It must have been about three months ago. Eve had just come home from her last trip, and she was sitting talking with me in the front room about our plans for the next few weeks. It was a typical day – a little damp outside, but nothing unusual was going on.
Eve was wearing a white short sleeved polo shirt, bleached denim shorts and flat shoes, with a blue bandana tied over her hair. I’d just got back from a shopping trip, and hadn’t taken my jacket off yet, so I was sat there in my red jumper, grey skirt and knee length boots, talking away happily when the front doorbell rang.
I clearly remember saying “Can you get that, Eve”, and watching her as she stood up and made her way to the front door. The next thing I knew was, while I was looking through some information I had to hand, Eve saying “Mum?” and me looking up.
Looking up, I saw that someone had come in with Eve. He was a young man, about twenty I would think, with his arm around Eve’s chest and – well, the first thing I noticed was the woollen scarf that covered the lower half of his face and the sunglasses.
The next thing I saw was the gun that he was holding against Eve’s head.
“This is a robbery,” he said, “Just do as you’re told and neither you nor your daughter will be hurt.”
“All right, all right,” I said as I put the paper I was reading down and stood up,” Just please don’t hurt us.”
“Go and sit with your mother,” he said as he pushed Eve towards me. I gave her a reassuring hug as we both sat down and looked at him. He was wearing a dark sweatshirt and blue jeans, and stood looking at both of us.
“All right, ladies, all I want is your valuables and no-one needs to get hurt. Do you understand?”
“Yes – but what are you going to do to us,” Eve said as she looked at him.
“Well, I need to make sure neither of you can get in my way, so I’m afraid I need to make sure you’re both securely kept somewhere.”
“You mean you’re going to tie us up?” I said with a quiver in my voice.
“That’s right – so the first thing I want you to do is to close the curtains. Do it,” he said pointing to Eve, “without attracting attention to yourself.”
She slowly stood up, walked over and pulled the curtains in the front room shut, before returning and sitting next to me.
“Very good – now you’re going to do something for me.”
“What,” Eve replied, and the man handed a length of white rope, about six foot long.
“I want you to find the centre of the rope and double it up. While she’s doing that, I want you,” he said pointing at me, “to turn round with your hands behind your back and cross your wrists so that your daughter can see them.”
“All right – just do as he says, Eve,” I whispered, and as she doubled the rope over I moved myself round so that I was sitting on the edge of the couch, with my back to Eve. He moved round so that he could see both of us.
“Take the rope, and pass it around your mother’s wrists, then put the two ends through the loops and pull as tightly as you can. Do it properly – I’m watching.”
“Sorry, Mum,” Eve whispered as she did what she was asked to do. I stifled a grunt as the rope bit into my wrist through the sleeves of my jumper, and sat still.
“Now, pass it round her wrists three more times, pulling tightly each time, and pass the ends that are left back through the loop when you are done.”
I could feel the ropes tightening each time she did this, but I still sat silently.
“Now, take the ends and pass them between your mother’s wrists – and remember to pull tightly.”
Eve did as she was told, so that the already tight loops were further tightened around my wrists. When she had finished, the intruder told her to tie the ends together with a knot on top of the ropes, and as she did so I tried reaching round with my fingers - to no avail.
“Very good – what’s your name?”
“Eve,” she replied.
“All right, Eve – I want you and your mother to come upstairs with me to your room. When we’re there, I’m going to make sure you’re nice and safely secure, then your mother and I are going to go through the house."
“Then I’ll bring her back to you. All right – stand up and walk in front of me. You first, Eve, then your mother.”
We made our way up the staircase, Eve first, then me and finally the young man with his hand on my arm and the gun against my back. At the top of the stairs, Eve went into the door that was facing her and we followed.
Her room was a typical teenagers – posters on the wall, TV on the desk and other paraphernalia scattered around. He took a look around before saying “Lie down on your bed – make yourself comfortable. Your mother can sit on that chair there.”
He took me over to a chair next to her workstation, and sat me down while Eve lay herself down in the centre of the bed, her head resting on a pillow.
