Facing the Carpetmen
“All right,” Barry Hampton said as he looked across the table of his office, “what can I do for you gentlemen?”
“Detective Superintendant Hampton, I’m Detective Chief Inspector Clark, and this is Detective Sergeant Mayhew, National Crime Agency. Thanks for agreeing to see us at such short notice.”
“Not at all, DCI Clark,” Barry said as he sat back. “What brings you to my patch?”
“Tell me, have you heard of The Carpetmen?”
Barry looked across the desk. “I’ve seen the reports,” he said quietly, “not a particularly nice group of men by all accounts?”
“That is putting it mildly,” DS Mayhew said. “They have been responsible for a string of major robberies in the last few months, all involving violence against the families of those they have targeted.”
DCI Clark put a file on Barry’s desk. “Their MO is fairly classic – they gain entrance to the family home of the target, bind and gag the family members, then force the target to rob their own business or bank. It is the methods they use to coerce the target into cooperating that are particularly vicious.”
He opened the file and looked at some papers. “Six months ago they broke into the farmhouse home of the Dawson family – Reg Dawson owns a jewellery store in their town. They rounded him, his wife, their two daughters and son up, trussed all five with rope, stuffed cloths into their mouths and wrapped duct tape round their heads, and threatened to shoot the rest of the family if he did not empty the store and bring the jewels back to their house. While he was doing that, they amused themselves by – well, you read.”
Barry took the statement and looked at it, then back to the men. “How are they?”
“Recovering physically, and receiving counselling. A month later, they took over the home of a bank manager in Hastings. They tied him, his wife and his sixteen year old daughter to chairs, and made them watch while they demonstrated on his mother in law what would happen if he did not empty the vault and bring the money back. She will need to use a walking stick for the rest of her life.
“Two months ago it was a woman who ran a high class boutique – she was forced to watch as they made her twin daughters…”
“I don’t need to hear any more – and besides, I remember last month.”
DCI Clark nodded. “We got a tip off they were going to force a dealer in coins to empty his safe at his office. By the time we had a team together, they already had him, his wife, his sixteen year old son and fifteen year old daughter hostage. We had an observation post set up in a house opposite, and could see the family in the front room.
“Anyway, one of our officers disguised as a Parcel Force delivery worker volunteered to go to the door, and try to get entry. The poor bastard only got halfway up the front gate before he was shot in the chest from the window. He survived – the family weren’t so lucky.”
Barry nodded in understanding. “So do you think they are going to hit a family here next?”
“That’s what the informant said,” DS Mayhew replied, “but we don’t know who – just three days time.”
“That’s right – and we don’t need another bloodbath. Here are the list of possible targets.”
Barry glanced down the list. “Not the well known families then?”
“No – they tend not to target really well known people in their fields, so we think Lord Holderness and his family, as well as some of the others who have had encounters with the likes of Jay Edwards, are safe.”
“Your informant is well placed?”
“He works for the man we suspect supplies arms to them,” DCI Clark said. “Barry, what we need from you is to have squads available to move in when we get – if we get a chance, and medical teams as well. Beyond that – any help you can give is much appreciated.”
Barry flipped through the file, and then looked at his fellow officers.
“I’ll do what I can, in all areas,” he said as they stood and shook hands. “You have my word.”
As they were shown out, Barry took his cell phone out of his pocket and dialled a number.
“Hey – are you two still coming to dinner tonight? Good – I want to talk to you about something.”
“Not a really nice bunch – but why are they called the Carpetmen?”
Brian handed the file back to Barry as they sat in the front room at the Hampton house. Sarah was helping his wife and Colin to wash and dry up the dinner dishes.
“They use a van with a carpet delivery service advertised on the outside to get to the target houses – at least three of the witnesses remember seeing the van when the home invasions started. So we’ll know when they move – we have a good description of the van.”
“But not where or when,” Brian said, “and these guys know if the police are nearby?”
