How the fuck did I end up in this situation?
I mean, bloody hell, I only run a newsagents in this town. I’ve never hurt anyone – not intentionally anyway - and I’ve always been nice to people when they come into my store, so what the hell have I done to deserve this now?
Ouch! That bloody hurt, that did, but there’s not a hell of a lot I can do about it even if I wanted to. There’s a grunting from opposite me, and the sound of slapping makes me look up to see Hazel turning her face away and burying it in Carol’s shoulder. Never mind what’s happening to me, there’s no fucking way they should be involved in this – yet they are. Much as I find it hard to admit it, it’s my fault as well. I want to call out to them, and let them know everything will be all right, but I can’t. I just can’t.
My wrists are beginning to ache, and I very much want to scratch the itch that’s beginning to develop there, but I can’t even move them to begin to relieve that feeling. I need to distract myself, stay calm, and make sure the girls don’t see how I’m really feeling……
So how did this happen? It had been an ordinary day as far as I could tell – the locals came in and out for their papers, cigarettes and sweets, and nothing out of the ordinary happened. Hazel had popped in at about four o’clock on her way home, to pick up the house keys from me, and went straight out again, but apart from that nothing at all. She had been in town with friends, and dressed in a way I know the youngsters today love, but I find mildly annoying. Why on earth do the young girls today think it’s all right to wear jeans under a sundress? All right, when I was a youth the legs of the jeans had to be tucked into the boots, but with a t-shirt, not a sundress?
OK, not relevant to what’s happening now. My sister Carol had popped in an hour or so later to see if I was free tonight to pop out. I had nothing else planned, so I said I’d be free. Since I kicked that sorry excuse for a husband out, I’ve kept myself to myself in the main, but a night out was just what the doctor had ordered at that point. Just goes to show how much I knew – dammit, does that have to be so tight?
Carol just tried to say something, but she thought better of it when that bloke went towards her. She saw what happened to Hazel, and I’m not surprised she decided against it. God, why did they have to be in this state when I came back?
Where was I? Oh yeah – I shut the shop up at about seven, and headed for home. I was enjoying the cool air as the evening drew in, and thinking of what I could do with Carol tonight, and paying no attention to all to what was around me as I turned into the drive to my house. I didn’t even see the blue car parked outside, or if I did it hadn’t registered in my brain.
I opened the door, walked in and called out for Hazel. When I didn’t get an answer, I just assumed that she was upstairs with her headphones on. It was only when I walked into the front room then everything started to go haywire.
Dammit – that rope around me is really digging into my chest now. Whoever these guys are seem to think that the terror they’ve created is not enough – they have to show what big men they are by preventing innocent women from getting in the way. I try to tell them that, but only grunting is getting out of my mouth at the moment, and that seems to amuse them more than upset them.
Where was I? I walked into the front room, and almost fall to the floor when I see Hazel sitting on the floor in front of the couch. She was still wearing her brown sundress, blue jeans and brown Ugg boots, but she was staring at me with tear filled eyes. It took a few minutes more to register the fact that her mouth was covered in brown tape, but in that time someone had grabbed me from behind and slapped a gloved hand over my mouth.
Someone hissed into my ear words to the effect that if I said or did anything they deemed out of turn, then it would be Hazel who got hurt. I looked at my daughter, and realised that her hands were pulled behind her back. I also saw the brown rope that was holding her ankles together side by side – my brain had failed to recognise what was going on, so great had the shock been seen of seeing my daughter like this. Looking at her, I also realised there was some rope around her legs as well, holding them together above her knees.
Hazel was trying to call out to me, but all I could hear was “Mmm. Mmm. Hlp m.” I knew that whatever was over her mouth was not the only thing that was stopping her talking, but all I wanted to do was hold her and ask if she was all right. Not possible while that hand was over my mouth – and was that the only other person in the room?
She was squirming around on the floor, and moving her head to her right, but I got the shock of my life when I looked at what she was indicating.
