Frank’s Attic








How did it get started?  Well, I have to admit, it was possibly in the least expected of circumstances.  I spoke to some people on online forums who I discovered also – practised this form of entertainment.  For some of them, it was Scouts (or Guides), for some old magazines, and others childhood games.  But for me, it started fairly recently, with the death of my Uncle Frank.


Aunt Peggy and Uncle Frank has always lived near us, but Aunt Peggy had died from cancer a couple of years ago -and when Uncle Frank died, it fell to me and my mother to go through the contents of their house before it was sold on.  We had worked through most of the rooms, boxing things and putting things out, and all that was left was the attic – so Mum had gone to make some hot drinks, and I made my way up, taking various bags of things out and lowering them to the landing floor.


There was a chest in one corner of the open space, and I walked over to it and brushed a thick layer of dust off before I opened the lid.  There were reels of old film in there, and boxes which contained photos – phots of Uncle Frank’s family, of some cousins I had met in passing, you know the sort of thing – but then I found one box and opened it – my eyes opening wide as I looked at the first photo.


It looked like an ordinary woman, and there was a woman sitting on an old wooden chair.  She had long light brown hair, and was wearing a faded denim blouse with long sleeves, and matching drainpipe jeans – nut there were bands of rope that held her arms to her sides, her hands behind the back of the chair, and her stomach to the chair back.  I could see more rope had been wound round her lower legs, from her ankles other knees, while one rope ran from her ankles to the spar under the chair, and another band held her upper legs down to the chair seat.


There was also a wide white band tied round her head, covering her mouth and chin and pressing her hair against the back of her head.  But she did not seem to be upset, or scared, or angry – in fact, she almost looked as if she was laughing at how she was.


The picture fascinated me – something about it seem so familiar, but I did not recognise the girl at all.


“Nick?  Coffee’s ready.”


“Coming Mum,” I called down as I closed the lid and carried the box down with me.  Mum was sitting at the kitchen table, holding a mug as she said “what have you found?”


“Some old photos Uncle Frank must have taken,” I said as I put the box down.


“Oh – family ones?”


“No – no I don’t think you can say that,” I whispered quietly as Mum frank from her mug.  “Mum – can I ask what might seem a weird question?”


“Oh – that college education finally getting through,” she said with a smile.  “Go on then – what is it?”


“Well – did Uncle Frank ever – well…”


“Come on, out with it?”


I took a big drink from my mug and put it down, then opened the box and took out a photo at random – only it wasn’t the same one as before.  Oh it looked like the same room, although some of the furniture was different, but it was the same white chair – with a different person tied to it.  She had long, darker brown hair, and was wearing a pale blue top and pink jeans – and she was tied to the chair in a different way.


One other thing – she was sitting across the table from me.  Her hair was shorter now, and had a hint of grey in it, but I recognised her.




“Mum,” I said as I looked at the photo, “did Uncle Frank do this to you?”  I put the photo down in front of her, and she looked at it for a few minutes, before she looked back at me.


“Yes.  Yes he did.”




She blushed as she said “well – your uncle liked to tie his female friends up, for fun and enjoyment.  I remember that day – I had come to see him and Peggy, and he asked if I would take part.  I knew I was safe with him, so he put the chair down, and after I sat down he took some white rope, took my arms round the chair back, and tied my wrists together.


“Hew then took a longer length of the rope, and wound t round my upper arms so that they were held against my sides, and then he wound it round me and the chair back so I was made to sit upright.”


“And it didn’t scare you?”  I picked up the photo and looked at it again, the ropes framing her chest as they went down.


“No – like I said, I knew Frank did it for fun, and he was not going to do anything to hurt me.  And besides – Aunt Peggy was watching as well.”


“She was?”


Mum nodded as she said “anyway – he then tied my ankles to the front legs of that old chair, with a length running between them, and then used more ropes to secure my legs to the chair legs.  Finally, he wound the rope round my upper legs and the chair sea, and left the big knot on my lap – no way I was going to reach it anyway.”


“And the tape?”


“Oh yeah – he covered my mouth with duct tape, and let me sit there, looking at him while he took some photos.”


I was dumbfounded by now, as I whispered “did you ever tell Dad?”


“No – there was no need to.  Uncle Frank didn’t hurt me – and I actually quite enjoyed it.  Anyway, I got to tie up Aunt Peggy after that.”


“You WHAT?”


“Give me the box.”  I handed the box over and watched as Mum took out another photo and showed me.  She was now free of the chair, and Aunt Peggy was indeed sitting on the seat.  She had long blonde hair then, and was wearing a white sundress – it had short, capped sleeves, and was open at the neckline.  Her hair was in a ponytail on top of her head – and her mouth was covered with strips of the silver tape as she looked at my mother to the side. 


Her arms were behind the chair back, and I could see the band of rope below her chest that held her to the chair itself, as well as the bands round her upper arms.  Mum was adjusting the ropes that were wrapped round the legs of the chair - as well as Aunt Peggy’s legs, so that she was secured in place as well.


“Oh my,” I whispered, “so did Aunt Peggy help tie you up?”


“No – she much preferred to be tied up – but we did do some shoots together.  Here’s one of them - we had to wear some old clothes for this one.”


She showed me one of her and Aunt Peggy lying side by side on a bed, looking at the camera.  Mum was wearing a grey and white checked short dress, and Aunt Peggy a dress that had a faux grey waistcoat and black sleeves and a skirt – but both of them had their hands behind their backs, and bands of tape round their arms, stomachs, legs and ankles, as well as strips of tape covering their mouths.


