After School Specials – Part 5
We had all been for a Sunday drive when we got home – Pops, Mom and me. I remember it was a hot day, and I was wearing a green sleeveless dress with a short skirt, and daisies printed on it, a blue headband, white socks and flat shoes. Mom was wearing a sleeveless top with a brown check and a roll neck, white slacks and white heels, while Pops had a blue shirt and dark trousers with black shoes.
We got home about five, and as Pops opened the garage door Mom and I went into the house – only to be grabbed from behind and a hand to be pressed firmly over our mouths. I still get that memory when I smell leather, and the look in Mom’s eyes when Pops came in and saw us.
He asked someone – whoever was holding me and Mom – what they wanted, and then he put his hands up and told us to do whatever they said. We both nodded as the hands were taken away, and the man behind us told us both to put our hands behind our backs.
Pops nodded as I did that, and I felt someone cross my wrists and then pull something round them to hold them together. It felt soft, but it was tight, and when he had finished I could not move my arms apart at all. I looked at Pops, who told me it was going to be all right as Mom made a little cry – I presume she was having her wrists tied together as well.
The man behind us then told Pops to go up the stairs and we were pushed after him. We walked up to my bedroom, where I was told to sit on the bed – and as I sat down, I saw the two men. They were wearing blue jackets and jeans, and one had a gun in his gloved hand, as the other opened a bag and took out what looked like thin skipping ropes.
He knelt down and told me to put my ankles together, and then used one of the ropes to tie them side by side. I watched with Mom and Pops as he did this, wrapping the rope round and between my ankles, and I was glad I had socks on to stop the rope hurting me. He then tied my legs together below my knees, before he stood up and looked in my wardrobe.
We all watched as he took out a green scarf I used to protect my hair sometimes, and rolled it into a band as he told me to open my mouth. Mom said no, but Pops just nodded so I did so, and he pulled the band between my lips, tying it round my head so that I couldn’t talk clearly.
He then told me to lie on my side, which I managed to do before he pulled my ankles back, and I felt more rope on my wrists. When he was done, I couldn’t straighten my legs out, as Pops told me I was a very brave girl and they left me alone – but not before the man turned on an old Transistor radio and I was able to listen to the music.
I could hear them in Mom and Pops’ room, and then the two men walked by with Pops, who told me it was going to be all right. I heard the front door open and close, and then there was only the music…
An hour later, our telephone rang, and then the man appeared in my room. He picked me up and carried me to Mom and Pops’ room, where Mom was also lying on her side on the bed, tied like me with a blue scarf between her lips. He put me on the ned next to her and then left, the front door opening and closing a few minutes later.
Mom looked at me and then wriggled over, kissing my forehead and rubbing her cheek against mine as we lay there for what seemed an eternity – and then a police officer came in and found us. The men had forced dad to open the store he owns and taken all the money, then left him there…
School was over for the day, and Lynda was coming home for a play date with me – which was going to be great fun, or so I thought when we got our bags and left the classroom. I was wearing a white top with a thin red belt round my waist, a red pleated miniskirt, white tights and knee length black leather boots that laced up the front.
Lynda was cute with her long red-brown hair, and had on a pink smock dress with cap sleeves and a white trim, white tights and white go-go boots. We put our coats on, and I smiled and waved as I saw Mom standing by the car. She had a camel coat on over a white blouse, brown leather gloves and long chestnut brown boots.
“Get in the car girls,” she said as she opened the door, and we jumped in the back, talking to each other as Mom sat behind the wheel and we set off. A perfectly normal, average day – until we stopped at the lights, the front passenger door opened and a man got in, looking at us as he said “stay cool girls – your Mom is going to invite me to your home, aren’t you Mom?”
I saw Mom look at him, and then look down, before she looked at us and said “it’s all right girls – he’ll come home with us and you can have that play date, all right?”
“Okay Mom,” I said as I looked at Lynda, and we drove off again, but he seemed funny – strange in a not so nice way…
When we got home, Mom parked the car and looked at us. “Let’s go inside girls,” she said as we got out, the man holding Mom’s arm as we walked to the door, and she got her keys out. I saw her hand was shaking, but she opened the door and we walked in, the man smiling as he said “I want you girls to go and close the drapes, and then put the television on. You’re going to eb watching it for a while.”
