The Games Player – From The Other Side
There’s four of us in the family – well, five if you count Mum. Or six if you count Marge, Mum’s partner. I’m Danni, the oldest at twelve, Natalie is eleven, Jane ten and Kylie eight. We’ve all lived on the outskirts of town since we moved here from Brisbane four years ago – Mum’s an actress, and she got a part on a BBC series.
We love living here, and every weekend we dress up and have fun as a family. The day this all happened, it was summer, and I was wearing a pink pinafore dress with a checked pattern on it, over a white top with puffed sleeves. I also had on white tights, and pink shoes.
I thought I looked good as I checked myself in the mirror, adjusting the little pink bow in my long brown hair.
“That does look nice on you,” Natalie said as she stood in the doorway. She was wearing a pink dress with a floral print, which had a red sash round her waist and a lace hem to the skirt, white tights and white shoes, with a short sleeved white t-shirt under her dress. She also had a red headband in her hair, with a rose at the side of it.
“So where are the other two,” I asked as I turned round.
“Kylie and Jane? Talking in their bedroom. Come on down – Mum and Marge want a word.”
I smiled and nodded as I followed her down the stairs, to find our mum in the kitchen, with Marge sitting at the table with a mug of coffee in her hands. Mum was wearing a green checked shirt dress that buttoned up the front, the sleeves rolled back to her elbows, and matching green shoes.
Marge was wearing a sleeveless purple checked dress and cream flat shoes, her dark hair in a bun, but she smiled as she said “the girls have really gone for it today, Helen.”
“I guess they have,” Mum said with a smile, “The other two all dressed up?”
“They are – so when do we head to the theatre,” Natalie asked as she took a glass of juice from Mum.
“In an hour or two,” Marge said with a smile, “until then – now who could that be at the door?”
“I don’t know,” Mum said as she looked at Marge, “but I’ll go and find out.” We both watched as she walked out of the kitchen and towards the front door, and heard her say “Hello, how can I help you?”
Marge turned and looked at the door as we both heard low voices, before Mum came back with two other people – a man and a woman. Both were smartly dressed – the man was wearing a dark suit, white shirt, tie and dark shoes, and the woman a black jacket and dress with a white top underneath the jacket, tights and black shoes. I also noticed they both had dark glasses on – and they both wore dark gloves, the woman carrying a large shoulder bag.
“Marge… Danni… Natalie…”
“What is it,” Marge said as she looked at the couple.
“I’m afraid I got some dates mixed up,” Mum said as she looked at us, “I booked a special surprise for all of us, but I thought it was next week. This,” she said as she looked at the couple, “are a couple of fellow actors – there’s a storyline coming up in my show that I wanted to act out, and I wanted you to help me act it out as a surprise.”
“Oh,” I said as Natalie and I looked at each other, “what storyline is that Mum?”
“Well,” Mum said as she looked at them, “in an upcoming episode, the family and I are going to be taken hostage – and I wanted to know how that would feel. Surprise.”
Marge looked at Mum, and then at the couple before she said “is this… Is this a game you want us all to play?” Mum nodded, and I swear Marge’s face paled before she said “okay then – I can always cancel the tickets and get them rebooked.” Marge worked for the theatre we were going to, you see.
“Please do so,” the man said with a smile as Marge took out her mobile phone, “and then, as the first part of the game, you can give me your phone while my friend here makes sure none of you can raise the alarm.”
“How is she going to do that,” I asked – and then the woman put her bag down, and took out of the top two lengths of white rope. She gave us each one to hold, before she took a third length out and said “well, if we are taking you all hostage, we have to do it properly, but I promise you it will not hurt. Let me show you on your mother.”
“Watch me, girls,” Mum said as the woman went behind her, and we saw her take Mum’s hands behind her back, Marge watching as she talked to the theatre. She seemed to be doing something with the rope before she said “come and have a look.” When we walked round and looked at her, we saw the woman had used the rope to secure her wrists together behind her back, so that she could not move them apart.
“Oh wow – you really are taking us hostage,” Natalie said quietly as the woman smiled and nodded.
“That’s right – and it’s your turn now. Give me the rope back, and put your hands behind your back.”
“What about Kylie and Jane – are you going to do this to them as well,” I asked as Natalie let the woman take her hands behind her back.
