at us and asked what they were going to do. The second man went to the bag, and took out more cords, before telling us all to lean forward and put our hands behind our backs. As we did so, he walked behind the couch, and started with me. I felt him put my hands together, and then the cord as he tied it tightly round and between my bare wrists. It hurt a little as he pulled it tight, but I wasn’t going to show him I was afraid, and I told Dot and Jack to let him do the same to them.
Mum told us we were very brave, Aunt Kay nodding in agreement as I heard Dot starting to cry while the man tied her wrists. Nudging her, I smiled and said we’d make a game of it, and not to be upset. Jack nodded in agreement as he tied his wrists, and then told us to sit still.
The second man then knelt in front of us, and started to tie our ankles and legs, while his friend took more cords from the bag and tied Mum to Aunt Kay at their elbows, and then at their upper arms. I tried to twist m crossed ankles and move then as the man moved to Dot, but it was no good – they were too tightly tied.
Once all three of us had our legs tied, one of the men went up the stairs, while the other one sat and watched us. I knew we might get bored, so I asked him if he would turn the television on – which he did, putting it on BBC 2 as we watched an old film. Mum and Aunt Kay moved their heads round, watching us and the television in turn.
When the man came back down, I saw he had three of Mum’s scarves, and a pair of my long white sports socks. He passed those to the second man, who stood behind Jack and told him to open his mouth. When he eventually did, he pulled one of the socks between his lips, and tied the ends together at the back of his head.
As he was doing this, the second man had rolled up Mum’s black scarf, and was pulling it between her lips as well, tying the ends together under her hair at the back of her neck. Dot said she didn’t want the sock in her mouth, but I told her not to worry, and Jack nodded as well as she had the second sock pulled between her teeth, and Aunt Kay a green headscarf tied round her head.
The man then rolled up a red scarf, and walked behind me before he told me to open my mouth. I could feel the silk on my tongue as he pulled it between my teeth, and tied it tightly round my head – and it may sound strange, but I was proud of the fact I had a scarf like Mum and Aunt Kay, and the others socks.
But we could only mumble as the men left us, taking the bag with them. I sat for a few minutes, and then Play Away came on, and I started to try and sing along. Dot and Jack looked at me, the sock getting damp and grey, before they joined in as well, and even Mum and Aunt Kay tried to sing.
The room was hot and stuffy, though, and Dot started to fall asleep with Jack as I felt the sweat on my body. I was never more glad than when our neighbour came in, having seen the open door, and raised the alarm….
Katy was coming home with me to the farm after school, so that she could see the new baby lambs that had arrived. So when the bell rang, we went and put our parkas on. I was wearing a blue denim dress with a light brown jumper underneath, red tights and red wellies which were tied at the front, and Katy a blue blouse, brown skirt and black wellies.
Mum was waiting in the old jeep as we ran out and jumped in the back – we live on one of the Hebrides Islands you see, and we need to drive a few miles each day to and from school. IT’s a place where you knew everyone – which made what happened all the more scary in a way.
It took us about twenty minutes to get home, and as Mum went into the farmhouse with our coats I took Katy to look at the new born lambs. We stood for a good twenty minutes in the barn, looking at them as they suckled on their mothers, Katy’s smile as big as the moon.
It was as we were about to go back in that I heard the noise in the back of the barn, and we went to see what it was, thinking it was Dad. It wasn’t – it was an older man, with a scruffy beard and old clothing, who looked at both of us as if we had seen something we should not have.
Katy turned and was going to scream, but he grabbed her and put his big hand over her mouth, telling me to be quiet as well or he would hurt both of us. Well, we were too scared to do anything other than nod, as he told us both to sit on an old bale of hay. As we did this, he picked up a ball of baling twine, and knelt in front of us, making Katy put her hands together as he wound the twine around and between them, and then around and between her ankles.
He did the same to me, and as we sat there, and tried to move our legs we heard our wellies squeaking. He had been there for some time – there was empty tins around – but he gathered what he had up into a bag. Before he left, however, he took two rags and stuffed them into our mouths, so that we could not call out for help.
