Side by Side
As I kneel here, looking at Angie as she looks back at me, I’m not sure whether to be scared out of my wits or laugh at the absurdity of it. After all, it’s not every day you come home to find two young men rummaging through your cabinets, and even less likely to find that they are both armed.
We’d been shopping in Knightsbridge for Angie’s 21st birthday, and had had a wonderful time. She’s a lot like me in my younger days, with long blonde hair that falls over her shoulders, and a slim lithe body like I used to have. She dresses to show it off as well, and today she was wearing a pale blue dress cut in a retro style, with a wide black belt around her waist, dark leggings and black leather boots that come up over her knees.
I like to look good as well, but the days when I could pass that style off are long gone, so I chose to wear a grey dogtooth patterned dress coat, with pair of black fabric boots that comes up to just below my knees, and a black scarf tied round my neck.
Anyway, we came home at about two, and walked into the living room to find these two young men looking through the cabinets. They could not have been more than eighteen, with tight fitting t-shirts and jeans, but when they turned to look at us they had these full face clown masks over their heads, the little tufts of red hair sticking out from the side.
Angie was all for running out screaming, had one of them not ran across the room and grabbed her, twisting her arm behind her back as he warned her - what was the phrase, “to shut her bloody trap and keep quiet.” As if to emphasise the point, the other man picked up a baseball bat or something and swung it into his hand, making a dull thudding sound as he did so. Angie looked at him, and at me, and then stopped struggling. It appeared he had got the message over.
We had spent the last fifteen minutes sitting on the floor, facing each other with our hands behind our heads, while they questioned us about where we kept our jewellery, and what the combination for the safe was. Eventually, one of the young men left the room, bringing back a bag which he dropped next to his ‘partner before he left again. I could hear him going up the staircase, so presumably he was about to look for our things upstairs.
The other lad looked at both of us, before saying “We’re going to have some fun now.” Ainge and I were sat so that her feet were next to my waist, and my feet next to hers, our legs side by side. I wondered what he was going to do, as he picked up the bag and opened it, taking out two lengths of brown rope.
“Oh god,” Angie said, “Please don’t tie us up.”
“I’m not going to tie you up,” he said as he looked at us, and I saw Angie relax. “You’re going to tie each other up,” he said as he tossed each of is a length of the rope. “I want you, mummy, to tie your daughter’s ankles together, and she’s going to tie yours. Make it nice and tight now, or my friend will make it hurt like hell later.”
“Mum, I don’t want to...” Angie said as she looked at me, the tears running down her cheeks. I smiled and said that we should do it; at least we’d not try to hurt each other. To show her I was willing, I crossed my own ankles and told her to go ahead, and wrap the rope around them.
“Make sure you take it between your ankles as well,” the young man said as he watched Angie pulling the rope around my feet. I took the length I had in my hand and wrapped it around her ankles, listening to the squeak of the leather as the rope rubbed against it. As I took the rope round and then between her legs, I felt my own ankles been tightened together by Angie, her cries the only sound as she tied the rope off. It felt snug, secure, but I knew this was probably only the beginning.
He reached down and pulled on the rope on my ankles lifting my legs up as he did so, before he said "Good job - now shuffle up so that you can reach each other’s knees.”
I slid along, my skirt catching behind me as I did so, while Ainge moved herself down, the boots squeaking as her legs rubbed against each other. As we stopped, the man handed us each a second length of rope and said “Now tie her legs together, below the knees.”
I looked at Angie, before folding the hem of my dress back. Her own skirt had already ridden up, and I could see the crotch of her leggings. I told her to raise her knees up, and started to bind her legs together as we had been instructed.
I passed the rope around her legs, pulling it tightly as the leather compressed under the cords, and then passed it between her legs, holding them together almost as if they had been placed in a set of rope cuffs. As she stretched her legs out, I could hear the creak of the leather again, so I smiled to show her I understood and lifted my own legs up so that she could tie them together.
Angie passed the rope around my legs, above the top of my boots so that the rope dug into my skin as she pulled it tight. It wasn’t rough, but I could see my flesh paling around the edges as she tied the legs tightly together. Eventually she finished the knot, and I stretched my own legs out, pulling my skirt back down over me.
“Right,” the clown in the clown mask said, “On your knees, facing each other.”
Do you know how difficult it is to move your legs when they are tied together, much less get onto your knees, especially at my age? I mean, my hair may be greying, but I’m not totally unfit. It still took me a few minutes, however, before Angie and I were on our knees, facing each other and wondering what he was going to produce or do next.
I looked at Angie, as she whispered “What now?” As I looked over at our tormentor, I saw him holding a small red rubber ball in his hand, throwing it up and down before he tossed it to me. As I caught it in my hand, he said “Put that in your sweet little daughter’s mouth, mummy - I need her to be quiet.”
I pleaded with him, tried to make him see reason as I saw the panic rising in Angie’s eyes. “Don’t cry,” I said as I brushed her hair out of the way, and turned to him, pleading that she would be quiet. He only snarled and - well, I won’t repeat the language, but in the end I had to push the ball into Angie’s mouth, her teeth biting down on it as he then handed e a roll of black tape.