“You look like tow kidnapped girls in an old film.”


“That was the idea – but we had great fun doing them,” Mum said with a sigh.  She then said “were there any films where you found these?”


“Yeah – why?”


“Go and fetch them – let’s head home.  We can finish this tomorrow w- I want to show you something.”



Dad was away for a few days, and Mum dug out of a cupboard an old projector.  She set it up so it was pointing at a bare wall, before she said “Frank moved on from just taking photos to shooting films.  Let’s see what is on this one.”


She fed the film into the machine and into the spare reel, before I turned the light off and we watched the film.  A young woman, wearing a red t-shirt and a shirt black skirt, was shown walking into the room, her hands raised in the air – and there was the white chair as she was made to sit down, the masked man taking a length of white rope and using it to secure her wrists together behind the chair back.


“I thought rope would hurt - rub?”


“Not if it was washed first and allowed to dry – it was actually quite soft,” Mum said as the man then passed a longer length round the girl’s upper arms and pulled it so they were forced against her sides, “but once your uncle had us tied, we were not getting out.”


I watched, fascinated as he wound the rope round her body, under her chest and round her arms again, and then round her waist and legs so that she was held tightly to the wooden seat.  She was trying to talk, I imagined asking what he was going to do – but he just ignored her as he tied the end of the rope off at the corner joint of the chair back and seat.


He then knelt in front of her and tied her ankles together with another length of rope – before he pulled her ankles back under the seat and tied the rope off underneath.


He then stood up and rolled up a red bandana, the girl opening her mouth as he pulled it between her lips and then tied it round her head, muffling her calls I would imagine.  Her long brown hair was trapped under there, as she started to twist round in an attempt to get free, and call for help.


“Do you know who she was,” I asked Mum as I turned my head to look at her.


“Her?  She worked at the local Sainsburys – I met her a few days after this, and she told me how much she had enjoyed it.  Nice girl too.”


“Really?  That must have been embarrassing when Uncle Frank or Aunt Peggy went in.”


“They shopped at Asda,” Mum said without batting an eyelid, and I saw how damp the bandana was getting at the corners of her mouth before the film ended.


“So why did Uncle Frank stop doing them?”


“He didn’t – I happen to know he was helping another volunteer to enjoy this two days before he died.  He said it kept him going after Peggy passed on.”


“When was the last time he tied you up, Mum?”


She smiled as she turned the light on, and then swapped the full for the empty reel, then looked at another one.  “This one – he called it an After School Special.”




“Oh they were a program they used to put on when I was your age – the dangers of strangers, things like that.  Here – watch.”


She threaded he film through the projector and turned it on, and I watched as she walked into the room.  Her hair was shorter, and she was wearing a white blouse with elbow length sleeves, a cuff on the end of the sleeve, and a short red and black tartan skirt.


“The Catholic Schoolgirl look?  Mum, you tease…”


“Watch,” she said as a man – he was wearing a balaclava, but presumably Uncle Frank – walked up behind her and pressed a cloth over her nose and mouth.  Mum opened her eyes wide in shock, and then slowly closed them as she relaxed into his arms.


“He didn’t really use chloroform, did he?”


“No – it was scented water, but I could ac it out,” Mum said as he sat her on the white chair, and took some white rope from the table.  The camera followed him round and showed him as he crossed her wrists and then tied the rope tightly round them.  I watched carefully, as he tied them to the back of the chair.


“Who’s holding the camera?  Aunt Peggy?”


“Nope,” was al Mum said as Uncle Frank picked up a longer length of rope, and wound it round her upper arms so that they were held tightly by her sides.  He then took it round again, below her chest, and forced her arms against the body there, before he wound it round the chair back as well.


He then wound it round her lap and the seat of the chair, before tying t off to the front seat and leg joint.  More rope, and he tied Mum’s ankles tightly together, then fed it under the chair and secured it to the centre spar.


She was pretending to wake up now, slowly opening her eyes as she tried to move – and before she could call for help, Uncle Frank and covered her mouth with his gloved hand.  He then pulled a rolled up blue bandana between her lips and tied it round her head, keeping her quiet as for a few minutes she struggled and tried to get free.


“Not a chance - like I said, Uncle Frank knew what he was doing.”


“So who was holding the camera, if not Aunt Peggy?”




“It’s just - Mum you look hot like that; I hope it wasn’t Dad – or another man.”


“No,” she said with a smile, “it was your grandmother – and a few minutes later, she was lying on the settee in the same room, taped and tape gagged as Uncle Frank shot her.”  Looking at me, she said “this is a family thing really – that’s how Frank got started, by tying her up.  I didn’t know until that day – but there should be some photos of her in there.”


I looked in the box as the light went on – and there she was, grey haired, wearing a blue blouse and jeans and tied to the chair as well…


“Where is that chair?”


“Long broken now – why?”


“I just wondered how my girlfriend would feel about doing this…”




Well, turned out she was interested – so a few weeks later, she was sitting on an old brown wooden chair, wearing a grey sweatshirt and checked pants, rope holding her arms to her sides and to the chair back, and her wrists tied together in front of her.  Her ankles were tied together, and pulled back under the seat, as she watched me peel a length of white tape away from a roll.


“And wat are you going to do to me,” she said as I came over.


“I don’t know – what would you like me to do to you.”


“Just take the photos – and maybe later when I’m free?”


I nodded as I brushed her hair away, and then pressed the white tape down over her mouth before I started to take some photos.  As I did, I think I understood Uncle Frank, and what I found in his attic…








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