I looked ta Lynda, as Mom said “do as he says girls,” while she started to unbutton her coat. So we walked in, and as Lunda pulled the drapes over the front windows, I put the television on and we sat down.
Then Mom came in, her brown suede waistcoat and skirt now visible – but I could see that her hands were behind her back, and she was scared. Just why I saw in a minute as I saw the knife in the man’s hand, and Lynda whispered “oh god…”
“I’m going to make sure these kids stay in here, while you and I take a little walk round,” he said as he looked at us, and I saw he had lengths of rope in his hands. “Sit on the couch, kids, lean forward, and put your hands behind your back.”
“What are you going to do,” Lynda whispered, but I could see Mom nervously looking at us, so I said “don’t worry Lynda – we’ll pretend to be Daphne and Velma, held hostage.”
Lynda nodded as the man walked behind us, and he put my hands together before using some of the rope to tie my wrists to each other. It felt tight, and a bit funny, but I looked at Lynda and smiled as he did the same to her. “Now we’re just like my Mom,” I said, as we looked at her and she nodded.
He then knelt down in front of the couch, and used more of his rope to tie my ankles together. I saw it was grey, and it was certainly tight, as he took it round and between my ankles so they were locked together. As he moved over to Lynda, I tried to move my legs, but all that happened was a squeaking noise which made me and Lynda giggle.
“I’m glad you’re enjoying this,” Mom said with a smile as he stood up, and looked at us. The Flintstones was coming on the television, as he put his hand in his pocket, and took out a roll of brown sticking plaster. He tore off a strip and stuck it over my mouth, the material pulling on my skin – but it also meant I could not open my mouth or speak.
“Whthhpnsnsnnww,” I mumbled as he put a second strip of the sticking plaster over her mouth, and then took Mom by the arm as they walked out of the front room.
“Shhhtnnhwhwthlmee,” Lynda said as she looked at me, twisting her legs and making her own boots squeak as well. I shrugged my shoulders as we sat back and watched the cartoons.
A little while later, he brought Mom back, and she now had some sticking plaster over her mouth as well. She sat in the chair and watched as he tied her ankles together, and then left us in the house, unsure of what we could do until Pops came home…
We were a religious family, spending every Sunday morning in chapel and then Sunday lunch, followed by sitting reading and listening to music at home. One Sunday however…
I was fourteen at the time, and we had finished our lunch, and Papa was sitting in his chair, puffing on his pipe as he read the Sunday Times. He was wearing a grey shirt and dark pants, and was happy. Mama was in the kitchen, where I was helping her with the washing up. I remember she was wearing a black pinafore dress over a long sleeved white blouse, and black heels. I had on a grey pinafore dress that came to my knees, with a white polo neck sweater underneath, long black socks and flat black shoes.
My little sister Amy was in her room, playing with her dolls. She also had on a white jumper and grey pinafore dress, but while mine had a V-shape at the front, hers had a round collar. She also had on white socks and black Mary jane shoes, her blond hair in pigtails.
I heard the knock on the front door, and Papa say “who can that be” as he walked out of the front room, while I took a plate from Mama and put it in the cupboard. Then there was shouting, and Mama screaming – and I saw a man in a blue boiler suit, wearing something over his head that meant I could only see his eyes and mouth, as he came in with s type of gun in his hands, and shouted at us to keep quiet.
I heard Papa shouting at someone, and then a thump as Mama screamed again – and then I heard Amy scream as well before a second man appeared, holding her by the arm as he made her run into the kitchen.
He shouted at us to put our hands on our heads, and keep quiet, while the second man went out, returning to say he’d pulled he curtains over. We were then ordered to walk into the front room, as we saw Papa asleep on the hallway floor, and Mama started crying.
The room was dark, with the long curtains over the window, as we were pushed onto the couch. I put my arms round Amy, who had started crying, and told her not to worry, we’d be all right – and that was when I saw a third man, who had a ball of string in his hand.
We were told to sit still, as one of the other two men made Mama put her hands together as if she was praying, and then the man with the string used it to tie her wrists tightly together. I could see her biting her lower lips as Amy hid her face, and then her arms were pulled down, before he tied her legs together above her knees, which meant her wrists were held there as well, before he then tied her ankles together, and cut the string with a knife.