He just left us there – we had no idea who he was, or why her had done this. Because the twine was between our wrists and ankles, we could not stand up or jump away, and the cloths meant we could not even call for help.
We just had to wait until Mum came to see what had happened to us – and even then it took a while for her to hear us trying to call for help. When she did find us, she cut us free and pulled the cloths from our mouth, hugged us and took us back into the farmhouse, giving us hot cocoa as she called for Mister McGregor to come round.
They never found who the man was, or where he went…
Mater and I had been to the theatre to see a matinee show of My Fair Lady – Rex Harrison and Julie Andrews were magnificent – and our driver had us back at our Belgravia home for six o’clock that evening. Mater was wearing a red velvet dress, with a gathered waist and brown fur cuffs on the sleeves, while I had one a red dress of the same material. While her dress covered her ankles, mine came to just below my knees, with elbow length sleeves and a white belt. We both her on red leather shoes with a small heel as well.
He let us out of the car and watched as we walked up to the front door before he drove off – but as soon as we walked in, we wished he had stayed, because the next thing that happened as Mater closed the door was a hand pressed firmly over my mouth, and a deep male voice telling Mater not to scream, but to do exactly what he said.
I saw how scared she was – and I was scared as well. The hand was large, and covered my mouth, but the skin was soft even if the man was strong. Mater looked behind me, then slowly nodded and asked what the man was going to do. He was quite brazen about it – he said he was going to take Mater’s jewellery, and he had to make sure that to only could we not stop him doing that, but that we could not raise the alarm as well. He then asked if we were both going to behave, and do as he said.
Mater nodded, and looking at me she told me we would do what he said, and not make him angry. I nodded to show my agreement as he said we should go into the front parlour, and that Mater should draw the curtains over the window. I was made to walk with him as she did so, and then turned on the light as he told her to sit at one end of our recliner, then told me to sit at the other end.
I sat down, my hands on my lap, my ankles together and to the side, just as Mater had taught me, as I got my first look at him. He was well dressed – smart suit, shirt, tie, but also with a stocking pulled down over his head. There was a small leather valise in his hand, and as he placed it on the coffee table and opened it I was lengths of rope inside.
Taking one, he told us both to sit with our hands together in prayer, and as we complied he tied the rope around Mater’s wrists, forcing them to stay together, and then he tied a second length around my wrists. I confess, it felt funny on my skin, but it did not hurt too much, and when he was done I could not move my wrists apart.
He then knelt down with another length of rope, and tied my ankles tightly together, taking the rope around and between my legs to make sure they were secured as well, but he did not do the same to Mater. What he did do was tell her to stand up, and tied some rope round her waist which meant she could not move her wrists away from her body at all.
Another, longer length of rope appeared, and he tied that round my upper arms, so that they were held firmly to my sides, before he said he was going to make sure I kept quiet now. Mater asked how, as he took out of his bag a length of white cloth, and told me to open my mouth. II did so, and he pulled the cloth between my lips, wrapping it round my head a couple of times so that when I bit down I could taste the cotton, before he tied the ends together at the base of my neck. Putting a cushion on the arm of the recliner, he then helped me to lie down on my side, making sure my skirt kept me covered, and told me to stay still as he took/Mater out of the room- presumably to take her jewels.
I lay there, too scared to move and unable to talk, until after a little while he brought Mater back. She had one of hr headscarves tied round her head and between her lips, as he made her sit in the armchair and knelt down, tying her ankles together and then to the front leg of the chair. Picking up his bag, he waved at both of us and left us to try and call for help.
I tried to reach the cloth in my mouth, but the way he had tied my arms, I could not reach my hands up – and Mater certainly could not. It was another hour before Pater came home and found us, then released us and gave us both big reassuring hugs…
Swish. Swish – it’s a funny word isn’t it? Sounds like a soft, nice sound – but what was making the noise that afternoon was not that nice, not really. As I looked at Mum and Katy, we were all thinking the same thing, but couldn’t put words to it. Even if we could, given the mustard coloured cloth pulled up over our mouths, and what lay under that cloth, we couldn’t say it. Not really.
