Fade to Black
As the cloth went over my eyes, I let out a muffled gasp, matched by Jess as she sat next to me, and I wondered what was going to happen next.
They took me by surprise, putting the folded scarf over my eyes from behind me, but I couldn’t do anything to stop them, say anything to say how uncomfortable I felt about this. In fact, I was now completely at their mercy, and all I could do was pray they had some.
Mercy, that is...
To calm my nerves, I tried to think about everything that had happened today. Mom and I had gone to a charity luncheon at the Country Club. Mom’s on one of those charity committees that seem to exist solely to occupy the time of the Stepford Wives, as some of my friends rather cruelly call them.
At any rate, she had invited me to come to this one, as I was home from college and at a loose end, so I eventually (after much argument) agreed. It must have been about eleven when I came into the front room of the house.
The Mason Park Memorial Fund is a very important local charity, and I have been proud to be the fundraising head for the last two years. This luncheon today was to honour the latest recipients of memorial benches, and as Jess was home, I wanted her to see her friends were wrong.
It would have been about eleven, and I was looking at the mirror that hangs in the hallway of our house, adjusting my earrings. I had been to the hairdresser earlier, and had my highlights done to make my naturally light brown hair look better, as I stood back and looked at myself.
Tennis helps me keep trim, so I looked good in my brown sleeveless dress, the bodice cut low, and a gathered midriff before the skirt flared out to my knees. I was also wearing a pair of designer sandals made of black leather with a short heel.
“Jess,” I remember calling out, “We need to get going!”
“Coming mum,” I heard her say, and watched as she walked down the staircase. Jess was wearing a black lace dress with spaghetti strap on the shoulders and a short skirt, her modesty protected a little by the tiered white top she was wearing over it, as will as a pair of black leather moccasins.
I had hoped she would make an effort – but it did look good on her.
I had no idea what was ‘suitable wear’ for a boring lunch with mom’s friends – so I put on a black party dress, and looked at myself in my bedroom mirror. I thought I looked good, but given the material, I thought a little more modesty might be better, so I put the white top over it.
When I eventually walked down the stairs, I looked at Mum. Not that the dress didn’t look good on her – it did – but I found myself again wondering why I had to cover up and she didn’t.
Anyway, we both picked up our purses and went to this lunch, where I made nice to all Mum’s friends, said all the right things, made all the right promises – like a good little daughter should.
It was BOOORRRRINNNGGGGGGGGGGGG! Easily one of the worst couple of hours I have ever spent, and I was left wishing something would happen to liven up the day.
Well, looks like I got my wish – one of them just made me kneel down, and now they’re making me lie on the floor. At least they put a cushion down for me to rest my head on, but what are they going to do next?
It was one of the best lunches I had ever been to, and Jess was wonderful, smiling and getting to know all my friends so much more. I could see she was really enjoying herself, but like all good things, it had to come to an end sooner, rather than later, as we made our excuses and headed off.
Thank the Christ it eventually ended, and Mom drove us both back home. As we pulled onto the driveway, everything seemed exactly as we had left it – dull, boring, and staid.
That turned out to be anything but the truth...
I let out a grunt as they make me lie on what I presume is the floor, and then I feel my ankles been pulled back, and secured to – well, something, but I’m not sure what. I can hear Jess grunting, and something pulling on my chest, so I try to stay calm, and think about what happened when we came home.
I walked into the hallway and put the car keys into my purse, Jess following me and closing the door behind me, and as she went into the front room I went to the kitchen to fetch us both some iced water – it was such a hot day, after all. I poured the water into two glasses, carried them through – and stopped still, too shocked to do anything.
There were two men in our front room, casually dressed, one of them armed with a gun as the other held my Jess with one arm around her waist, and the other hand over her mouth. They must have taken her by surprise.
Of course they took me by surprise! I walked in to see this man, dressed in a shirt and jeans, searching through our cabinets, and I’m not meant to be surprised!
What did surprise me was the strong arm round my waist, and the gloved hand over my mouth, the scent of the leather filling my nostrils as the other man came over and looked at me. He then walked and stood behind me as Mom brought in the drinks.
“Don’t scream,” the man behind me said, “and don’t drop those glasses. Very slowly, very carefully, put them down on the mantle of the fire, and then stand still, with your hands on your head.
“Are you – are you all right Jess,” Mom said, and I slowly nodded, watching as she put the glasses down, and then put her hands on her head. As he walked forward, I saw for the first time the gun he was holding, and started struggling.
“Shhh,” the man holding me said as he gripped me tightly, “everything will be all right if you do what we say.” I nodded as he then said “if you promise not to shout, I’ll take my hand away.”