“I think their last visit confirms that.”
“Yeah, I can see that,” Brian said as he looked at the pictures. “What about the expected list of targets?”
“Well, they’re all semis, and all in residential areas. We can’t warn the families concerned, because they tip them off that we know they’re in the area. These men have killed – and must be stopped.”
Barry put the file down and rubbed his chin. “A tricky problem – how can we help?”
“Is Project Pink Widow active again?”
“In theory yes – but is that what you want?”
“To avoid a repeat of last time, I’m willing to turn the blind eye,” Barry said, “but I can’t be seen to be supporting you in any way whatsoever. Barry, can you and Sarah help?”
“How fast would we have to move once we know the target?”
“You’d need to be ready to go when I give the word.”
Barry nodded. “Give me twenty four hours,” he said, “I need to talk to Sarah and a couple of others. I’ll let you know then. I understand you need to be kept well away from this – for your own safety as well as theirs.”
“I can’t ask any more than that Brian – and thank you.”
“What do you think?”
Sarah sat back in the library and looked at Brian. “Well, I haven’t had any dreams, but that’s no indication. If they’re as bad as Barry says they are, then they need to be brought to book - but how?”
“Well, we could help, but we’d need to get in – and Barry reckons there is no way for the police to get close. How do we do that without them suspecting?”
“Well, there is one way,” Barry said, “but you may not like it.”
“What are you thinking?”
“The only way I could see to get close is to make then think another gang is hitting the house next door.”
“Stage a robbery?”
“yeah – but we’d have to make it as realistic as possible, and we’d need to be able to move fast. Then we find a way to get you in.”
“Brian – if this is the only way, we’ll need help. What if there are kids there?”
“I know – and I can only think of two people who can help us here. Thing is, they’re not going to like it.”
Yvonne opened the door to find Sarah and Brian standing there.
“Hello you two – here for the wedding next week?”
“Yeah – but we need to see you and Mark,” Sarah said, “and you’re not going to like this. Can we come in?”
“Sure – the kids are round at the Cottrell place,” Yvonne said as she opened the door, and showed the visitors into the front room.
“Hello,” Mark said as he stood up, “what brings you two round? I thought this was meant to be a quiet visit?”
“Well that was the plan,” Sarah said as she sat down, “but – well, is there any chance of a drink?”
“Something stronger,” Brian said, “you’re going to need it.”
“That does sound serious,” Mark said as he went to pour some whisky into glasses. “What’s happened?”
“Tell me,” Brian said as he accepted a glass, and Sarah took some water, “have you heard of a gang called The Carpetmen?”
Yvonne and Mark looked at each other, before Mark said “they’re not planning to hit somewhere around here are they?”
“That is what Barry Hampton told me yesterday,” Brian said.
“Oh lord,” Yvonne said quietly, “not John or the others, surely?”
“Not as far as Barry can tell – this gang tend to target people who can get what they want physically, and they don’t strip houses as such. No, on this one, I think they’re all safe – and I thank the lord for that.”
“What about Andrew?”
“Nope – based on what this gang does, they’d go for you first, but again you’re an accountant, not their usual target.”
“So who is in the frame?”
“Barry won’t tell me – only that they have a number of houses under surveillance, and he wants them stopped.
“By any means necessary.”
Mark and Yvonne looked at each other, before said “you?”
“Me – they take hostages, and they’ve killed. In itself, that’s our speciality. The problem is they can’t be tipped off about what’s going to happen, and no police backup.”
“Okay,” Mark said as he looked at them, “so why are you coming to us?”
“Because we may need your help,” Brian said. “There is one way of doing this – stage a robbery and get Sarah in that way.”
“But you don’t know what house is going to be hit,” Mark said. “If you’re meaning Jay and friends get into the house first, and subdue the residents for their own safety, that takes time and planning.”
“I know – and we won’t have that time,” Brian said. “Barry reckons even once they spot the van they use, by the time we got there it would be too late to go into the house that way.