“You all have to play,” Mum said with a smile as the man took Marge’s phone, and then a length of rope from the bag. “So when you are both ready, the lady is going to take you up to their room, so that you can tell them what Is happening.”
“What about you and Marge, Mum?”
“I will make sure they are playing as well,” the man said as he helped Marge to stand up, and took her hands behind her back. I nodded as the woman stood behind Natalie, and then walked behind me, taking the rope from my hands as she then took them behind my back.
I felt her crossing my wrists, and then I felt the rope rubbing on them as she gently forced them together. I had thought it would feel rough, but it didn’t – in fact, it felt soft, but as she took the rope round and between my arms, and then felt it tighten as she tied the ends together, it was actually very comfortable.
“Now then,” the man said as he took four longer lengths of rope from the bag, “the next thing we do is really make sure none of you can move your arms. My friend is going to take care of both of you, while I take care of your mother and her partner.”
I looked at Natalie before we both nodded, as the woman took one of the lengths of rope and doubled it over, before she passed it round my arms and tummy. As she pulled it tighter, I felt my arms being forced against my sides, as he took it round me a few times, forming two bands before she secured the ends again behind my back. I then watched as she did the same thing to Natalie, her dress stretching a little as she did so.
I then looked at Mum and Marge, who also had their arms forced into their sides by the man – but they looked different, the two bands fr4aming their chests as I looked at them, and then heard Mum gasp.
“Mum, are you…”
“No, I’m all right,” she said with a smile, “it just feels tight, that’s all.”
Marge nodded as the man put his gloved hands on her shoulders, and she wriggled round. “So what happened now Helen,” she asked quietly.
“Well, I’m going to ask you two to take me to see your sisters,” the woman said as the man took several lengths of rope from the bag, “and we can make sure you all become my hostages, as part of the game. Where do we need to go?”
“Upstairs,” Natalie said, but as we walked out, I heard the man say “now then, where do you keep your valuables?” I just thought it was part of the game, as we walked up the stairs and then stopped outside Jane’s room.
“You two still in there,” I asked, and we all heard Jane say “sure – come on in.” The woman opened the door, and then both Kylie and Jane looked at us as we walked in.
“Wow,” Kylie said as she looked at us, “what happened to you two?” Our youngest sister was wearing a similar style of dress to Natalie, only hers was pink and white with a green sash and hem. She also had on a white t-shirt and tights, but with black shoes. Jane was wearing a blue chintz-style wrap dress with capped sleeves, as well as white tights and shoes.
“Well,” I said as I looked at them, “Mum had booked this actress and her partner to help her act out a role – apparently she’s doing an episode where she and her family are taken hostage, and she wanted to have us all act it out. Is that right?”
“That’s right,” the lady said as she put her bag down, “come and look at your sisters, both of you.” I smiled as Kylie and Jane came over to look at me and Natalie before Jane looked at me and said “are we all going to be like that?”
“We are – but it doesn’t hurt, it’s just like being hugged all the time,” Natalie said, and I nodded in support. The woman then took more rope out of her bag, and said “so it’s now your turn. Just stand still, and put your hands behind your back.”
As we watched her start to tie the rope round Jane’s wrists, Natalie whispered into my ear “is this really a game?”
“I don’t know,” I replied just as quietly as she tied the rope off, and then started to do the same to Kylie, “but we’re going to make sure it’s a game, aren’t we?”
I nodded as we both watched her use the longer ropes to make sure the arms of our sisters stayed against their sides, Kylie giggling as the rope pulled her arms in, so that we were all the same.
“Now then,” the woman said as she looked at us, “we’re going to make sure you two stay in this room, and your sisters in another room – your mother and Marge will be in their room, but we will be keeping an eye on you to make sure you are all right.”
“How are you going to make sure we stay in this room,” Kylie said with a grin.
“I want you both to sit on the bed,” the woman said with a smile, “and then I will show you.” We watched Kylie and Jane sit side by side as she put her bag on the floor and then used more rope to bind their ankles tightly together side by side., and then their legs together below their knees, folding their skirts back as she did so.
“Look at us,” Kylie said with a grin as she helped them to sit side by side on the bed, and then used more rope to secure their ankles to the foot of the bed.
“Now, I need to do one more thing,” the woman said as she took a roll of white tape from the roll,” and that’s make sure my hostages cannot call for help. I’ll put your television on for you to watch, and then I’ll take care of your sisters.”