He then stood in front of me, as the third man went out int the hallway, and told me to put my hands together. I told Amy to do the same thing, with her watching as he tied my wrists together, then my legs with my hands on them, and then my ankles.
Amy was still crying, but I talked quietly to her – I had to, because Mama could not talk. The third man had found one of her headscarves, and it was now rolled into a band and pulled between her lips, keeping her quit as she watched us. I told her she was brave, and we would keep each other company.
That seemed to help her to calm down, as the man finished tying her up, and I was told to open my mouth. I had to brace myself as a wool scarf was pulled between my lips, the threads tickling my tongue as the band pulled my cheeks in.
Amy got off lightly – they found an old triangle she used as a headscarf, t be like Mama, rolled it into a thin band and used it as a gag on her. She looked at me, her lips closed over the white and red band, and nodded as the men started to search the main room.
My question was, where was Papa and what were they doing to him? We had no idea – all we knew was the two men were watching us, after they had gone through all the bookcases and cupboards, throwing everything on the floor.
Eventually, the third man appeared and told them to get out, all three running out as we twisted round on the couch. But the string was too tight, and the knots too small, for us to get free – we just had to wait until somebody found us.
Eventually, Papa came in, with a bruise over one eye, and looked at us before he went to the kitchen. As he came back with a pair of scissors, a policeman arrived, and we were freed…
It was a hot summer’s day, and Gran had come round to look after the three of us while Mum walked at Safeway. I was ten at the time, Ellie fifteen and Kerry five. Gran had curly brown hair then, and was wearing a red vest top, dark pants and a pair of tan training shoes.
Kerry and I both had on the same outfit – beige bib style crop tops, lighter beige shorts, and white socks. I remember I was wearing white shoes, and Kerry black Mary Janes. As for Ellie, she had on green bellbottom slacks, with white sandals that were open toed, and a green coloured top with a zig-zag pattern. A matching thin scarf was tied over her hair as an Alice band.
It was a typical day – warm, and as we sat at the lunch table Gran asked if we wanted to go to the park that afternoon. Kerry and I both nodded, but Ellie was going to see a boy – and Gran was not going to stop her from that.
She didn’t need to – someone else did…
And that someone came running into the kitchen from the yard – a young man, barely sixteen or seventeen, but he was scared – and he had a knife, which he pointed at all four of us and told us to be quiet, or he would use it!
Gran started to stand up, but he just walked over to Kerry and put his hand on her shoulder, very quietly telling her to sit down and be quiet. I could see she was scared now as she sat down, the man looking at all of us as if he was trying to figure out what to do.
Eventually, he looked at Gran, as Ellie held my hand, and asked her if there was any duct tape in the house. Gran nodded, as she slowly stood up, telling us all to be brave as she went to a cupboard, and took out a large roll of silver tape. I’d seen Dad and Mum use it sometimes to repair things, but I could not see why he wanted Gran to find it.
Until he told her to use it to tape our wrists together behind our backs. I was scared now, but Ellie squeezed my hand, and told me to make it an adventure as Gran walked behind the seat she was sitting in, took my older sister’s hands behind her back, and then there was a ripping sound as she wound the tape round her wrists to hold them together.
She then walked behind me, and told me to put my hands behind my back. Kerry watched as I did this, and I heard the ripping sound again – then something pulling on the skin on my wrists. I realised it was the silver tape, as Gran wound it round both of my wrists, holding them together as I watched Ellie squirm round.
Kerry was starting to cry now, but I told her it was all right, and showed her my wrists. I felt her touch the band of tape, and then she nodded and let Gran tape her wrists together behind her back as well.
We all wriggled round then as the man put the knife down, took the tape from Gran, and taped her wrists together behind her back as well, before he told us all to walk to the bedrooms. So Kerry and I pushed ourselves off the seats, while Ellie stood up, and we walked through the front room and up the stairs to Ellie’s room first.
The man told us to stand against the wall, and Ellie to sit on her bed, before he knelt down and taped her ankles together, as well as her legs below and above her knees. He then wound the tape round her arms and body, before he told her to lie on the bed. We watched her lie down so her head was on the pillow, before he tore three strips of tape off and pressed them over her mouth, her eyes wide open as he told her to stay there, and we were made to walk to the room I shared with Kerry.