“Don’t move,” he said to me before placing his gun on the bedside table, and taking some more lengths of rope out of his pocket. “Eve, I want you to put your hands together and hold them up as if you are praying.”
Looking at him, Eve did as she was asked, and taking a length of rope he quickly doubled it over and started to wrap it around her wrists, I presume in the same way she had done to me. Three times he passed it around them, then between before tying the ends together, but leaving a foot or so dangling.
“I’m all right mum,” she said looking over to me as he gently pulled her bound wrists up over her head, and secured the loose ends of rope to the centre of the white headboard that was against the wall. I admired her courage as she lay there, watching as the man took another length of rope and started to tie her ankles together, then her legs above and below her knees.
“How does that feel,” he said as he tied the last knot off. “I don’t think I’m going anywhere.” Eve said as she twisted her legs around.
“One last thing,” he said, and he started to reach up to her bandana. That was when I said “No!”
“I beg your pardon.” He said as he turned to look at me.
“Please – leave that scarf alone. Can’t you find something else?”
“Look in the cupboard,” Eve said as she nodded toward her wardrobe. Opening the door, the intruder looked through several racks of scarves and bandanas that were lying there.
“I’m going to put this in your mouth – do you promise not to spit it out before I come back,” he said as he came back, scrunching up a paisley handkerchief in his hand.
“I promise,” Eve said, and he pushed the cloth into her mouth, leaving the ends protruding from her lips.
“Come with me,” he said as he took me by the arm, and I took a quick look at Eve as she lay there quite still before he took me back downstairs.
An hour or so later, he brought me back into Eve’s room. By this time we had been into my bedroom, and he had taken a large Hermes scarf and used it as a gag. Eve looked up and saw the knot he had tied in the centre protruding slightly from my mouth as he brought the chair over and made me sit next to the bed. He then reached over and pulled the handkerchief out of Eve’s mouth.
“If you wait a few minutes, I’ll get you a glass of water – I just need to make sure your mother is secure first.”
“All right,” Eve whispered as she watched him take a length of washing line he had found in the kitchen and begin to pass it around my upper body and arms, securing me to the chair back as he did so. As my arms were constricted into my side, the cord digging into the black leather of my jacket, I kept my eyes fixed on my daughter, wishing I could tell her what had happened.
Once he had secured me to the chair, the man knelt by the side and pushed my ankles together, passing another length of rope around and between them before securing them to the leg of the chair. As I tried to move them, the creak of leather was the only sound that could be heard. Finally, he took one last length of rope and tied my legs together, below my knees and above the top of my boots.
“Don’t move,” the man said as he left the two of us alone. Eve looked up at me, twisting the ropes round her wrists as she did so, and asked “Are you all right, mum.” I nodded; too busy assessing my own predicament to try to even grunt at her.
The intruder came back in with a carton of apple juice, a straw sticking out of the top. He put the straw next to Eve’s lips, and she took a long drink before saying “thank you.”
Walking back over to the wardrobe, he took a white bandana out and rolled it into a band, tying a knot in the middle as he did so. “Open wide and raise your head,” he said as he knelt on the bed next to Eve, and as she did so he pushed the knot into her mouth, tying the ends tightly together at the base of her neck as he did so.
“All right ladies, just try to relax – I’m sure the men of the house will be home soon,” he said as he walked out of the room, closing the door behind him. I looked down at Eve as she lay there, and she returned the look – one of complete serenity and calm at her situation. Even though my mouth was filled with a silk knot, I nodded and kept looking at her.
She tried to move around a bit, but the ropes were holding firm, and she seemed resigned to just waiting – I followed her example
Well, my husband came back a couple of hours later and freed us, but we didn’t report it to the police – after all, nothing was taken.
I’m sitting here now, looking at the list Eve and I made four months ago of the things she wanted to do. There, about fourth on the list, was “Be involved in a robbery and experience what it is like to be tied up.” Each item was ticked off, and at the end was note that said “Thank you – Eve” dated two weeks ago.
Just before the cancer finally took my baby away from me. At least we got to fulfil all of her special requests before that day, and she went to her rest happy…