Doll Games








“All right, Mister Benson – thank you for letting us know,” Barbara said as Tom watched from the kitchen door, the young blonde putting the phone back into the holder and shaking her head as she turned to look at her partner.


“What’s up?”


“That was the manager of the hotel we were planning to go to for that break – he needs full payment by Tuesday.”


“Hmm…”  Tom looked at Barbara, who was wearing a black pinafore dress over a white jumper, and short black suede boots.  “We’ve also got to sort some other things out this week, haven’t we?”


“Yes – so we need to boost our income again.  Is it so wrong that I get excited at that idea?”


“Well, I do as well,” Tom said with a smile, “when do you next have a day off?”


“Sunday – we have that show on Saturday, remember?  So if we do, where do we go?”


“Come into the kitchen,” Tom said as he turned round, Barbara following and sitting at the table as Tom took a folder from a drawer.  “Ever heard of Bernard Matthews?”


“The Turkey King?”


“No,” Tom said with a smile, “the local one, owns the BM jewellery chain.  I know he is at a convention all weekend – leaving his mother, wife and their two girls in the house.”  He took some photographs from the file and laid them out for Barbara to look at.


“Nice – but the house has a security gate in the wall,” Barbara said as she looked, “so how do we get in?”


“By borrowing a van from a rival…”




“According to the schedule they usually follow,” Tom said as they drove down the country road, “Bernard’s wife Allyson takes their two daughters for a country walk no a Sunday afternoon, while her mother-in-law Esther prepares the Sunday dinner.”


“So we just ring the security bell and get her to let us in?”


“Not as stupid as it sounds,” Tom said, “I checked delivery records – they get some deliveries from us on a Sunday as well, so it is a regular occurrence.”


Barbara nodded as she used her make up mirror to check the dark eye shadow she had put round her eyes.  She was wearing a tight black sweater, leggings and knee length black suede boots, the black cap over her blonde hair.


Tom was also dressed in black – a roll neck sweater, jeans and trainers, his gloved hands caressing the steering wheel as he turned.  His eyes were also encircled with black eye shadow, and a black hat over his short dark hair.


“We’re there,” he said with a smile as they approached a high stone wall, a gate set in the middle with a small metal plague on the side, “ready?”


Barbara nodded as he pulled up and lowered the window, pressing a button and waiting.




“Delivery for Mister Bernard Matthews.”


“Who from?”


“The sender is listed as Ahmid K from Bahrain?”


There was a moment’s silence, before the voice said “come on up” and the gates swung open.  Tom smiled as he entered and drove up the driveway, Barbara slipping a black eye mask on as he did so.


He brought the van to a halt at the side of the large house, and then slipped his own eye mask on before they both got out, Tom carrying a holdall as Barbara cradled the pistol in her gloved hand.




“Oh yes,” she whispered as he rang the front doorbell, and waited until it was opened. 


“Yes, can I…”


“Inside – and no noise,” Barbara whispered as they both walked in, Esther Matthews walking back as she looked at them.  She was in her early fifties, and was wearing a red velvet jacket over a pink sheer blouse.  A white camisole was visible under the blouse, while she was wearing black leggings, the lower legs covered by a pair of knee length grey leather boots.


As the masked man closed the door, the woman said “we need you to remain calm, Mrs Matthews.  Breathe deeply, and do as we say, and there will be no problems.”


“What…  What do you want?”


“Your money, your valuables,” the man said quietly, “but we don’t want to hurt you or anyone else, so just do as we say, and everyone is happy.”


“But you’re barely older than my granddaughters…”


“Yes, we are,” she said, “which means when they come and join you, you need to be mindful of them as well.  We’re going to be here a while, so take a moment to realise we mean business.”


Esther looked at both of them, before she nodded and said “just don’t hurt any of us?”


“As we said, we won’t if everybody behaves,” the girl said with a smile.  “Now, do I smell some roast beef starting to cook?”




“Well, we must not neglect the preparations for your dinner,” the man said, “so let us go to the kitchen, and you can remove your jacket there – may I ask why you put it on?”




The two intruders smiled as the man said “then let us continue in that vein – shall we…”





As the Jeep turned through the gates, Allyson Matthews smiled as she drove to the front of the house, not noticing the brown van that was parked at the side of the house as she came to a stop in front of it. 


