Lock-In Tales – Back to School







The task the teacher set for the first day back was a traditional one – “What did you do in the time away from school?”  As she read the first story, however, she was taken aback…


The most exciting thing to happen to me was when the masked men walked in one morning while Bobby and I were having breakfast with Mum.  I was wearing my pyjamas – blue ones with game characters on them – and Bobby had on his Rescue Crew onesie, while Mum was wearing a blue nightdress.


We were having breakfast when the two men walked in, dressed in jeans and sweatshirts with black masks over their mouths and noses.  Mum looked at them, and asked what they were doing there – and one of them said they were robbing us!  Bobby and I were scared, but the other man said it would be like a big game, although he had to make sure we could not move for a while.


They let us finish our breakfast, then go to the toilet, before we were taken up to our bedroom.  One of the men went with Mummy, while the other one told us to lie down on the bed, and then took out of a bag two rolls of tape – one silver one clear – then asked Bobby which one he would like him to use to keep him on the bed.


Bobby has a Grinch cuddly, and he hugged him before he said he wanted the clear tape – but he wanted Grinch to be first, so he could see what would happen.  The masked man nodded, and we both watched as he wrapped the tape round Grinch’s body and legs, and then put some strips over the mouth.  He said Grinch was now going to stay there, before he told Bobby to stand up with his arms by his sides.


The clear tape was then wrapped round his tummy and wrists, and then his arms higher up, before Bobby lay down and the man taped his ankles together, and then his legs.  Finally, he covered Bobby’s mouth with strips of the clear tape, before putting Grinch next to him.


Then it was my turn with the dark grey tape.  I sat on my bed and watched as he taped my wrists together, them he made me lie back and bend my knees so that my wrists were between my ankles – before he wound the tape round them to keep them all together.


He then taped over my mouth as well, so that I could not speak, before the other man looked in and they left. 

Bobby had fallen asleep, his head resting on Grinch as I wriggled round, and then Mummy jumped in – she had tape all round her body as well, and over her mouth, as she jumped to me and knelt down, using her fingers to peel the tape away from my mouth.


The policeman who came was very nice, and it was fun if a little scary…


Shaking her head, she marked the book and then opened the next one – only to whisper “what the…”


My mummy really likes old television programs, even if my little brother and I would rather watch Paw Patrol or Peppa Pig.  But one day this summer she made us both watch her favourite program – the Banana Splits – and we had no choice in it.


I was wearing a white top, blue jeans and white ankle socks, and my brother a blue jumper, grey track suit bottoms and white socks.  We were watching Par Patrol, sitting on two low chairs.  Mine was a red chair with white polka dots, and my brothers a Winnie the Pooh chair.


Anyway, we were watching the television when I was surprised by mummy, who passed a blue and white skipping rope round me. It pinned me against the chair back, and my arms to my side, my brother watching and laughing as mummy tied the ends in front of me, the purple handles hanging down.


It was my turn to laugh a minute later when she used a second skipping rope, this one with green handles, and tied him to his chair in the same way.  She then showed us a ball of green wool, and tied our wrists together in front of us, then took the wool down and tied our ankles together as well.


I asked mummy what was going on, and she just smiled as she put something into the player – and then it started.


“Tra la, la la la la…”


We both groaned, and then mummy said we can’t have that – she rolled up a scarf of hers, brown with leopard spots and a red border, and pulled it between my lips before she tied it round my head.  She then did the same thing to my brother with a blue scarf that had a white border – then she sat with us as we had to watch.


I could feel the scarf getting damper in my mouth, but it was strangely nice – and I did like watching and trying to sing along…


“I guess you have to make allowances for these last few months,” she said to herself as she moved on the next book…


It was meant to be the quiet time of the day, when we let Mum get some rest, but it wasn’t quite the way Debbie and me thought we were going to be quiet, as we looked at each other.


