Just Sitting and Thinking...
What was that book quote I read once - time is an illusion, lunchtime doubly so? It seemed funny at the time, and if I am being honest it still does do so, but - well, it is kind of a metaphor, isn’t it? And it’s an apt one for what I feel right now.
School had finished hours ago, and I had agreed to meet up with Wanda and Sandy later, but it was looking as if that was going to be a bit of a problem. After all, I had Mum to take care of as well, and she tried to smile as she looked over at me. I know she’s worried, but she doesn’t have to be - after all I had made two friends at my new high school.
Wanda is quiet, shy, and unlike all the other girls I mix with wears old baggy sweaters, dungarees and trainers. I like that - she has a real independent streak, and she knows a lot of useful things. As for Sandy - she’s cute, in a long dark haired Valley Girl kind of way, but she has a good heart. And they’ve both helped me so much in dealing with the problems I get to face on a daily basis.
On one hand, I wish they could be here now, but on the other, I’m glad they’re not. It means there is a chance they will figure out what is going on before I need to take things into my own hands - even if those hands are tied behind the back of the chair I am sitting in, and secured down to the middle of the three wooden posts.
There are two men watching me, as I shake a little to convince them I am scared. They were here when I came in - big, broad shouldered, dressed in black. God, it’s such a fashion cliché - bad guys wear black.
I was tempted to do something there and then, but they decided to show me Mum first, lying on her side on the couch. She was still wearing the light blue jacket and skirt, with the cream camisole underneath, that she wore to the gallery, and her hose with those cream kitten heels. She may be in her forties, but she made it look good - although the bands of rope around her ankles, legs, arms and chest made it look a little different, as did the clear tape over her mouth and the patterned scarf that I could see in her mouth underneath.
As she squirms round, I can’t help thinking of a tale she told me about when she was my age, and was sitting in her house one morning when there was a knock on the door. She lived in the Valley then, and her mum - sorry, Grandma - worked at a local bank.
She answered it and three men came in, wearing Reagan masks and wearing dark suits. They made her join Grandma in their front room, and sit with their hands on their heads. She told me she was wearing a pink ra-ra skirt - one of those ones with four or five layers - and a white sloppy Joe t-shirt, while her mum was wearing this big shouldered white jacket and tight skirt with high heels.
They then taped Mum up, with her hands behind her back encased together in silver stuff, bands around her arms and chest, her legs and her ankles, and taped over her mouth, before they did the same to their mum. They said, apparently, they were going to take her mum and make her empty the safe at the bank, and she was insurance - whatever that meant.
They never did, however - when they opened the door to take Grandma, somebody came in instead and beat the living hell out of them. Mum never got a proper look at her, save that she was a young girl, wearing a blue jumpsuit and boots that had flat soles and leather thongs down the back. She had black hair in a ponytail, was fast, and had some moves - because after five minutes, Grandma came in and said the police were on their way.
Now, I know who that was, but then - just a story Mum told me.
Anyway - back to the now. They made me take my black leather jacket off, and then sit in this chair. The hem of my leopard print minidress rose up, but I was glad it still covered me. What I was not glad of was the rope holding my wrists together, and the band that was wrapped round my waist and the chair back.
They then put my legs together and I watched as they wrapped the rope round the ankles of my brand new $200 knee length leather boots, rubbing against then with the rope as I felt them coming tightly together. He was good, I’d give him that, as he cinched the binding, then tied my legs together below my knees.
I glared at him, saying nothing as he told me to open my mouth and stuffed one of Mum’s black scarves into it, then sealed my lips with clear tape. At least he did not wrap it round my head, so my long blonde hair was not trapped, but I sat still, watching them as they sat and talked.
So here we are, with Mum watching me and me wondering what they are up to. I try talking, but it wasn’t worth it. Gail says it usually wastes energy.
Gail is the librarian at the high school - came over from England some years ago, and a firm believer in books over computers. She may have a point, she may not - but if I am being honest, I’d rather spend time at Golds than hitting the books.
Still, she has a few things to teach me I’m sure - after all, she has a lot of experience as well.
The phone rings, and I hear Wanda’s voice asking where I am. I smile as she sounds concerned - it’s so like the first time we met at the school.
It was my first day - we’d moved to town after an unfortunate accident led to me being kicked out of school, and just about everything else, and Mum wanted a fresh start, so when the job came up at the gallery it was perfect. Anyway, I came in to see this mousey haired girl in a pair of denim dungarees and a striped jumper sitting alone, so I went up and introduced myself.
“I’m Wanda,” she said as she looked at me, “Pleased to meet you, Bunny. Sit down.”
As I sat, I saw a bruise around her wrist, and I asked her what had happened.
“Oh this,” she said as she rubbed her skin, “Yeah - a little problem at home last week. Want to hear about it?”
I nodded, and she started her story.
“I had been to the mall with Mum, and we were walking past a jewellers when we saw three men walk in. Well, we thought nothing of it until we started walking back to our car, and we saw the same three men standing round a car engine.