“Right – you girls go in and wash up, and then go to the front room and watch some television while I give Grandma a hand,” she said as she got out of the vehicle and opened the rear doors.  The first girl who jumped out was seven years old, and was wearing a yellow cardigan over a white top with black polka dots, a thin orange leather belt fastened round her waist.  She was also wearing orange skirt and tights, and black wellington boots with yellow soles.


The second girl who got out was nine years old, wearing a short sleeved red dress with Nordic patterned leggings and knee length black leather boots.  She had a red hairband holding back her light brown hair, both girls running into the house as Allyson locked the Jeep doors and followed them.


She had long light brown hair, like her older daughter, and was wearing a grey jumper with a deep neckline, fastened at the side with a leather and metal clasp, blue jeans and knee length black leather boots.  She smiled as she walked into the house, closing the door the girls had left open and inhaling.


“Something smells good, Esther,” she said as she walked into the kitchen – and then gasped as she was grabbed from behind, a gloved hand over her mouth and a gun to her head.




She looked at Esther who was standing at the sink, a rolled white scarf pulled between her lips as she looked over, and then at the black clad and masked woman standing against the wall, smiling as she said “you must be Allyson Matthews.   My name is Beauty – and I need you to promise not to scream, so that Best can remove his hand from your mouth.”




“Will you remain calm,” the man behind her said, Allyson nodding as the gloved hand was taken away.  “What’s going on,” she whispered as she felt the man behind her guide her hands behind her back.


“Well, quite simply, we are robbing you, and we are relieving you of your valuables, your money, anything we can use to survive,” Beauty said with a smile.  “In order to do this, we arrived earlier, and we will stay late – so you need to remain calm and do as we say.”


“Robbing us…  Why?”


“You have more than you need, we need what you have,” Best said as he crossed her wrists behind her back, and she felt the rope he was using to lash them tightly together.


“You’re kidding me – this is because you need the money?  Any thief would make that excuse!”


Beauty looked at Allyson, and said “we are not lying – this is about survival in this world for us.”




Allyson looked at Esther as she nodded, and then went back to peeling the potatoes.


“So – you’re going to make sure none of us can raise the alarm?”


“That’s right,” Beauty said Best walked over to where she was standing, and she picked up a sports bag, “and there is no time like the present to let your daughters know what is happening.  If you come with me, I will talk to them.”


Allyson looked at Esther, who nodded as Beauty took her by the arm, Best saying “allow me to sort out the Yorkshire Puddings” as they left the kitchen.


“How old are you two – twenty, twenty-one?”


“No comment – but we are young,” Beauty said as they walked to the main room, hearing the sound of the television as they walked in.


“Hey Mum, how long until…  Mum?”


Both girls looked at Allyson as Beauty walked her in, smiling as she said “let me guess – you want to know what is happening?  Well, let your mother sit down, and I’ll tell you.”


Both girls watched as Allyson sat in an armchair, and Beauty put the bag down, walking over and kneeling in front of the couch the girls were sitting on.  “So – which one of you is Robyn?”


“I am,” the girl wearing a yellow cardigan said quietly.


“So you must be Cobie?”


The older girl nodded as the blonde-haired masked woman said “well, my name is Beauty.”


“Because you are beautiful?”


“Why thank you Cobie,” she said as she looked at her.  “Anyway, I am going to be honest – my friend Best is with your grandmother, helping her to cook your dinner.  But we are here because we are going to rob you.”


“You’re robbers?  Really?”


“Really Robyn,” Beauty said with a smile.  “Now, because we are robbers, it does mean that we have to make sure you, your mother and your grandmother cannot stop us, or raise the alarm.   Have you seen how your mother has her hands behind her back?”


The two girls nodded as Beauty opened the bag, and took out two lengths of rope.  “I use one of these to do that, and in a moment I’ll use another rope to secure her ankles – but first, I am going to secure your ankles together.  Who would like to go first?”


“Will it hurt?”


“No,” Beauty said as she shook her head, “your boots will protect you from that.  So, who wants to be first?”


Robyn and Cobie looked at each other, before Robyn slowly moved her ankles, crossing them.  Cobie watched as Beauty used the rope to secure them together, the rubber of the wellington boots compressed under the tight bands.