I was sitting on a wooden chair on one side of the room, wearing a white vest top and shorts, while Debbie was on a dining table chair.  She was wearing a striped jumper, white joggers and white socks, and we could both hear the sound the tape made as it came off the roll.


It was masking tape which was been round Denise’s hands as she held them together in prayer, so that they stayed together.  A band of tape was already wrapped round her legs and the chair seat, and around her sock covered feet to hold them together.


She looked over at me as she lowered her hands down onto her lap and nodded – she knew what was coming next, as strips of the tape were pressed gently down over her mouth, her long light brown hair loose on her shoulders.  She wasn’t scared – I think because I had gone first.


I had blue tape holding my ankles together as I sat on the chair, as well as my wrists together, but I also had a band of the tape round my arms and stomach so that I could not move them either.  And I had blue tape over my mouth as well, so I couldn’t say very much.


It was certainly a quiet time for both of us…


She stopped for a moment and stood up, looking out of the window of her front room.  It had been so long, was it surprising some unusual games were starting to be played?


She sat back down and nodded as she read the next story…


My granddad had to stay with us for months, but one day he did a very special game with me and my brothers.  It was called ESCAPE!  I was wearing my favourite tiger onesie, while my twin brothers were both wearing their pyjamas.


He told us to sit in a row, and to put our hands behind our back – and when we did, he used some lengths of washing line he had cut to make sure we could not bring our hands back again!  It was really fun!


He then knelt in front of all three of us, and tied our ankles together with more of the washing line.  We all started to wriggler round like worms, while granddad laughed and took photos of us, before he rolled up three of grandma’s headscarves, pulling one between our lips and tying it round our heads as we looked at each other.


He then started to tickle all three of us, making us laugh as we twisted round on the seat for a few minutes, before he took us one by one in his arms up to the bedrooms, and told us whoever got free first would get a special treat.


And I did…



So far, with one exception, they seemed to be fun stories – and then she opened the next book.


“Stand in a line, all of you.”


That was what the woman wearing the balaclava over her head said as she looked at me and my brothers and sisters.  We were all wearing t-shirts and shorts – mine was blue, Kerry’s a pink Hannah Montana vest top, Lou’s a longer one with capped sleeves, and Suzie’s a blue one with her favourite K-pop band on the front.


The woman wasn’t the only one wearing a mask in the front room – a man was standing next to Mum, who was sitting with her hands on her head, and another man was standing next to Daddy.


“Just do as they say,” Dad said quietly as we stood in a line, and the masked man went to a bag, taking out two new pairs of sports socks.  He separated them, and handed them to Daddy.


“One for each of them – in their mouths,” he said as we looked at each other. 


“Please, they’re kids…”


The man just looked over at the other one, as Mummy whispered “no…” and Dad nodded.  He looked at me, and said “be brave, and open your mouth.”


I nodded and did what he said, tasting the cotton my tongue as he pushed the folded sock in, and then watched as he did the same to my three sisters.  We all looked at each other as the masked man gave Daddy a roll of silver tape, and said “now cover their mouths, so that the socks stay in there.”


“Please… Donshtthhth”


I looked at Mummy as the second man pushed something into her mouth, and then walked behind her, taking her hands behind her back and then taking some cord out of his pocket.  Daddy nodded, and a few minutes later we all looked at each other, the silver tape covering our mouths.


“Turn round, all of you, and put your hands behind your backs.”


We all did that, and then I heard the ripping sound as my wrists were put together, and the tape used to secure them to each other.  I looked over my shoulder as Kerry, Lou and Suzie all had their wrists taped together as well, and then our ankles were taped together as well.


While this was happening, the woman had gone over to Mummy, and she was been tied up with ropes – around her arms and body, her ankles and her legs, before she was laid down on the couch. 


“Come with me,” the first man said as he took Daddy by the arm and took him out of the room.  The masked woman looked at us, and then said “as for you four, time to jump – up the stairs – come on.”


Well, we did as she asked, jumping to the staircase as the masked man carried us up one by one, and then into our bedrooms.  When we went in, we were left on our beds, put legs pulled back and our ankles taped to our wrists as we lay there.