Well, I nodded again as he took his hand away, and then guided my hands behind my back. He held my wrists together with one hand for a few minutes, and then I felt some sort of cord as it was passed around them and then tightened.
He was tying me up – and as I looked at Mom, I could see the other man had guided her hands behind her back as well, and he was shaking a length of cord loose before he started to use it.
I could feel the cord as it rubbed on my wrists – it was soft, but string, as he expertly lashed them together as if they were two twigs. Looking over, I could see the concern in Jess’ face, so I tried to talk calmly to her as the man holding her let her go for a minute, and reached down behind the couch.
When he straightened up, I saw he had two long lengths of rope in his hand, one of which her threw over to the man behind me as he shook the second one loose and doubled it over. It was only as my captor passed it around my body, pulling my arms against my back as he tightened it, that I realised what it was he was about to do.
But I was powerless to stop him, as he wound the rope around me, above and below my chest, forcing it out as I began to wonder if my dress would stay in place. I was serious – the way it felt, I thought the shoulder straps were going to slip down my arms.
As it was, he then tied it off, and fed the rope under one arm, up and around the back of my neck, and then under my other arm, making it even tighter as he tied it off. He then told the other man to “take care of the kid” before he frog marched me out of the room and up the stairs.
As we went up, he made it very clear if I did not show him where my jewellery was, it would be Jess who suffered..
As the man took Mom upstairs, I watched the man walk in front of me. He wasn’t that bad looking – even if he was feeding the white rope through the bottom band of rope around my chest and back up, walking behind me as the band pushed my breasts up and he tied the ends off behind my back.
“sit down,” he said, and as I sat on the couch he knelt in front of me, crossed my ankles and started to tie them together. “What’s your friend doing with Mom,” I said as I felt the rope tighten around my ankles, and his gloved hands on my legs as he passed the rope between them, making it even tighter.
“I would imagine he’s making her show him where the jewels are,” he said with a smile as he then bound my legs together below my knees, again taking the rope between them, before he stood up and took what looked like a sponge ball from his pocket.
“Open your mouth – now, please.”
Well, as if I could refuse... I looked at him as he pushed it into my mouth, the sponge swelling and pushing my tongue down, before he tore a strip of wide white tape from a roll and pressed it down over my lips and face. It pulled slightly on my skin, before I realised it was forming to the contours, effectively shutting me up.
I was forced to watch as he emptied all my jewellery and valuables into a bag, unable to say anything by way of complaint – as soon as we had got into my bedroom, he had pushed this sponge ball into my mouth, and then put this tape over my mouth that seemed to stick like a second skin. No matter how much I tried to move my jaw, it stuck firm – and now my mouth is drying out as the sponge absorbs all the saliva.
I’ve seen enough episodes of CSI and L&O however, so I just stayed calm, watching and trying to memorise as much as possible before he pulled me back to my feet and made me walk downstairs. When I got back into the front room, I saw Jess sitting there, her legs tied and the tape over her mouth as well.
He made me sit next to her, as he tied my own ankles and legs, Jess resting her head on my shoulder as he did this – and then...
Well, I saw the scarves, black silk, and – here we are. I can hear their footsteps on our marble floor, and what sounds like the trophies been taken – and then the door opening and closing.
I try to flex my legs, but whatever they did was holding them firmly in place, as Jess grunts next to me.
Whatever it is that is pulling on the ropes around my arms and chest, it’s really starting to bug me – and as I try to flex my own legs, I get the feeling Mom is getting just as upset.
Crying’s not going to do me any good though, as I try to find some way I can reach the knots on the ropes – but they’re well out of reach of my fingers, and now that we’ve been left alone the cold sweat is starting to saturate my dress.
I guess I should be grateful they’re gone, in case I start to look like something else - but this damned blindfold is irritating the hell out of me.
I wish there was some way to get this cloth off my eyes, as I rub my head on the cushion it’s resting on – and then realise it is giving slightly.
Hang on – it’s definitely moving up my head. If I keep doing this, gently, gently...
Yes – I can see a chink of light as I keep rubbing my head on the cushion, and eventually it slips off my head. I rest for a moment, and low my eyes to adjust to the light...
As the scarf falls down my neck, over the tape gag, I blink and then look round – only to see Jess’ feet to my side, and the rope running from her ankles to my back.
Looking over my shoulder, I see her head, and my own ankles...
I look in disbelief – they tied my ankles to the chest ropes round Mom, and Mom’s to mine, and we have to strain to look at each other?
I scream in disbelief, a bed move as Mom grunts, and I do as she moves in response. All we can do now is wait – as the sun slowly starts to fade, and the room starts to darken.
Dad won’t be home for hours – not until after dark...