“You’re right, it doesn’t hurt,” she said as Cobie did the same, watching Beauty as she secured her ankles together as well.


“See – that means it’s more difficult for you to get up – and after dinner, we’ll do something to make it even more difficult,” Beauty said as she looed at them.  “So, if I get more rope, can I tie your hands behind your back like your mother?”


“Can we Mum?”


“she’s in charge,” Allyson said as Beauty removed two more lengths of rope from the bag and walked behind the couch, making sure both girls had their wrists tied together behind their backs, and then kneeling in front of Allyson and securing her ankles tightly together.


“Do we have to be quiet as well?”


“Yes you do – and just like your grandmother,” Beauty said as she rolled up a white scarf she had taken from her bag.  “Ready?”





“There now,” Best said as he placed the gravy boat on the table, “I think we are ready.”


Esther nodded before she said “whhrhth?”


“In a moment,” Best said as he pulled a chair from the table, “please, be seated.”  Esther sat down and watched as Best knelt to secure her ankles together with more rope.


“Now, do not remove the scarf from your mouth yet,” he said as he went to the door.  “Beauty, my dear, dinner is served.”


“We are coming,” Esther heard the masked female call back, and then she heard the thumping sound before Robyn jumped in, her wellington boots squeaking as they rubbed against each other with each jump.  The scarf between her lips was noticeably darker at the corners of her mouth, as she was helped into the seat by Best.


Cobie was next, the older girl jumping to the other side of the table before she was helped to sit down, and then Allyson took the spare seat.


“Do not remove the gags yet,” Beauty said as she came into the room, and one by one untied the rope from the wrists behind their backs. 




They all nodded as Best said “very well – you may remove the gags, and place them in the bag Beauty is holding.”  He smiled as all four of them reached up and unfastened the knot at the back of their necks, removing the wet scarves and placing them in the clear bag as Beauty walked round.


“This smells amazing, Gran,” Robyn said with a smile as she looked at the table,


“We will bring the plates and dishes round,” Best said as he picked up the platter with the sliced roast beef on it, using a spatula to place meat on the plates as Beauty followed with the roast potatoes.  Bit by bit the dinner was served, before Esther put the gravy boat down, and said” let’s eat.”


“Are you girls all right,” Allyson said ass she looked at Robyn and Cobie.


“We’re fine, Mum,” Cobie said, “I mean, we were scared, but when Beauty explained what was going on, we knew we had no choice.”


“So we just went with it,” Robyn continued, “and we are all safe, aren’t we?”


“I guess so,” Esther said quietly, “so what happens when we have eaten?”


“Well,” Best said, “we take you to clean up and change into something for bed, and then we make sure you really cannot raise the alarm before we go.”


“So we’ll be tied up again?”


“Yes, but more tightly.”


Robyn and Cobie looked at each other, before Robyn said “can we all be in the same room?”


“Of course,” Beauty said.


“And can we have our dolls with us?”


Best and Beauty exchanged a look, before Best said “of course – but they will need to be tied up and gagged as well.”


The girls nodded before Cobie said “Mum, Gran – if we’re all going to be tied up and gagged, can we all really be the same?”


“Of course,” Allyson said, “we’ll sort it all out later.  Can I have some water please?”




“That was wonderful Gran,” Cobie said as she pushed the plate away, “but I need to go to the toilet now.”


“So do I,” Robyn said as she looked at Beauty.


“Very well then – you may as well get changed, and get your dolls at the same time,” Beauty said as she untied their ankles, and took them both by the hands as they left the dining room.


“I thought they would be terrified,” Allyson said as she looked at Best.


“I think they are very brave – and we have only been honest with them,” he said as he sat at the table.


“So this genuinely is about you getting funds so that you – what, buy groceries and pay the bills?”


“Indeed – Beauty and I come from nothing, and only want to be able to be like other people.  It may be a little – unorthodox, but it is the best way for all.”


“I can almost admire that,” Allyson said quietly, “almost.”


“What has this country come to if this is the way you have to live?”


“An excellent question,” Best said quietly, “an excellent question…”





“Okay – are you girls ready,” Beauty said as she stood in the corner of their bedroom.


“Ready,” Cobie said as she and Robyn turned round, both wearing identical pyjamas.  The top was aquamarine blue, with a row of three buttons at the front neckline, while the bottoms were a lighter blue with pictures of sea animals on them, and blue elasticated cuffs.