“Well, I was about to get in when one of them grabbed me from behind, and holds this gun to my head.”
“Wow,” I replied, “Who were they?”
“They had just robbed the jewellers, but their car had broken down. Anyway, they told Mum she had to take them somewhere, and if she didn’t they would hurt me. They then made me climb into the back of the car, zip tied my wrists and ankles, and used one of their ties to keep an oily rag in my mouth. Two of them got ingot the back seat, and the third beside Mum, and they made her drive off.
“Well, I had no idea where we were going - they had thrown the car rug over me, and I was too scared to move. At some point, however, the car stopped, and I heard them ordering Mum to get out. I had no idea what was going on - especially when I heard the shouting and then something hitting the car.”
Wanda had smiled, and said “It turned out it was someone - one of the men. It went silent for a few minutes, then Mum pulled the blanket off my head and hugged me. When she pulled the cloth out of my mouth, she helped me out of the car, and I saw the three men lying unconscious on the ground, and the blue lights of a police car coming up.
“All Mum said was she had been knocked out by something, and when she came to a few minutes later - there they were. The police said we were lucky, but somebody must have done that.
“So, why have you moved here?”
That’s what I like about Wanda - whatever life throws at her, she comes up smiling. As one of the black clad men listened to her message, he grinned at me - and I just wanted to thump him.
Funny - sitting here, with no noise except Mum and me with our muffled groans, and the two men talking quietly, it brings a lot of things back.
I start thinking of Dad - and the fact he wasn’t able to cope with what happened to me, and left us. He’s somewhere in New York now - someday I may get to see him again.
Then there were my friends, in the cheerleading squad - they were the innocents in what happened, and I was the one who had to take the blame for it. When the masked men had taken the coach, and took us all to that barn...
Stop thinking about that - it’s in the past. What matter is the now, and that Wanda and Sandy are not here.
Sandy took a little while to come round, but one day she approached me and Wanda in the library and asked if she could talk to us about what had happened to her. I asked why, and she said “because the word is you’ve both been through something similar.”
We looked at her, as Gail walked past, and then took her to Starbucks. We made a strange bunch - me in a leather jacket, vest and shorts, and sneakers, Wanda in a long skirt and blouse, and Sandy in a sleeveless blouse, black leather mini skirt and shoes.
She told us how, last night, she had been walking home from Golds when she had been grabbed from behind and dragged into an alleyway. She had been wearing a brown microskirt and jumper, and short boots, with a brown scarf in her hair, and felt she did not stand out from the crowd. Mind you, the tightness of her top may have been - distracting, but she told us that was the point.
Anyway - it was an older man, who had clamped a cloth over Sandy’s mouth as he held her. She told us it smelled sweet and strange, and that she had started to go light headed and felt woozy. She had caught a glimpse of an open car boot - and then she was pulled backwards, before the man let her go.
What happened after that she was not sure of, but she said she saw someone beating up the guy, laying him flat on the floor before they ran off. Two things she remembered clearly - the person had blonde hair, and she seemed to be a woman. Of course, as she put it, she was almost asleep by that point...
She looked at both of us, and asked her if we understood. Well, we both did - so we became friends at that point.
I can see that it’s got dark outside, and the two men have stood up, one of them moving to the door as the other one comes over to check the ropes around us.
“We’re going to take a little trip,” he sneered at me, “and you’re both coming along.”
He turned to look at the door - which was all the excuse I needed. He heard the snapping, but before he had a chance I had my arm round his throat, and was choking him into unconsciousness.
I felt his hands scrabbling at my bare flesh, but I knew he had no chance as Mum watched me. I wasn’t worried - she knew who I was. She’d known ever since the bus incident. I have no secrets from her.
Eventually, the man crumples to the floor - just in time for the first one to come back in. He takes a second to look at the scene, and another to reach for his gun - but two second sis all I need to pick up a coaster and send it across the room, so that it hits the right spot on his wrists where the nerve clusters are.
As he drops the gun, I run across the room and give him a forearm to the throat, and a knee to the groin. There is no way he is getting up after that, and I smile as he slumps down to the ground.
I tear the tape away from my mouth and pull out the scarf, before walking back to Mum. “There’s one born every minute,” I said as I ungagged her.
“And two of them come to our house at the same time,” Mum said with a smile, as the door opened and I saw three familiar faces run in.
“Oh great,” Wanda said as she looked at the two men on the floor, “You get all the fun.”
“Trust me,” I said as I pulled the thick ropes apart with my hands, “It was not fun. Why are you here anyway?”
“We came looking for you,” Gail said in her clipped accent, “We’ve had reports of a family being held hostage at the Anderson complex. We need you.”
I looked at Mum, who smiled and said “Go.” Grabbing my jacket, I looked at them and said “Let’s go to work,” before we headed out of the door.
In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the kidnappers the robbers and the forces of badness. She is the taker.
This is the story of the chosen one - Bunny the Nabber Taker!