“No, the idea would be to stage a robbery of the house next door, and then get Sarah in somehow. That we’d have to figure out at the time – and it will depend on who is in the house next door. But we’re going to need your help.”
“So we have to do this as Jay and friends?”
“That’s right – Jay, Mrs McPhee, Ophelia and friend. Mark, I know it’s asking a lot, and outside what we normally ask you to do, but this is a situation where we’re all improvising.”
“You’re going to go red, aren’t you?”
“Very likely,” Sarah said to Yvonne. “Will you help us?”
Mark looked at Yvonne, who stood up and went to the hallway.
“Where are you going?”
“To call your mother, ask her to come and watch the kids this weekend.”
Barry Hampton walked into the pub and went to the side table, where Brian was having a quiet pint.
“We have a plan in place – but we need your absolute guarantee that we do what we need to do without interference. Whatever happens, we and whoever we ask to help get kept out of this.”
“I know – and you have my word. What do you need?”
“A phone call when you know who they have gone for – and stay well out of the way.”
Saturday morning in Holderness was only marginally quieter than any other day – the main difference been the kids not going to school. Nobody paid much attention to the van with “CarpetRight” printed on the side as it drew up onto the driveway of the large semi-detached house, or the two men in overalls who got out and knocked on the front door.
Anyone passing may have seen the door opened by a middle aged woman in a sweatshirt and jeans, and if they had been very observant they would have seen her eyes widen in fear as one of the men pushed her in, and then two more followed them into the house, before the door closed and the curtains were drawn over the front windows.
As it was, one person did, as he took out a mobile phone, made a call and then walked quickly away from the bus stop he had been waiting at.
“Got it Barry – leave the rest to us.”
“They’ve struck, haven’t they,” Mark said as he looked at the Australian. They, Yvonne and Sarah were sitting in the back of a grey transit van, parked in a supermarket car park.
“Yes – Dennis Cavanaugh, manager of the local pawn shop. He has a wife, seventeen year old daughter and fourteen year old boy.”
“Dammit,” Sarah said, “then we need to move. Who lives next door?”
“A family called Reeves – mum, dad, three girls all under ten. We need Jay and Mrs McPhee.”
“Well then,” Mark said as he got up, “let’s go to work, and pray we’re not too late.”
“All right girls, let me see how you all look!”
Debbie Reeves was sitting in the front room of her house, smiling as her three daughters walked into the front room. First up was the oldest, ten year old Betsy, her long brown hair brushed back as she paraded in a cream coloured top with a design of brown branches and black birds on it. It was buttoned up the front, with wide sleeves that came to just above her wrists and hung above her knees, while she wore a pair of knee length tan coloured leather boots with a strap at the top.
“Very nice, Betsy,” Debbie said, the girl smiling as the youngest of her daughters, Shirley, came in. Eight years old, she had on a pink t-shirt with a white unicorn on the front, and pink leggings with white polka dots. She also was wearing a pair of Debbie’s boots, black suede with leather soles, that came almost to the top of her legs as she walked round giggling as she shook her head and her long blonde hair flew around.
The last to come in was nine year old Nancy, her blonde hair falling ringlets down her head. She also had a pink t-shirt on, this one with a picture of Dora the Explorer on the front, and white trousers that had a design of multicoloured cup cakes printed on them. Her legs were also in a pair of her mother’s boots, these ones black patent leather with a three inch stack heel, coming over her knees like waders.
“You all look wonderful,” Debbie said as she clapped her hands and stood up. Their mother was wearing a pink sweatshirt and joggers, the legs of the joggers tucked into a pair of knee length burgundy leather boots with a three inch stiletto heel. “I knew this would be a good day for a dress up day.”
Looking out of the window, she saw a grey van pull up outside, and a man get out from behind the driver seat, opening the side door as he did so.