When we went in, he told us to sit back to back on the floor, and then taped out bodies together at our waists before he knelt down and started to tape my ankles together. I could feel Kerry’s hand in mine, so I gave it a little squeeze as he taped my legs together, the tape pulling on the bare skin, and then did exactly the same to my little sister.
When he pressed the silver tape over my mouth, I looked at him, and he actually smiled before I heard Kerry grunt as her mouth was taped over as well. He then put on a transistor radio, and took Gran to Mum and Dad’s room – the only one we had not been in, apart from the toilet.
I could see the hallway through the door, and a little while later I saw him runn past and down the stairs. As we both heard the front door close, Kerry started to try and twist herself free, and I tried to free my legs – but the tape was too tight, and it pulled too much on my legs…
A little while later, we heard a thump, and then I saw Gran coming into the room. Her legs were taped like ours, and her arms like Ellie, with strips of tape over her mouth, but she pushed herself in on her bottom and said “Hrruhghrrlshlrht?”
We both nodded as she came and sat with us, until Mum came home…
I loved going to the market with Mom, and the day I’m thinking off started with us doing that. I was seven at the time, and it was spring, so I was wearing a white crochet crop top, red shorts and white sandals. I remember Mom had on a red-orange sleeveless one piece suit, with peacocks printed on it, and wide pant legs, and a pair of white sandals like mine.
What made it a different day at first was that Gran met us at the market. She was wearing a pale blue jacket, top and leisure pants, and white sandals. I guess we all like white sandals at that time.
Anyway – Gran got the trolley, and we made our way round, me holding Mom’s hand as we picked things up and made our way round. Once we had done our shopping, and it was bagged up, the nice man took the trolley out to the car and loaded it up as I got into the back with Gran, and Mom paid him a tip before she got in the front – and then the man got in the front passenger seat beside her.
He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and shorts, as well as dark glasses – but I gasped as I saw the gun in his hand, as he told Mom not to panic, and then turned and smiled as I grabbed Gran’s arm. He called me kid, and told me to keep quiet, he was going to come home with us for a little while.
Well, Gran hugged me, and told me it would be all right as Mom drove off, and we made our way home. When we got there, the man told her to open the garage, and drive right in – which she did, the man jumping out and ordering us to get out, with our hands on our heads, while he closed the door.
We were then marched at gunpoint into the house, our groceries still in the back, while the man closed the kitchen door, and then told to sit down on the long couch. As we did so, he reached into his pocket and took out a roll of white tape, then walked behind us and told us all to put our hands behind our back.
I could see Mom crying as he did something to her, so I told her we’d be all right, Mom nodding as I felt him put my wrists together, and then wind the tape tightly round them so that I could not move my wrists apart. He then did the same to Gran, before he walked round and taped our ankles together as well, Mom and Gran with their feet on the floor while my legs hung over the edge of the seat.
Mom then asked him why he was doing this, but all he did was look out of the window. He seemed to be looking to see if our neighbour, Mrs Johnson, was in, but I know she was a school teacher, and they were at a training thing that day…
An hour later, we heard a car pull up, and we heard Mrs Johnson, her daughter and some of her daughter’s friends talking as they went into the house. The man looked at us, and then covered our lips with the white tape, leaving us there as he went out of the back door…
“You girls go into the front room, I’ll bring some lemonade through.”
“All right Mom,” I called out as the four of us went into the front room. We had been out to Macdonald’s to celebrate my eleventh birthday – I was wearing an orange pinafore dress with a white and orange striped roll neck sweater, white tights and black knee length boots. Dora was wearing a tartan pinafore dress with a peach Pan collared top, grey patterned tights and white go-go boots, Sophie a white cardigan and jumper with brown trim, a brown skirt, white tights and black boots, and finally April in a dark grey dress and light grey jumper, like mine, no tights but black knee lengths boots as well.
We were going to play some records, and have a little party, but that was stopped when I heard mom say out loud “YOU” and then she came back in with a man in a loud shirt and shorts – a man I recognised.
“Hey kiddo – happy birthday” he said as he looked at me. “You’re going to play a game with your mom and friends.”
“What – what sort of game, Dad,” I said as the other three looked at me. I hadn’t seen my dad for five years – since he had been convicted of armed robbery.
“Nancy Drew,” he said as he threw a ball of twine at me, and placed a pair of kitchen scissors on the couch. “You’re all snoops that have been captured, so your friends are going to kneel in front of the couch, and you’re going to tie their wrists behind their backs.”