I was eleven when this happened, and Katy eight. I had long light brown hair, and Katy wavy blonde hair the same shade as Mum. Bear in mind this was the seventies when I say we liked to dress like Mum - and this day, that meant we all had on the same outfit. And that was a mustard coloured turtleneck sweater, and an olive green top over that which had short cuffed sleeves and a waist belt and matching bellbottom pants. Both made from corduroy, thank you very much. Katy and I were wearing black Mary Jane shoes and white socks, and Mummy black boots.
So, we were identically dressed, and we were playing a game of Monopoly when there was a knock on the door. I had just landed on Mayfair, and wanted to buy it, but she asked me to wait for a minute while she went to see who was there.
She went to the door, I took a drink of my juice – and then she was pushed back into the room by a big man, who wore a scarf round the lower part of his face. He had a brown leather jacket and jeans on, and as Mummy almost fell on the floor I saw a gun in his hand.
A second man came in, wearing dark glasses and a black leather jacket, and looked at us as he told us to be quiet, and not to try and shout or move. Well, Katy and I were too scared to do anything, as the second man put a bag on the seat, opened it, and took out rope.
Lots and lots of rope. Mummy was telling them not to do this, but she was told to shut up, before we were all told to kneel in front of our long couch. She looked at us, told us to do as they said, and joined us as we knelt down.
The first man stood to the side, watching us with the gun in his hand as we heard the second man kneel behind us, and then he took my hands behind my back. I wondered what he was gong it do, and then I felt the rope on my wrists as he started to tie then together. He was strong, and I was scared, so I tried not to say anything as he wrapped the rope around and between my arms, pulling it tighter with each pass.
I could see Katy looking at me, so I told her not to worry, it didn’t really hurt, it just felt funny. She nodded as the man moved over and took her hands behind her back as well, Mummy and me watching as the man crossed and tied her wrists together. As he went to bind Mummy’s wrists, she asked again what they wanted, and the man watching us just said she would find out later.
The second man then took a really long length of rope from the bag, and passed it round my arms and body, pulling it tight so that my arms were forced into my side. He wound it several times round me, in two bands, so that my top was stretched and my arms held to my sides, and then he made it even tighter by passing it under one arm, up and around the back of my neck, then under the other arm before tying it off at my back.
Mummy was pleading with them not to do this, but it wasn’t that bad – like a tight hug, as I told Katy as the man did it to her. I noticed something else – as I wriggled round, I made that funny swish sound I mentioned, but I was still afraid…
The man did the same to Mummy, before he helped her to stand up. I saw on her how the ropes sat above and below her chest, and wondered how it looked on me and Katy – but then I felt my ankles been crossed, and the second man binding them tightly together, his hands stroking my legs as he did so.
The first man told Mummy to come with him, and he’d bring her down later, as he took her arm and walked her out. Katy asked where Mummy was going, as the man tied her ankles together, but he said not to worry – we were very brave girls, and we would see her soon.
I watched as he stood up and picked up two cushions from the couch, before he placed them on the floor. He told us not to struggle then as he took from the bag a roll of brown sticking plaster, tore off two strips, and pressed them firmly over our mouths. I could feel it pulling on the skin round my lips, but the really scary thing was I found I couldn’t even talk now – and never could Katy. He then pulled the necks of our jumpers up to cover our mouths, before he helped us to each to lie on the floor with our heads on the cushions.
We looked at each other as he took four more lengths of rope from the bag, and used one each to tie our legs together below our knees, then pulled our ankles back and used the other ropes to tie them to the ropes round our arms and bodies. It felt really strange now, as he told us to lie still and not to struggle – because if we did, it would not be very nice.
So we just had to lie there, Katy occasionally trying to move her legs and wriggling round, before we heard footsteps and Mummy came back in – the neck of her jumper also lifted up and covering her mouth. She looked at us, but as she tried to talk I guessed she also had the sticking plaster over her mouth, as she was helped to lie faced own on the couch, and her legs tied in the same way as ours.