“Right – I’ll go and get some drinks,” Debbie said as she made her way to the kitchen, opening the fridge and taking out a large bottle of orange juice. Placing it on the kitchen table, she went to a cupboard and took out four glasses, pouring the juice in before she returned the bottle to the fridge.
It was as she closed the fridge door and looked round that she saw the four people, two men and two women, standing in her kitchen. All four were wearing blue boiler suits, and had balaclavas pulled down over their heads.
“Good morning, Mrs Reeves,” one of the men said in a Geordie accent as he walked forward, “my name is Jay Edwards, and I need you to stay quiet and calm. My friends and I are going to be staying a little while, and it will be better and safer for you and the girls if you do exactly what we say, all right?”
“Oh god,” Debbie whispered, “I’ve heard of you, but my husband doesn’t work for a bank or a financial place – he’s a plumber.”
“Don’t worry for now about why we are here – just do as we say, and everybody will be all right. Now, we need to make sure everyone in the house knows what’s happening, so why don’t you take me to the girls?”
Debbie wasn’t sure why she trusted Jay, but she nodded as they walked into the front room, the other man putting the glasses of drink on a tray and carrying them through.
“Hello girls,” one of the women said as they entered, her voice Scottish, “please don’t be afraid – we’ve come to visit you for a little while. My name’s Mrs McPhee – what’s yours?”
The three girls looked at the masked strangers, before the oldest said “I’m Betsy, and this is Shirley and Nancy. Who are you?”
“Well, like I said, my name is Mrs McPhee, this is my friend Ophelia, and this is Jay. My other friend doesn’t like us to say his name, so we call him Bob.”
“Why do you have masks on your head,” Nancy said as she looked at them.
“Well, that’s a very good question Nancy,” Jay replied, “why don’t you all sit on the couch, and your mum can sit there, and while you have your drink we can explain what’s going to happen.”
“All right, girls, just do as he says,” Debbie whispered as they took their seats, and the man they called Bob handed the glasses round.
“Make sure the telephones are disconnected,” Jay said, the man nodding as he left the room.
“Now then, my friends and I need to talk to your daddy when he gets home about something very important. When will he get home?”
“Late tonight,” Debbie said, “he’s working on a job out of town.”
“Well then, we’re going to stay for the day,” Jay said, “but because we need to keep him surprised, and also to make sure we know where you are, I’m afraid we’re going to have to keep all four of you here, and you won’t be able to move or speak for a while. We’ll take care of you, let you go to the toilet when you need to, and let you eat – but you need to do what we say.”
“Think of it like a big game,” Mrs McPhee said to the three girls. “Can I ask why you’re all dressed like that?”
“It’s dress up day,” Nancy said, “mum lets us dress up and wear her boots and we have fun together.”
“That’s right,” Debbie said.
“Well then,” Jay said, “Can I make a suggestion? The three lovely pop idols have been kidnapped by a group who want to make them pay a lot of money to be free, and their guardian,” he said as he looked at Debbie,” has been taken hostage with them.”
“That sounds fun,” Betsy said, “not scary at all. Will it hurt?”
“No it won’t,” Mrs McPhee said, “Ophelia and I will take very good care of all of you. Now, finish your drinks, and we can start.”
The girls all sipped their orange juice, as Debbie looked at the masked intruders.
“Now then,” Ophelia said quietly, “I want all three of you to put your hands together in front of you, palm to palm, as if you were praying at church.”
As Debbie watched, the three girls did as Ophelia had asked, while Mrs McPhee took some cord and tied their wrists together, one by one, taking the rope around and between their arms.
“There now,” Mrs McPhee said as all three girls looked at their wrists, “that doesn’t hurt does it?”
“No,” Betsy said with a smile, “now what?”
“Now we tie your ankles together – it may make a funny noise, but it doesn’t hurt any more. We’re also going to tie your legs together below your knees, and then I want all three of you to sit back on the couch.”