That ripping sound will stick with me as I tore a strip off and pushed her over her mouth, the strip running from ear to ear as it covered the red ball. He then forced me to tear more off, covering her jaw as the tears ran down her cheeks, until it was a mass of black.
“Msrrmmmm,” Angie mumbled as he passed her a red ball, this time a sponge one and I knew what he was going to force her to do. I just nodde3d as I opened my mouth and let her push the sponge in, feeling it expand in my mouth as it pressed my tongue down, before she covered my lips and jaw with more of the black tape. I just kept quiet nodding to show I was all right, and own eye always know the man next to me.
“Don’t you both look cute,” he said, and I could swear if a voice had a visual, it would have been smiling. He handed me yet another length of rope as he turned Angie’s face to his and said "Start praying, girlie - I want you mother to tie your wrists together.”
“Lkthsss,” Angie mumbled as she put her palms together in front of her. “That’s right," he said as she turned and looked at me, her eyes wide as she nodded. I took the rope and wrapped it round her bare wrists, watching her flinch as I pulled them together, but I knew I had to keep going to protect both of us.
As I passed the rope between her arms, snugly tightening the ropes around her wrist, I looked at Angie, her head bobbing up and down to show she was coping, however scared her eyes showed her to be. Eventually I tied the knot off and looked mutely at our captor, as he tugged at her wrists and then let them drop to her waist.
“That’s very good, mummy,” he said with a laugh, “why don’t you give your daughter a big hug to show her she’s doing fine?”
Well, I reached my arms round Angie and held her to my chest, watching as he took a length of rope and walked behind her. I looked over her shoulder, determined not to show her just how afraid I was as he pulled my wrists together, drawing the two of us close to each other as he wound the rope around my own wrists, the cords biting into my skin as he lashed them together, then took the rope down and tied it around Angie’s ankles as well.
I tried to tell her not to be afraid, but it came out something like “dntcrrmlrt” as I watched him tape a much longer length of rope and pass it over our heads, pulling our upper bodies together as he almost lassoed us to each other. I could feel her hands digging into my stomach as he did this, as well as the rope against my bare arms, but I kept wondering what it must be like for Angie, her chin resting on my shoulder as I felt the soft drop of water on it.
As he passed the rope between our bodies and our arms, I actually realised for the first time that I’m crying as well, my tears falling on her shoulder as I bury my face into the top of her dress. It’s undignified, it’s not proper, but it’s all I can do to stop myself sobbing out loud.
Well, that, and the sponge in my mouth is absorbing so much moisture I doubt I could have spoken. As I felt us been drawn even more tightly together, I wondered how Angie was coping with that rubber ball in her own mouth.
I felt him give the rope one more tug, and then he started to do something to my own ankles. As I looked over my own shoulder, I could see him tying the ends of the rope off around my own feet, even as the other man came in, his bag jangling.
“I’ve got everything,” he said as the tow of them ran out of the room, leaving Angie and I kneeling there, the only sound the squeak of leather and our own moans as well as any street sound from outside.
That had been an hour ago, and we had hardly moved since then, save to try and relieve the pressure on our knees. Mind you, with us lashed together the way we were that was proving extremely difficult, as it was virtually impossible for either of us to move more than a few inches.
I slowly look round the room, wondering if there is anything I can do to try and free us, especially as I can feel Angie almost tickling me with her hands. The way we’re held together, I’m amazed she’s even trying as I look down and...
All right, not I’m really amazed, as I can see she’s somehow managed to work her hands loose and the rope is slipping down over her wrists! She says something like “YUssssss,” as she looks to her side, examining the way our upper bodies and arms are tied together. After a few minutes, she looks at me and says “mgngtmvmhndsp, trntlfff.”
Well, I had no idea what she meant, but as I feel her hand trying to move up my chest I quickly understand. She knows I’ve always been ticklish, and she used to torment me as a young girl by tickling my stomach. It’s worse than that now, but I try and maintain my composure as she manages to push her hands up and take hold of the bottom of the black layer that covers my mouth.
I twist my head round, trying not to grimace or call out too much as she slowly, painfully peels the bottom of the tape away from my skin, until she has enough free to get a grip on the corner. As she pulls one way, I twist my head in the opposite direction, wincing as I feel the tape pulling at my skin as it comes slowly, slowly away until it hangs by the side of my mouth like a scan about to come away.
Angie watches as I twist my head to one side, open my mouth and push the now soaking sponge out of my mouth with my tongue, watching as it bounces off onto the floor with a wet splat. I look at her, taking a few moments to work my jaw and try to get some sensation back, before I say “Are you all right, love?”
She looks at me with a weak smile in her eyes, before nodding towards a table a few feet away from us - one that has out handbags on it where we had left them. “Do you think if we move together we can reach it,” I say, and as she nods she shuffles slightly to the side, taking me with her.
I watch her face as we slowly inch our way sideways, the leather of her boots creaking even more as we do so, and wonder what’s going through her mind - fear, relief, what?
I can’t tell her, how can I? How do I tell her that I recognised the body of one of those two, even with the clown mask on? Or that I recognised his voice when he spoke?
After all, she doesn’t even know I have... had a boyfriend. And I have no idea how to tell her, no idea at all....