Dora, Sophie and April looked at me as I was looking at Mom. She was wearing a black jumper, a brown checked skirt, stockings and black kitten heels – but her hands were behind her back, and I realised she must have her wrists tied together as well.
“Girls, do as he says – I think I may end up the same as you,” I said quietly, the others nodding as they knelt down in front of the couch and out their hands behind their backs. I had learned how to tie sticks together at Guides, so I did the same thing to each of them – arranged their wrists so they crossed at ninety degrees, then tied them together with the twine, saying how sorry I was as I wound the twine so they were held together, and then cutting it and tying it to the binding.
Dora was starting to cry, but Sophie and April told her it would be all right as I took care of all three of them, and then my Dad told me to tie their ankles as well. I wish I had been able to tell him what to do, but I was too scared of what he might do to Mom and me – I had heard what he did to the family he and his friends robbed.
When I had tied all three of them, Dad took the ball of twine from me, and tied my wrists together behind my back, then made me sit down next to the other three as he helped them to sit on their bottoms. He then took a roll of white tape, tore off a strip, and stuck it firmly over all our mouths to keep us quiet.
Mom asked him how he knew we were here, and he said he had had a nice trip with the neighbours. I wondered what he had done with them, but he put the television on, and put on a new program – Sesame Street – before he took Mom by the arm and made her go up to the bedroom.
Dora, Sophie and April looked at me, but I just mumbled “hmmsshhshrree” as I wriggled round, trying to find the knot and failing as the cartoons started. A little while later, Dad came down and left the house, without even looking at us – and I wondered where Mom was…
That was answered a little while later, as we all heard a thump on the stairs, and then Mom jumped in. She had twine round her ankles, and white tape over her mouth, but she nodded as she jumped over to the coffee table, knelt down and picked up in her bound hands the scissors I had used to cut the twine.
She motioned with her head for me to turn round, the other three watching as she looked over her shoulder, and started to cut my wrists free. It took a little while, but she eventually managed to do so, watching as I rubbed my wrists and then cut hers free, before I cut my ankles and took the tape off my mouth.
I cut Mom’s ankles free, and she removed the tape from her mouth, hugging me and telling all of us we had been very brave. She asked me to cut the other three free, as she ran next door.
“Hmmghddd – msssJhhnsn”
I looked over as Mrs Johnson came in, looking at us and saying “oh my god” as she ran over and took the tapes off our mouths. She then released Mom, saying the man had been her husband, who had escaped from prison – and he had tied up her, her daughter and her daughter’s friends, before taking money and jewellery from her!
Mom asked if I was all right, and I nodded as Mrs Johnson freed us, and then Gran, and told us to come in – she was going to call the police, and we could tell the other part of the story to them…
The newspaper at the time called it the Sunday Social Raid – I just remember it as one of the most terrifying days of my life…
I had just started high school, along with three of my friends from our church. It was getting close to Halloween, and we had agreed to come to the minister’s house to plan the preparations for our annual party. So when I arrived at the front door, it was his daughter Linda who let me in. She had long dark hair, and was wearing a pale blue dress with a low neckline, and no sleeves, and long brown leather cowboy boots. I was wearing a brown velvet jacket and skirt, with a red jumper underneath, and long brown boots.
Linda smiled as she let me come in, and we made our way through to the dining room. As we passed the front room, I saw her mom and dad sitting reading a book each. It was a quiet, peaceful afternoon, nothing out of the ordinary. That didn’t last long…
We went to the dining room and sat down, starting to discuss things, but after about fifteen minutes there was a knock on the door. I assumed it was Helen or Natalie, as Linda went to the door again – and then I heard the scream. I stood up and walked to the door, but before I could a man appeared in the doorway, wearing a boiler suit and a black balaclava, so that I could only see his eyes and lips. He also had gloves on – and a shotgun that looked as if it had the barrel cut off, which he pointed at me as he told me to shut up and come with him.
I was frogmarched into the front room, to see Linda and her parents kneeling on the floor, their hands behind their heads. Four more men were there, one of them looking at me as he told the man behind me to “tie the little bitch up.” At that, he pulled my hands behind my back, and I could feel the rough rope on my wrists as they were lashed tightly together.