As their ankles and legs were secured, Jay turned to Debbie and said “Please cross your wrists in front of you – we’re going to secure you in the same way as the girls. Once that is done, you can all pick a film to watch from your collection.”
“And you promise we won’t be hurt?”
“I promise,” Jay said as Shirley shuffled back, the rope squeaking on her boots, and Ophelia tied her wrists to her knees. Soon, all three girls were sitting on the couch, Betsy’s feet over the edge as they wriggled round, while Debbie’s wrists were tied down to the rope below her knees.
“So what would you like to watch girls,” Mrs McPhee said.
“A Tinkerbell Movie,” Nancy called out, the others nodding in agreement.
“One more thing,” Jay said as Mrs McPhee set up the player, “we need to keep all of you quiet for the film, so we’re going to put some special tape over your mouth. Just keep calm, enjoy the film, and when it’s over we’ll sort you some lunch. All right?”
One by one they had a strip of white tape pressed over their mouths, before the film started. “Mrs McPhee and Ophelia will stay with you,” Jay said before he and Bob walked out of the room.
“Well,” Mark said as they went up the stairs. Brian beckoned him into a room, and then handed him a stethoscope.
“Listen,” he said as Mark removed the balaclava, and put the listening device to the wall.
“Oh god,” he said as his face went white, “are they doing what I think they’re doing? And to who?”
“I think it’s the daughter – and I want them to pay. But we cannot make a move until the husband is sent to do the work. I’ll keep watch at the front from an upstairs window – you keep an eye on the family.”
Brian picked up a small brown canvas bag. “Then we get Sarah in.”
Mark nodded as he headed back downstairs, while Brian stayed looking out of the window. The family were sitting watching the television, the two younger girls squirming slightly while Betsy looked at her mother.
“Now then,” Jay said as he sat down, “why don’t you sing along when the songs begin, if there are any – see if you do a better job than the singers in the film?”
The three girls nodded as they kept watching, the film playing out before Mrs McPhee went to the kitchen and brought through three drinks.
“Now,” she said as she set them down, “would you three like a drink?”
“Yspllss,” they all said as they nodded.
“Right – we’ll untie your wrists from your legs, and remove the tape from your mouths so that you can have a drink. Once that’s done, you can each go to the toilet in turn.”
“Whhhpnsftrttht,” Debbie mumbled as she looked at them.
“Very good question,” Jay said with a smile as he looked at her. “We’ll explain it to you once the girls have finished their drink and gone to the toilet, and then we’re going to take you through to the kitchen to cook them some tea.”
Debbie nodded as she watched the three girls holding the glasses in their hands and drinking through the straws. Once they had finished, they were untied and taken one by one to the toilet, returning with their wrists secured behind their backs and rope around their waists to keep them against their bodies.
“Look mum,” Nancy said, “we really can’t use our hands now.”
All three girls sat back down and watched as their ankles were secured together again, before Mrs McPhee said “now then, I’ve set up a game of Sorry for us all to play. Shirley, as you are the youngest, you go first.”
“Come with me,” Jay said as he untied Debbie’s wrists from her legs and then removed the rope from the legs and ankles, “we’ll talk in the kitchen. Will you be all right as you are, Mrs McPhee?”
“Ay we’ll cope – you two go and talk tae her,” she said as Ophelia and Jay escorted Debbie to the kitchen.
“Please, my husband won’t be back until late, and we don’t have anything to take,” Debbie said as they sat her on the chair, “go and leave us…”
“Debbie,” Jay said quietly, “I need you to be quiet and listen for a moment. We’re not here to rob you.”
“You’re not here to…”
“Debbie,” Ophelia said as she held the mother’s hands, “I’m truly sorry that we have scared and upset you and your daughters in this way, but it was necessary for us to get close to your next door neighbours. We’re going to tell you something, and you have to agree not to shout, or do anything that may either upset your daughters or be heard next door, all right?”
