I want it to stop hurting, but it won’t. The only way I can think of to make the pain stop would be if I could move my arms, and the two guys in the Dubya masks have made that impossible. Even if I wanted to move them, or anything about myself, I can’t – and the really stupid thing is, I could have decided not to come in the open door and none of this would have happened. None of it at all.
If I’m being totally honest with myself, I never liked Mrs Rigby anyway. Even on the few times when we had spoken to exchange a few “pleasantries”, I got the distinct feeling that she was always looking down at me, as if I was beneath even her ability to recognise, never mind acknowledge. Well, she did seem to move in completely different circles from me – not too surprising, given she was related to some serious money while I... Well, I had my wits about me and the capacity to earn what I could not get through the advantages of birth. That’s why we lived in the same street – I had a huge mortgage that I could just about afford, and she had “old money” to finance her life.
As I say, I didn’t like her too much, but I did collect her deliveries from time to time, so when the box was left with me I thought nothing of it. The sun was just starting to set when I saw her car pull up, and she stepped out from behind the wheel. As I watched her walking up her driveway, the wind blowing her brown chiffon skirt round as she stepped, I continued to drink my coffee, resolved to finish it before I took the package round.
It must have been ten minutes before I picked up the box and closed my front door behind me, taking the long way round to avoid mussing up her perfectly manicured lawn before going up to her front door and knocking. To my own surprise, the door swung open, and I called in to say I had a parcel for her.
There was no reply, so I stepped in and placed the parcel on a small side table that lay just inside. Looking round the hallway, I could see that she had some tastes in terms of colour schemes – the muted cream on the walls complementing the wooden staircase. That only took my notice for a fleeting moment, before the most shocking sight of my life burst upon me.
A door to the left of the staircase opened suddenly, and Mrs Rigby ran out, her eyes opening in surprise as she saw me standing there. Her arms were pulled behind her back, and what looked like a brown scarf was protruding from her lips as she called out mutely. Looking back, I should have recognised it as a warning and turned tail then, but I stood there, transfixed and horrified at what was happening.
That was when the two Dubyas came out, and as one grabbed hold of Mrs Rigby the other one ran to the door, pushing me to one side as he slammed it shut and then grabbing my arm. I saw the white surgical gloves on his hands, and stared up at the plastic fixed expression in the mask that covered his face.
“Dammit – the last thing we needed was someone else,” the man with Mrs Rigby said as he looked at me, “Bring her in here. We’ll just have to stop her from raising the alarm.”
Mrs Rigby looked at me with a look of regret and fear as we were taken back into her front room. The blinds had been drawn, casting a grey gloom over the furnishings as we were taken in. Mrs Rigby was in front of me, and I could see that her wrists were crossed and tied together behind her back with a plastic zip tie. The strip covered the cuffs of her thin brown blouse, which as she was forced to sit down showed the white bra that she was wearing underneath.
As for me – there was a sick horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach, and I was struggling not to throw up there and then. It was my day off, so unlike Mrs Rigby I was casually dressed, the legs of my jeans tucked into the pair of grey corduroy boots that I had pulled on when I left the house. The old Black Sabbath t-shirt I also had on had caused her some glances, but given the gag in her mouth I was grateful she couldn’t offer some caustic comment.
“Start looking,” the one who had spoken earlier said, and as one Dubya left the other took another zip tie out of a bag that was on the coffee table and pulled it around Mrs Rigby’s ankles. The strip cut into her bare skin as they were secured together, and as he repeated the process over her skirt above her knees I could see she was panicking slightly.
Now, I have to confess this was not the first time I’d been in this sort of situation, although those times were with a past boyfriend who proved to be a bit kinky and a bit untrustworthy at times. I could see she was starting to panic, so I asked her to calm down or she may end up in more trouble than she could cope with. She looked over at me, her eyebrows raised, and I simply told her to keep calm, breath through her nose and not fight.
“Sound advice,” the intruder said as he took a final ziptie and used it to push the cloth back into Mrs Rigby’s mouth, the thin strip against the corner of her mouth as the cloth was pulled further back. He then looked at me and ordered me to stand up, turn round and put my own hands behind my back.
As the rasp of the plastic and the feel against my wrists increased, I mentally started to calm myself down, staying or trying to stay serene as I was forced to sit back down and my ankles and legs were secured. “Keep quiet,” he said as she started to turn out the cupboards and drawers in the front room, looking for valuables as he did so. I looked at Mrs Rigby and continued to talk to her, keeping her calm and reassuring her it would all be over soon. Much as I may not like her, the last thing I wanted to do was watch someone choke to death on their own vomit without being able to help them.
The second Dubya came back, carrying a sack and also a coil of washing line. “Found this in the kitchen,” he said, “Given we have two of them, I think a little more security is needed.”
“Good point,” the other one said as he made Mrs Rigby stand up and sit on the floor. “Bring her over and sit her behind her and we’ll keep them together.”
As I was made to sit down, he took the rope and passed it around Mrs Rigby’s legs, pulling them tightly together, and then brought it up to pass it around our waists, forcing us together back to back and pressing our arms against each other. As the rope went around my own legs, the second man balled up a green chiffon scarf and knelt next to me.
“Quiet now,” he said as he pinched my nose and forced the cloth into my open mouth, before using one of those blasted plastic strips to keep it in place. I grunted as the men picked up their bags and walked out, closing the door behind them.
That had been an hour ago, and now the pain is just getting worse. There’s worse – I really need to go to the toilet, and if I was on my own I would have probably forgot decorum and done it where I was. I’m not however, and decorum...
Decorum just went out of the window – I can feel a warm damp patch behind me, but I know it’s not me. I turn my head to look over my shoulder, and hear Mrs Rigby say what sounds like “Sry” through her gag. I press my hand against hers, to show I understand, and decide not to let manners count any more. It would, of course, be exactly that moment that the door opened and Mr Rigby walked in.
“Holy....” was all he said before he ran to the kitchen, returning with a pair of sharp scissors. As the rope and plastic were cut away, we both stood up unsteadily and looked at each other, dark patches between our legs. He cut the strip around his wife’s mouth, and as she pulled out the damp cloth from her mouth she whispered “Thank you” while I waited for my own gag to be removed.
After that, Mrs Rigby – sorry, Eleanor and I have become friends, after a fashion. After all, shared experience and shared relief must count for something...