Two more of the men were doing the same to Linda and her parents, before the man how had spoken first said that “the kids go into the dining room – make sure they stay there while we talk turkey with the reverend and his wife.” Linda was forced to her feet as three of the men took us back into the dining room, and made us sit in the chairs again – but this time, they used long lengths of rope to tie us both to the chair backs.
I could feel my wrists pressed against my back, but it looked worse for Linda, as the ropes pressed into her bare arms and she kept asking about her parents. Their response to that was worse – one of them pulled a dirty rag from his pocket and pushed it into Linda’s mouth, and then used a thin strip of cloth to make sure it stayed there, pulling it between her lips and tying it round her head.
Not that I avoided that – soon I was gagged in the same way, the two of us looking at each other as they started to bind our ankles together.
Which was when there was a knock on the front door, a muffled yelp – and one of the men appeared with Helen. Our friend had short brown hair, and was wearing a peach coloured jumper, a knee length checked skirt, and burgundy red Frye boots.
She stared at us over the hand that covered her mouth, before she was told to “keep his big mouth shut” and was pulled over to one of the free chairs. Linda and I could only watch as her wrists were tied behind her back, and then ropes used to lash her to the chair back. As they stretched her top over her chest, I was aware that my own jacket had been pulled back, and also how Linda’s dress was stretched as well…
A few minutes later all three of us were tied to the chairs, our ankles tied together and then pulled under the chair, and our legs at our knees – and we all had a cloth in our mouths and a thin strip tied round our heads. We could only look at each other, as we heard Linda’s Mom and Dad talking, and then her mom crying before that was muffled as well.
There was one other thought in my mind – what if Natalie came in? Sadly, that happened – the knock on the door, the muffled cry, and then our friend was frogmarched in as well, her hands behind her back and the edges of the cloth sticking out from under the band between her teeth.
Natalie was wearing a long sleeved dr4ss in shades of grey, and long black leather boots – which squeaked as she was sat in a chair, one of the masked men binding her ankles and legs as the other tied her to the chair back in the same way as us. We could only look at each other as the ropes were tied off, and we heard Linda’s dad moaning.
The men stood and watched us – and then suddenly just left, as the four of us looked at each other, our wrists trapped behind our backs, the gag getting wetter and heavier in my mouth, and judging by the growing grey patches in the mouths of the other three, the same happening to them. All we could do was wonder how much longer…
Mummy was a television hostess – she did some of the game shows with the likes of Hughie Green and Michael Miles, and she was more than just the dumb blonde that Anne Aston used to play. She met Daddy when she was a model and working in the States, but he left soon after I was born, and now we lived together in Nottingham.
I thought she was a wonderful mother, and a wonderful dresser – and I liked to dress like her. The day we were robbed, we had been out at a family event – Mummy was wearing a cream flecked dress with an open collar, a floral scarf tied round her neck, light orange tights and orange over the knee leather boots with a strap at the top, as well as a big hat in the same colour. I had a pinafore dress made of the same material as Mummy, but with an orange pocket, over an orange wool sweater, orange tights and brown shoes with a silver buckle. I was ten at the time, my blonde hair held in two bunches with clips, Mummy’s long hair under her hat.
We travelled there and back in a big car, and when we got home Mummy asked if I wanted a drink. I nodded as we walked into our home, into the front room – and saw a strange man standing there, wearing a black jacket over a roll neck sweater, dark trousers, black shoes and leather gloves. I asked Mummy who he was – and then as he looked at us, he raised up a gun and told us both to be quiet.
That was when I realised we were been robbed – and I gripped Mummy’s arm, but he said he knew the gun was scary, so if we both promised to be quiet and not call for help, he would put it away. I looked at Mummy and nodded, as she said we’d both do that.
He put the gun away in his jacket pocket, and said it was unfortunate we had come back – now he needed to make sure we could not stop him. I wondered what he meant by that, as Mummy said we would not do that – but he said he had to be sure, and told Mummy we should go to her bedroom.
As he picked up a black bag, Mummy told me we were going to have a bit of an adventure, as we walked up the stairs to his bedroom. He looked round, and nodded as he told us to sit on Mummy’s bed, and put our hands on our laps, crossing our wrists as he did so.