Robyn had her hair in two bunches, while Cobie had her hair in a ponytail – as did their dolls.  Beauty also noticed the two dolls were wearing identical pyjamas, as she said “so you will all be the same?”


“Yeah,” Robyn said as she hugged her doll, “so what’s going to happen now?”


“Let’s go downstairs,” Beauty said as the girls walked with her, and they went down the stairs, Best nodding as they looked in the dining room.


“Why don’t you go with the girls,” he said as he looked at Allyson, “and I’ll take Esther to get ready – and to relieve her of her valuables.”


“I’ll be all right,” Esther said, Allyson nodding as they walked into the front room.


“So, we are going to tie you all up, and gag you,” Beauty said as she looked in the bag, and took out a knife and a roll of thin twine, “and we are going to start with your dolls.  I’m going to tie them up, and then put some tape over their mouths – and then it is your turn.”


Robyn and Cobie nodded as they watched Beauty take each doll in turn, and wound the twine round the ankles of the doll, then wound the twine up so that their legs were held together, their hands against their waists, and around their arms and the upper body.  They both nodded as they took the dolls back, while Beauty took a roll of white tape and cut a small strip off, and then cut that strip in half before covering the mouths of the two girls.


“Do you see the shape of their mouths under the tape?”


“Yeah – will we be like this?”


“Well, your hands will be behind your back – but yes, you will look like that.  So I give your dolls to your mother, and then stand facing her, with your hands behind your backs.”


“You’re both very brave girls,” Allyson said as the girls stood in front of her, feeling Beauty as their wrists were crossed and tied tightly together with lengths of rope.  They could feel her taking the rope around and between their hands, before she tied it off out of reach of their fingers.


“What’s the longer rope for,” Allyson said quietly as Beauty doubled it over, and then wrapped it round Robyn’s body, pulling it tight and making two bands as her arms were forced against her sides.


“IT’s all right Mum – it feels nice actually,” the young girl said as Beauty pulled the bands tighter behind her back, and then fed the rope under one arm, up and around the back of her neck, then under her other arm.


“There – like a long hug,” she said as Allyson leaned forward and stroked her daughter’s hand with her cheek.


“I guess we really are all going to be the same,” she said with a smile as she looked at Cobie, her older daughter biting her lip as her arms were forced against her sides as well.”


“You are indeed – now sit down girls…”






“I think that is everything,” Esther said as she sat on her bed, watching Best as he emptied the contents of a jewellery box into a black sack.


“I think so as well – thank you for cooperating.”


“Well, if it does help you to get by – we have insurance…”


“Easily the best attitude to take – which is why you have kept your rings,” Best said as he replaced the box and closed the drawer.  He looked at the older woman, the flecks of grey in her brown hair, and said “so you are all wearing the same pyjamas?”


“We are – if we are all going to be bound and gagged the same way, it will help,” Esther replied as she pulled on the sleeves of her top.


“I can understand that” Best said as he looked at Esther, and then said “on which note, I need you to stand up.”


“Time to use those, is it,” Esther said as she looked at the two lengths of rope on the bed, one much longer than the other.


“Indeed – please put your hands behind your back, and don’t move.”   He picked up the shorter length and doubled it over, before he used it to secure Esther’s wrists together, taking it round and between her limbs before securing the ends on top.  He then doubled over the longer length of rope, and used it to secure her upper body, forming two bands above and below her chest so that they were fixed in place, then cinching the bands by taking it under one arm, up and around the back of her neck, and then under the other arm.


“That’s – tight,” Esther whispered as Best secured the ends, “and you say we will all be like this?”


“It is necessary – if it is not tight, you could hurt yourselves after we have gone, and that would not be good,” Best said quietly as Esther twisted round.  “So, shall we go and join the girls?”  She nodded as they walked down the stairs, Allyson saying “are you all right,” as she came into the front room.


“I’m fine – girls?”


“We’re fine Gran,” Cobie said as they looked over from the couch, the bound and gagged dolls on their laps as they twisted round.  She could see the bands of rope that, like her, held their arms against their sides, but she could also see the bands tied round their ankles, their legs above and below their knees – and the length of twine that held their big toes together.