She tore a strip of tape from the roll, and then pressed it firmly down over Kylie’s mouth, before she did the same to Jane. “Guess they are going to be quiet now,” Natalie said as she nudged me.
“First time for everything,” I giggled as they both looked at me, and then shook their heads as the woman picked her bag up.
“Show me your bedroom,” she said as she looked at me, and I led her to the room I used, Natalie and me sitting on the edge of my bed as she took more rope, crossed my ankles and started to tie the rope tightly round them.
“Can I ask you a question,” I said quietly as I saw her take the rope between my legs, making it tighter.
“This isn’t a game, a play act for Mum, is it? You’re a real robber?”
The woman finished securing the ends, and then looked at me before she nodded. “Does that scare you?”
“It should but it doesn’t, does it Nats?”
Natalie shook her head as the woman crossed and secured her ankles together as well. She then folded the hem of her skirt back and tied her legs together below her knees before she did the same thing to me.
“I’m not going to secure you to the bed, fi you promise to stay here,” she said, and we both looked at each other before nodding. The woman then helped us to lie on our backs, before she pressed the white tape down over our mouths. It felt funny, but I knew we were going to be all right.”
“Enjoying the game, girls?”
We both looked to the door to see Mum standing there, and nodded as the woman turned on my radio. She then nodded as she walked to her room, and the door to my room was closed, leaving us there.
Every few minutes, either the man or the woman would come in and check on how we were, as we both lay there on our sides, looking at each other – it was more comfortable that way. After a while though, I realized they had stopped coming into my room, and looked at Natalie.
We both listened for a while, before Natalie mumbled “hdhnnhrthm… Whdwhdh?”
“Ghhndlhk?” As she watched, I rolled over and managed to sit myself up, then twist my ankles so they were side by side before I stood on the bedroom floor. I turned slightly and watched Natalie as she managed to stand up as well, and then we both jumped as quietly as we could to the bedroom door.
I turned and looked over my shoulder, the ropes on my body rubbing on me as I managed to pull the handle down and get the door open before we both made our way out and looked round.
“Thghrls,” I said, Natalie nodding as we jumped towards Jane’s room. The door was slightly open, and as we looked in we saw that both her and Kylie had fallen asleep, their chests rising and falling as they lay there.
“Wht,” I said as I looked at Natalie.
“Hndhurs,” I said to her as we both left them there, and turned to jump to Mum and Madge’s bedroom. As we looked in, we heard Mum say “Hmghddhd – huhhllrhtt?”
“Hrffhnmhm,” I said as I looked at her and Marge. They were lying on their sides on her bed, facing each other, and like us they both had their ankles tied together and their legs tied together below their knees – but I could see they had their legs bent, and Mum had her ankles tied to the ropes behind her back.
Marge looked at us as she said “chmhfrrhrr,” and we both jumped over, Marge nodding and encouraging us as we sat on the bed behind Mum. She looked over her shoulder, the white tape over her mouth and her cheeks puffed out, before she said “Chnnuhphtyhmmhdffnhrmhfhnghrs?”
I nodded and moved so that my mouth was near her hand, as she started to try and rub on the edge of the tape with her fingers, while Natalie rested her head on her legs. It took an age, but eventually she was able to peel the tape away as I said “thanks mum – they were real robbers, weren’t they?”
She nodded as she said “Hmshhshrheee – thhfhrs?”
“Sleeping – they seem to be all right. They left them in Jane’s room, their ankles tied to the bed.” I looked at the knots, and said “Mum, I can’t undo these knots – what are we going to do?”
“Shpprfhnn – hndrhhrr,” she said as she looked at the bedside unit. I nodded as I stood up and jumped over, then managed to open a drawer to see a spare mobile phone there. Somehow, I got it up onto the top, and with my fingers not only turn it on, but press the emergency call button.
“Which service please?”
“Police,” I said as I heard Mum start to cry, “we’ve been robbed, and we’re tied up. I’m the only one who can speak – we need help please….”
It took the police only a few minutes to come to our house, and once we were all free Mum and Marge hugged both me and Natalie, before Marge went to free our sisters. Mum told us they were the Games Players – and then I knew why they had done what they did. I’d read about them, but to actually experience them in our house was something else…