I sat next to Mummy, as the man put the bag on the bed next to me, opened it and took out two lengths of thin rope. He gave me one to hold, and winked at me as he crossed Mummy’s wrists, and started to tie them together with the second length. It felt soft, but I could see what he was doing, and I was a little afraid of what he would do to me next.
Mummy could see that, but she said we would be all right, and it did not hurt. I could see he had tied it round and between her arms, and then he told me to cross my wrists as he took the rope from me.
Mummy was right – it was tight, but it did not hurt, as he wound it around and between my arms. When he had finished, I wriggled my fingers, and looked at Mummy as he took a longer length of rope, and knelt behind me on the bed. We both laughed as I felt him wrap the rope around me, pushing my arms into my sides as he did so, and then tying the rope off behind me so that I could see two bands.
He did the same to Mummy, as she smiled at me, and then removed her hat as he told us to lie on our backs, side by side, with our heads on the pillows. As I did that, Mummy kissed my forehead, and told me I was very brave as he started to tie Mummy’s ankles together.
He did the same thing as he did to our wrists – wrapped the rope around them, and then between her legs, before tying the ends off, and then he tied her legs together below her knees. When he had finished, she wriggled round, her legs sounding like mice as she did so, and then looked at me as I giggled.
He then tied my legs together in the same way, before he tied some rope between my wrists and legs, and did the same to Mummy. The man then took a roll of Elastoplast from the bag, and told me to smile for him. As I did so, he tore a strip off the wide roll, and pressed it down over my mouth – making it impossible for me to open my mouth, so I rubbed my head against Mummy as he did the same thing to her.
We then watched as he searched through the drawers in Mummy’s room, and put some of her nice rings, necklaces and other things into a bag, before he smiled at us and left the room. Mummy looked over and pressed her lips on my head, making me feel really safe as we waited for someone to find us – the cleaner was due later that afternoon…
It was about a week before school started again, when the men came to our house. As well as Mummy and Daddy, there was me – I was eleven at the time – and my nine year old brother and sister. Joey and Jenny were twins, and I remember the day this happened Joey was wearing a blue polo shirt and shorts, with long white socks and black sandshoes. Jenny had on a light blue sleeveless top and a white pleated skirt, with white tights and red sandals.
As for me, I was wearing an orange striped t-shirt, orange shorts with a webbing belt, long grey socks with stipes on the top, and black sandshoes. We had been sitting at the kitchen table, eating our cereal while Daddy kissed Mummy and went to work at the bank. Mummy was wearing a mustard coloured dress, with long sleeves and a short skirt, and knee length black leather boots that laced up the front.
She had told us we were going to go into town and buy our new school uniforms – an event we all groaned at – but we really did have to go and buy the grey and the black, as Mummy said perhaps we could go to the park after that.
Well, our plans got very quickly changed – as the kitchen door opened suddenly, and three men came in. Jenny screamed when she saw them – they had funny looking guns, and one of them grabbed Mummy as he told us all to shut up. I looked at them, before we were all told to stand up and put our hands behind our backs.
I watched as one of the men took some lengths of brown rope from a bag, and pulled Jenny’s wrists behind her back. She was really crying now, as the man with Mummy told her if the brat didn’t stop crying, he’d shut her up. So Mummy talked to all of us, told us she knew we were scared, and that she wanted to hug us all, but we needed to keep quiet. Jenny nodded as I watched the man tie her wrists together with some of the cord, and then do the same to Joey, before he tied my wrists together behind my back. The cord was rough, but I tried not to cry as they were forced together.
We were then marched into our front room, the man forcing Mummy to close the curtains as I was told to sit on the couch, and Joey and Jenny to sit back to back on the floor. Mummy had her wrists tied together behind her back, and she was told to sit next to me as the other two men knelt down, and tied my brother and sister’s ankles together. I could see the brown cords over their socks and tights, as Joey tried to hold Jenny’s hand to help her out.
One of them then left the room, as the other one knelt in front of me and tied my ankles together. It wasn’t as bad as the cord on my wrists, because I had my socks on, but it was still tight, and I wondered what else they were going to do.
The man then told Mummy she was going to make a phone call, and she was going to say exactly what she was told to say, or else – well, he threatened to hurt all three of us. The third man came back in, and I saw he had some of Mummy and Daddy’s dressing gown belts – he used two of them to tie Joey and Jenny together at their waist, and then he tied one round my arms and tummy, so that I could not move them.