They had come to steal things from Mummy and Daddy – they left Daddy taped up in their bedroom.  But he came and found us, and freed us after a while…



“A real robbery?  I truly hope they recover,” she said with a sigh as she put that book to one side, and then opened another one.


It was Fairy Princess Day, and I was dressed as one, in a white lace dress with puffed sleeves over a shorter pale blue one.  My long black hair was falling down my back, and I really felt as if I was Snow White or one of the Disney ones.


As for the brat of a brother I have – he was just laughing as he looked at me in my clothes.  He was certainly not dressed for the court, in his purple jumper and joggers, before he ran out of the room, his trainers hitting the floor.


I didn’t follow him, but instead sat and read for a while.  But then I noticed it was very quiet, so I went out of the room to look for my brother.


And I found him in the front room, lying on his back with his head on a pillow.  Someone had used masking tape to tie him up – arms to his sides, legs and ankles tied together, and several strips over his mouth.  I wondered who had done this, before a hand was placed over my mouth, and a voice said the princess would soon be unconscious.


I played along and let my eyes close, before someone lifted me up and sat me on a chair.  I could hear a soft peeling sound before whoever it was crossed my wrists, and I felt something sticking to my arm below my elbow.  Whatever it was was wrapped round my arms, holding them together and then over my hands so that I could not move them apart.


I then felt it after they had crossed my ankles, sticking to my skin as they were held formyl together as well.  I then felt whatever it was as it was pressed down over my mouth, and I heard the voice say “let’s raise the ransom.”


I slowly opened my eyes to see I was sitting on a dining room chair, and there was blur tape over my arms and legs.  I tried to speak, and then realised the blue tape must be over my mouth as well.


My brother then started giggling as I saw Grandma standing in the doorway, and I relaxed.  I knew I would be free soon…



“One more to go…”


My twin sister and I did everything together this summer – including when a masked man came into the house and played a game of hostages with us.


It was in July, and Mum was in the kitchen making some food while we watched a film.  I was wearing a blue t-shirt, khaki shorts and socks, while my sister had on a candy striped sleeveless summer dress with a peace sign on the front.  The first we knew of the game was when he came in with mum, wearing a black jumper and pants with something pulled down over his head that made his face blurry.


Mum said he had come to play a game of hostages, and we should do what he said.  The man smiled, and told us the game meant we would not be able to move or talk for a while – but Mum would be the same as well, and was there anything we wanted to do while playing.  I wanted to watch a film, but my sister wanted to listen to music – but he said we could do both.


I realised Mum had her hands behind her back, and the man told us to turn round so that we would be the same.  We did that, before he took my hands behind my back and used some cords to tie my wrists together.  My sister got the same, before he used a longer length to tie our arms to our sides.


He then told us to sit down on the floor, and we watched as he first tied our ankles together, and then our legs below the knees.  The rope was soft, but it was tight, and we watched as he took it between our legs to make the tying even tighter.


He then found Mum’s phone, and put some earbuds into my sister’s ear so that she could listen to the music, before he took a roll of orange tape and tore some strips off, covering both our mouths with them.  He then laid some cords down on the floor, and helped me to lie down so that I was facing the television.  I could feel my sister as he laid her behind me, and looking down I saw her head was against my legs, and my head was against hers.


Finally, he tied the ropes round both of us so that we were held together, not able to move as the film I wanted to watch was started, and he took Mum somewhere.


When she came back, she was also tied with ropes, as she lay on the couch, her mouth taped over with orange tape as well as the masked man tied her ankles and legs.  He then left us to enjoy ourselves…


She put the last book away and sat back.  It had been a very strange year, and those stories were all strange as well…  She then looked at her own son and daughter, sitting on the couch, rolled up scarves between their mouths and their bodies tied with ropes.


“At least I’m not the only one,” she said as they looked at her.  “I’ll go and cook tea…”







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