“what’s going on?”
“Debbie,” Jay said, “as we speak, a very rough and nasty group of men are next door, holding that family hostage and forcing the husband to rob his own store. This is not the first time they have done this, and people have been hurt by them – very badly.”
Debbie looked over to the common wall, and whispered “then why are you telling me this?”
“Because if they think the police are nearby,” Jay said, “they will kill everyone in that house. We – the four of us – are the only hope of ending this gang’s reign of terror, but to do it we had to stage this robbery in your house.
“Debbie, I promise you we’re not going to steal anything from you, but the children need to keep thinking that’s what’s going to happen, and you need to keep playing along with that. I know we are asking a lot, particularly given the way we came in, but will you help us?”
“Must not know what is really going on – as far as they are concerned, this is still a robbery. Will you help us, Debbie – please?”
Debbie looked at the two masked intruders, and then slowly nodded as the one they called Bob came in.
“It’s time,” he said to the masked woman, who nodded as she stood up and left the room. “Have you talked to her?”
“I have, and she will play along.”
“Good – because I need to ask you, Debbie, if you would be willing to do a very brave thing to help us deal with the criminals next door. You won’t be hurt or harmed, but you will need to trust us.”
“Why? What do you want me to do?”
“We need you to escape from a moment, and kick on the front door of your neighbour to attract their attention. You’ll need to have your arms bound tightly, and be gagged properly, so that it looks real and as if you are desperate for help.”
"But you just said they kill people!”
“And they do,” Bob said as he sat down, “but you have my word – once you have kicked on the door, and we know they are going to open it, Jay here will bring you back inside this house.”
“But if nobody is there…”
“I’ll be there.”
Debbie turned in her seat to see Ophelia standing there, pulling on a pair of thin leather gloves over her hands. She was wearing a leather jacket, open to show the top of her chest, and a leather miniskirt with knee length leather boots. What she noticed most of all, apart from the balaclava over her head, was the colour of her attire – a dusky pink.
She also saw for the first time the wrist watch Ophelia was wearing, the dial glowing green.
“Debbie, we are asking you to do a very brave thing,” Ophelia said, “but the idea is to let me get in, not to put you in real danger. Will you do this for us?”
“What happens when we come back in?”
“Mrs McPhee and I are going to make sure the four of you cannot move or talk, but that is all. The police will come and free you as soon as we are finished next door. You will have done a very good thing for everyone – but it hinges on you been willing to do this. The girls will see how you have been secured, and then they will be secured in the same way.”
Debbie somehow felt assured in the way Jay and Ophelia were talking, and in the way Bob was looking at her.
“You promise I will be taken from real danger?”
“I promise – and you and your daughters will be perfectly safe.”
“Very well then – what do you need me to do?”
“I’ll be back in a minute – get her ready,” Bob said as he ran up the stairs.
“Put your hands out in front of you,” Jay said, and as she did so Jay gave her two sponges to hold, before taping her fists into silver balls, and then covering them with sports socks, which he taped to her arms.
“Now turn round and put your hands behind your backs,” he said, Ophelia watching as he began to secure her wrists together.
“Do you do this all the time,” Debbie said as she felt her wrists being drawn together.
“No comment – security,” Ophelia said as Jay passed rope around her waist, fixing her crossed wrists to the small of her back, and then tying her arms to her side with rope above and below her chest.
“Well, I have no chance of moving my arms now,” Debbie said as she saw Jay fold a cloth.
“Remember to stay calm and breath through your nose,” he said quietly as he held the cloth in front of her mouth, “now open wide.”
“All right,” Debbie said as she felt the cloth press down on her tongue, and then allowed Jay to tie a knotted strip of towel between her lips, the knot sitting on the cloth as he tied it round her head.
She heard the strange peeling sound then as Jay wrapped the white tape he had used earlier round her head, sealing her mouth as it covered the towelling.
“Try and say something,” Jay said quietly.