She rolled onto our side and watched us as the two men left, and we heard the front door close. It was two hours before Daddy came home and found us…
Ruth looks as if she is too scared to do anything – and I have to admit, I do know how she feels. It happened so quickly, we didn’t have time or a chance to stop it happening…
Looking down my legs, I can see the two bands of rope, holding my ankles together and my legs below my knees. The men had tied the rope really tightly, around and between them, one band sitting on top of my brown leather boots, the other on top but under the turned up cuffs of my jeans. Every time I try to move them, there’s a squeak, wither leather on leather or rope on leather.
As for my hands, they’re behind my back, my wrists tied together in the same way as my ankles, and there are bands of rope around my upper body, holding my arms against my sides and framing my breasts. I may be only twelve, but the way they’ve pulled back my denim waistcoat, and the ropes have stretched my checked blouse over them…
Maria and me had come home with Ruth to work on our science project - her dad was working at his store, but her mum knew we were coming back for a while. She hadn’t been able to warn us when we came in – all we knew was the deep voice, telling us all to lie face down on the floor and put our hands behind our backs.
I tried again to find the knot at my wrists with my fingers, but it was well out of my reach, so I looked over at Maria. We were sitting on opposite sides of the room, in front of armchairs, Maria looking back through her large glasses. She was tied in the same way as me, the ropes pressing on her bare arms and her red top, as well as round her white pants. The legs of her pants were tucked into her red leather boots, and they squeaked as well as she tried to move them.
As for Ruth – when they had tied our wrists and ankles, they had made me and Maria kneel, bound our arms, then made us sit on the floor in front of the seats before they bound our legs. Ruth’s mother was watching – she was wearing a yellow blouse and skirt, and black boots, but her wrists and arms were already tied when we came in. She was pleading with the men not to hurt us, that we would behave – but they were having none of it.
There were three of them, it turned out – all of them in dark clothes, with masks covering their faces, and leather gloves. When they were finished with both of us, they made Ruth stand up, bound her arms, and then made her lle on the couch before they finished securing her.
I looked over at her, as she stared back and tried to move. The ropes were visible on her black velvet waistcoat and pants, but they seemed to blend in with the sleeves of her silver blouse. She was wearing brown suede knee length boots, which they had tied the rope over at the ankles and the legs as they did with both of us.
One of the men made her mother call her dad, and then two of them had taken her upstairs while the third watched us. He did something else first – rolled up three black bandanas, tied knots in the them, and then pushed the knots into our mouths before tying the band round our heads, trapping our long hair against our heads as he did so.
Ruth was trying to talk, to say something, but it was coming out as a low mumbling, as the knot in her mouth got darker. It was soaking up her saliva – it certainly was for me, because my mouth felt very dry…
We could hear Ruth’s mother as well up the stairs – her voice was muffled as well, but she seemed to be crying. That was making Ruth cry as well, so I shuffled over so that I was sitting next to her, and tried to say “don’t cry – we’ll all be all right.”
What came out was “dntntcrereeelnllrht,” but she nodded to show she understood as she looked at me. Maria shuffled over as well, the masked man watching in case we tried to free each other. But we weren’t going to do that – not so long as they were there.
The telephone ringing took all three of us by surprise – but one of the men came down the stairs, picked it up, listened, and then pulled the wire from the wall. He called up the stairs, before all three walked out of the house, and we were left alone, the dim light coming through the drawn curtains.
Maria slumped down, starting to cry and I looked at Ruth, and tried to tell her to roll over. She took a while to understand, but then she rolled onto her other side, as I saw her crossed and bound wrists and her long fingers. Somehow, I managed to get into a kneeling position, and then put my cheek next to her hands, trying to get her to hook her fingers under the bandana.
Eventually, she managed to do that, and pull the gag out of my mouth. I felt the wet knot of cotton on my chest, and took a moment to get my own breath back, before I started to try and work the knot loose on her wrists with my teeth.
Before I got very far, however, we all heard the screech of tyres outside, and then two policemen ran in. they looked at us, and one of them ungagged both Ruth and Maria as the other one ran up the stairs. He returned a little while later with Ruth’s mother, as her dad came in and hugged her. Turned out another man had come to their store and ribbed them, and we were being held hostage to make him do that.
Still scares me when I think about it…