He then did the scariest thing of all – he rolled up a piece of cloth, and stuffed it into my mouth. I could see the edges sticking out, as he told me not to spit that out – and then put one in Joey and Jenny’s mouth as well.
It tasted funny, and I tried to talk to Mummy, but it just came out as mumbled sounds – and the man told me to shut up, and then forced Mummy to stand up and walk out to the hallway. I could see him as he picked up the telephone, dialled a number and held the handset to Mummy’s head. I guessed she was talking to Daddy, as she said she and the family were being held hostage, that there were armed and masked men in the house, and that he was not to call the police. She then said he had to put money from the safe into a bag, and wait for further instructions – and if he did not do as they said, they would…
Well, I hoped Jenny and Joey didn’t hear that last bit, as the man put the handset down, and then pulled Mummy back in, making her sit down before he tied her ankles together with some more of the cord, and then tied her legs together below her knees, above her boots. She looked at me and smiled, before he used another of the dressing gown belts around her arms, and then out some cloth in her mouth as well. I saw her red lips making an O over the edges of the cloth, as we all sat and wondered what was going to happen next.
About an hour later, the phone rang once, and then went silent. I could see the tear stains on Jenny and Joey’s cheek as they looked at Mummy – and then the phone rang three times and went silent.
Mummy looked at the men as one of them stood up and walked out, as the phone rang twice – and this time he answered it. He mumbled something, then put the handset down and pulled the wire from the wall, before he nodded to the two other men. They pulled some strips of white cloth from their pockets, and tied one over the mouth of each of us, keeping the damp cloth in there as it stretched tightly round our heads – and then they walked out, leaving us struggling and trying to get free.
When the police arrived, about an hour later, they told us the men had been part of a gang of bank robbers who had forced Daddy to give them money by holding us hostage. He came home after that and hugged us all, saying he was sorry. It was nice to see him again, but the memory stayed with us until today…
My mother was a wonderful person, and my sister Irene and I adored her because she loved us, and always tried to keep us safe. Especially that Christmas Eve…
Irene and I both had wavy brown hair, while our mother was a peroxide blonde – and we liked to dress like her. So that night, all three of us had on big thick jumpers, with purple blue and white zig-zags like those sound wave pictures, and purple pants, with black and white shoes. I was ten, and Irene was eight, as we sat in front of our artificial Christmas tree wrapping presents up for our dad.
It was the knock on the door that was the first indicator this was going to be a different night, as mother got up to go and see who it was. Irene and I kept wrapping our present in shiny paper – and then we saw our mother come back in with a stranger. He was holding her arm tightly, and he smiled as he looked at us, and said that she was going to do whatever he said, or we would be the ones who paid.
I could see this upset her, so I told him to stop hurting our mother. She looked at him after I had said that, and she said we’d be good, that he didn’t have to threaten us. That was when I knew something was wrong as I knelt with Irene and hugged her.
Mother was pushed onto a chair, as he told us to hug each other, and don’t move. As we did that, I looked over Irene’s shoulder and saw him pull some ropes from a bag, so I whispered into her ear he was going to tie us together, and she should not be scared. She looked at me and nodded as I felt him put my wrists together, and then the rough rope as he tied them tightly to each other.
Irene started to cry a little as I watched him put her ankles together and tie them with more rope, and then tie my wrists to her ankles, but I suggested we sing some songs to make it less scary. So we sang about the Yellow Rose of Texas as he walked round, and I felt her arms getting tighter round me as he tied her wrists together, then my ankles, and her wrists to my ankles.
While he was doing this, Mother was talking to us as well, telling us how brave we were, and how proud she was of both of us. He then made her lie face down on the long couch, and as we both watched he tied her wrists together behind her back, crossed and tied her ankles together, and then bent them back before he tied some rope between her wrists and ankles.
He then turned the radio on, the music loud as he left the room. Mother looked at us, and told us we would be all right, and not to worry – Dad would be home soon, and this would all be over. We both nodded as we heard noises upstairs, but really we were too scared to do much except stay there.
When he came back down, I saw he had three of our mother’s headscarves in his hands – and he used one to keep each of us quiet, pulling it into our mouths and telling us to bite down on it before he tied the band round our head, at the back of our necks. Then he ran off, leaving us to try to call for help and (as I found out later) taking mother’s jewellery with him…