“Lkwhhtt” Debbie mumbled as her eyes shot open.
“He just left,” Bob said as he came down. “We need to make a move sooner rather than later.”
Ophelia nodded as she looked at Jay and Debbie. “Remember, run next door, kick on the door, and don’t stop kicking until you hear someone open the door. And thank you – this will be remembered.”
Debbie nodded and watched as Bob went to the front door, and looked out.
“Right – the coast is clear. Ready?”
Ophelia nodded as she looked at Debbie. “Do it – and thank you. When you come back, Jay and Mrs McPhee with Bob will take care of you and the girls.”
Debbie nodded as Jay closed the door to the front room, and then she ran out of the front door, Jay and Ophelia following and staying close to the wall as Debbie kicked at the front door with her booted foot.
“HLPMMMMM!” she called out as she kept kicking the door, and then glanced to the side as she heard the lock turning.
“Now,” Ophelia whispered as Jay grabbed Debbie and turned her, walking her back quickly to the house as the door was thrown open. She saw a man standing there, wearing a blue boiler suit and a stocking over his head, and the shotgun in his hands, and smiled as she said “ah – sorry to disturb you. We’ll just get the woman back next door and…”
“I don’t think so, bitch,” the man growled as he pointed the gun at Ophelia, “inside – now.”
She glanced to the side as she walked in, Jay taking Debbie back into her own house as Bob closed the door.
“Well done,” Jay said quietly, “now, let’s go up to your bedroom and get you comfy. We’ll bring the girls up to see you, and then secure them on their beds.”
Debbie nodded as she was led up the stairs, and sat on her bed, watching as Jay knelt down and secured her ankles together, side by side, and then her legs below her knees.
“Lie down, make yourself comfortable,” Jay said as Debbie managed to lie on her side, her head resting on a pillow as Jay secured her ankles to her chest.
“Right – I’m going to bring the girls up,” Jay said, “make sure she stays comfortable.”
Bob nodded as Jay went back down stairs, going in as Mrs McPhee said “You win, Betsy!”
“Right girls,” Jay said, “I’m afraid the time has come for us to make sure you cannot move or speak for a while. Your mum is already on her bed, and she wants to see you while we get you ready to stay on your beds. Before you go up, we need to use some more rope to secure your arms to your sides, so stand up and Mrs McPhee will do that for you.”
“Do me first,” Betsy said, standing up and allowing the masked woman to tie her arms tightly to her sides, the rope going around her stomach and shoulders.
“Me next,” Sheila said, Nancy going last as all three were secured in the same way.
“Let’s go and see your mum now,” Jay said as he and Mrs McPhee led them up the stairs and into the master bedroom.
“Wow – how are you mummy,” Nancy said as she saw Debbie on the bed, her boots squeaking as she rubbed her legs together.
“Mfffnn – ugrlssbhfnw,” Debbie mumbled as she looked at them.
“All right girls – open wide and we’ll put some cloth in your mouth, before we wrap the tape round your head.”
All three nodded as they were silenced with cloth and tape, before they were each taken into their rooms and sat down, their ankles and legs secured before they lay down and had their ankles secured to the bottom of the bed.
“Just relax and lie still – I’ll be walking between your rooms to keep an eye on all of you,” Mrs McPhee said as Bob and Jay walked back downstairs.
“Now what,” Mark said as he looked at Brian.
“Now we wait for the sign Sarah is done?”
“And that will be?”
“Trust me – I’ll know.”
“Who the fuck was it kicking at the door,” another masked man said as he came in from the front room, only to stop as he saw the woman clad in pink leather standing there, looking at both him and the man who had dragged her inside.
“Look,” Sarah said as she looked at both of them, “I can see there’s been a mistake – we were raiding the house next door, and the woman got away. It’s obvious you’re busy as well, so if you let me get back, than as professionals we can ignore the fact we saw each other. You get on with your work, my boys and I can get on with ours.”