Carol was standing there, and behind her with his hands on her arms was my no-good ex-husband, a big grin across his face. I screamed at him something that loosely translated as “What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” when he pushed Carol towards me and sat down on the couch behind Hazel. When I threw him out, it was because I’d found out about his “evening class” work, but like an idiot I hadn’t told the police about it. Now my – no, our daughter was in trouble because of his “work” and my stupidity.
Oh lord – I was so lost in my thoughts I hadn’t fully realised that part. He had tied up his own daughter so that he could get his own back on me?
Looking at her now, I only want to say how sorry I am that all this has happened, but this bloody gag stops that happening.
Where was I? He looked at Hazel, and said something about how this was payback time for all the trouble I’d caused. Carol had apparently arrived a few minutes before I did, dressed for bear hunting in a tight white blouse, black leather dress and jacket and short black boots, and walked right into him doing this.
I was pushed into a chair, and saw the man who was holding me walk up behind Carol with a length of rope in his hand. He must have been about 18, and that bastard who had been my husband introduced him as his “apprentice”. He got up from the couch, walked behind me and held my head in his hands as the yob bound Carol’s hands behind her back, then pushed her down beside Hazel and started to tie her ankles together. Carol, bless her, started to talk to Hazel and try to calm her down, saying everything was going to be all right. I wasn’t so sure myself – those last few days before I kicked him out had shown me just what sort of man my ex was.
The youngster finished tying Carol up, then grabbed her around the face and shoved a handkerchief into her mouth before picking up a roll of brown tape and wrapping it around her head. As he was doing this, my ex pulled my arm onto the arm of the chair I was sitting on and began to tie the one to the other with rope, whispering all sorts of obscenities into my ear as he did so. I was still dressed for work, and hadn’t even taken my brown leather blazer off, but the rope still cut into my wrists as he tied it off tightly. The other arm followed, and as I looked up I saw my daughter and sister sitting looking at me with eyes filled with fear and hate.
Fucking hell! My wonderful ex-husband just pulled that rope so tight I can hardly breathe, and my chest feels like it hurts even to do that. I look down and see he’s wound a long length of rope several times round, so that there’s no way I can lean forward now. I watch as he stands up, walks round and – grabs his mate by the throat? So there is still a small spark of decency in him – he’s mad as heel that he slapped Hazel and that young man is now seeing the side of him I saw all those months ago. I would have said thank you, but before he started tying me to the back of the chair he had stuffed a cloth in my mouth and gagged me as well, as speech was impossible.
He looks at Hazel, and then turns back to me as he pulls my ankle against a leg of the chair and starts to lash the two together. Unlike my jacket, the brown fabric boots I’m wearing over my leggings don’t offer that much protection and I start to wince as the rope is pulled tightly. It hurts even more on the other side when he fixes that ankle to the other leg, but I’m in no position to answer back. Believe me; I dearly want to, but….. O lord, the helplessness of this situation is beginning to sink in.
Hazel and Carol are still looking at me and Hazel’s father, as he stands up and walks round to look at all three of us. His “friend” has picked up my bag and seems to be looking for something – o shit, the shop keys! That’s what the bastard meant about payback – he’s going to rob the shop! I glare at him as he takes the keys, waves them in front of my face and laughs at me. If only I could get my hands on him – but he’s made damn sure that’s not going to happen!!
The two of them walk out of the room, and I listen as the front door shuts. Lord, how I wish I could take Hazel and hold her close to me now, but that’s not possible. Carol nods as if she can read my mind, and rests her head against my daughters. She keeps trying to free her wrists, but they seem to be too tightly bound together.
Hang on a minute – he’s going to the shop? Then he won’t…… he can’t….. If I could smile, I’d be grinning broadly from ear to ear now. Instead, I try to say to the others to relax, but all that comes out is a loud mmphing as I nod my head up and down. The other two stare at me, but something in their eyes tells me they realise I’m trying to say everything will be all right.
After all, that idiot bastard won’t know that I changed the alarm after he left, or that the police won’t just go to the shop when the silent alarm trips, but here as well. When you discover your ex is a burglar, and he’s robbed your shop at least once, it pays to plan ahead. I only wish I could see his face when they get him, the sanctimonious git….