“Allyson, if you will come with me?”


“Don’t start anything until I come back,” their mother said as she left the room, Beauty smiling as she said “it doesn’t hurt, does it?”


“No – thank you,” Robyn said as Esther sat in the armchair, Beauty bringing ropes over from the bag and putting her ankles together side by side before she bound them together.  She found herself watching as she cinched the binding there, then secured her legs together below her knees, and finally above her knees, cinching each band in turn.


“So are you going to gag us now,” she said as Beauty stood up.


“Do you wish to know how you will be kept quiet, girls?”


“Yes please,” both Robyn and Cobie said as she went to the bag, and fetched a clean white cloth, folding it into a pad as she came back and said “open your mouth, Esther.”


“Watch, girls,” the older woman said as Beauty pushed the cloth into the open space of her mouth, then she closed her lips as the masked woman peeled a length of white tape from the roll.  She pressed it down over Esther’s mouth, using her fingers to make sure it adhered to the contours of her mouth as the girls said “wow – that will keep us quiet.”


“Yes, it will – ready girls?”


The girls nodded as Beauty made sure they stayed quiet as well, then Robyn said “chnnwhshnhlng?”


“Of course you can – when your mother comes in.”




“I suppose I should be grateful,” Allyson said before she grunted as Best pulled the rope tighter behind her, “you have kept your word, and you have not harmed us.”


“I told you that would be the case,” the masked man said as she sat on the bed.  “Now, if you would be so kind, what is the combination to your safe?”


As Allyson gave a list of numbers, he turned the dial and then opened the wall safe, before he scooped the contents into the black sack he had with him.  He then went through the drawers as she twisted round, her pyjama top stretched over her chest by the tight bands.


“So where are you going to leave us?”


“In this room,” Best said as he looked round, “you and Esther will be on the floor, the girls on the bed.  Be assured, they will not be able to get off.”


“I believe you – so long as we have pillows for our heads.”


“Of course – now, is there anywhere else I need to look.”


As Allyson shook her head, Best said “good – shall we go down?”



“Hmmhmmhh – jhnnhs.”


Allyson looked at Robyn and Cobie, then at Esther, all three with white tape over their mouths as she was helped to sit on the other armchair, Beauty kneeling down and securing her legs as Best folded a cloth.


“Talk to you all later,” she said as her mouth was stuffed, and then tape dover as the masked woman secured her legs above and below her knees.  Best then started a film on the television – The Greatest Showman, all four nodding as they started to hum along.





As time passed, Allyson noticed both of her daughters slowly falling asleep, and then she looked at Esther.




“Shhshhh.  Thssrhps…”


“Hknnhhh.  Htshthnj.”


Esther nodded as Best picked up Robyn in his arms and carried her up the stairs, returning a few minutes later and taking Cobie with him.




“To your bedroom, as Best promised,” Beauty said with a smile.  “In a little while, you can go up and be with them.  Once the film is finished.”


Allyson nodded as Hugh Jackman met Sarah Bernhardt in the film, and tried to get comfortable.  It was as the closing credits ran that both her and Esther were helped to stand, and shuffle across the room, out into the hallway and then push themselves up the stairs, where Best helped them to stand.


They jumped along the corridor to Allyson’s bedroom, going in to see Robyn and Cobie fast asleep on their sides, their heads on the pillows and rope running from their ankles to the foot of the bed.  Their bound and gagged dolls lay on the pillow beside their heads. 


The two older women were helped to lie on the floor, their heads on pillows as well as they faced each other.


Allyson felt her ankles being pulled back, as Beauty secured her in a hogtie while she watched Best do the same to her mother-in-law.  Eventually, they said “it’s getting dark, so we will leave you – I am sure your husband will be home soon.”


Allyson nodded as they left the room, turning the lights off as they listened to the two girls breathing, their own eyes closing…




“What the…”


Allyson opened her eyes and rolled over to see Bernard standing there, his eyes wide open as he took in the scene.


“Hsshsh – thghrlshrshlpphn.”


“But, but…”


“Whffbhnrhbhd,” she said as he knelt by her side and peeled the tape from her mouth, then extracted the soaking wet cloth.  “We’ve been robbed – we’re fine, we’re all fine, so don’t wake the girls yet.  Unite me and your mother, then we can talk…”







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