“Nice outfit – don’t you think it’s a nice outfit Jer?”
“Yeah – really sexy Cam,” the other masked man said. “Sorry doll – you’re just gonna have to stay here with us. We can have a party – the other women here have already started. Why don’t you join us?”
“Look, it might be better if…”
“We insist,” Cam said as he pointed a sawn-off shotgun at Sarah. “Bind her wrists, and let’s see what she looks like under that mask.”
“Look, seriously, you don’t have to do this,” Sarah said as she felt the other man yank her arms behind her back. As the ropes bit into her wrists, she heard muffled moans coming from both the front room and upstairs. She the shook her head as the balaclava was pulled off, her hair falling down her neck.
“Who was that?”
Looking up, she saw two more masked men come down, staring at her body.
“We’ve got this in hand, how’s the girl?”
“Crying – but we had a real good time with her. The sheet of her bed might need a ton of bleach to clean it up.”
“Shut your fucking mouth or I’ll tape over that pretty nose of yours as well,” Cam called into the front room as Sarah felt the rope pulling her elbows together, the zip of her leather jacket coming slightly down as her chest was forced out. She could feel the familiar sensations in her body as she looked at the four men, and said “please, you don’t have to do this. My boys will come looking…”
“And we’ll blow their heads off if they come in here,” Jer said behind her as he tugged the rope between her arms, and she yelped in pain.
“So what are we going to do with her Cam,” one of the other two men said as he came down the stairs, “I could easily…”
“Eyes off her – get her secured first,” Cam said, unable to take his eyes off her as Jer wrapped rope around her upper body, above and below her chest, forcing her breasts out even more as she felt him tighten it with each pass.
“Okay, okay, I can see four big men like you need to keep the occupants of the house under control – where are they anyway?”
“Hubby went to run an errand for us, the kids are upstairs – come and meet mummy.”
Sarah’s eyes widened as she saw the middle aged woman on the floor of the front room, her legs frog tied with ropes around her ankles and thighs, as well as above and below her knee on each leg. They were spread wide apart as she sat with her back against a leather couch, and she could see the ropes tied so tightly round her breasts that they were swollen and purple – as were her forearms where the ropes bit into her bare flesh.
The poor woman was naked, save for the ropes and the band of silver duct tape that went round her head, he cheeks bulging under the grey strip. Her crotch was wet and glistening, and there were damp patches on the rug she was sitting on.
She looked at Sarah with eyes glazed, and mumbled “msssreee” as the new arrival was forced to her knees. Looking behind her, she could see her ankles being bound tightly together, as Cam said “Get the older kid down here.”
“What about that brat?”
“What did you do to him?”
“Beat him unconscious.”
“Then he’s no good – get the girl down here. She might as well see this as well.”
“I told you to shut the fuck up,” Jer said as he hit the older woman across the face. Sarah noted that as she felt her legs been secured, and then a dirty cloth was held in front of her mouth.
“Do me a favour, lady, and don’t open your mouth.”
She thought of resisting for a moment, and then thought of the twins, before she opened her mouth and felt the cloth in her mouth, trying not to wretch at the acrid taste on her tongue, and then felt the tape on her cheek as it was wound round her head.
As it was pulled tighter, the other two men dropped an eighteen year old girl on the couch behind her mother. She was also naked, with ropes tightly encircling her arms and chest, and one rope in particular going between her legs. She groaned as she twisted round, the bruise over her eye visible as she stared at Sarah.
“All right, you bastards,” Sarah thought as the tape was torn loose, and the four men stood looking at her, “focus on me, and only on me…”
“Debbie,” Jay said as he sat on the bed and looked at the mother, “when the police come, I need to ask a favour of you. Mrs McPhee is talking to the girls now, and asking them the same thing.”
“Whtsstt,” she mumbled through her gag.
“You have heard us call each other by names. Now, as you know, we’re actually here to take care of a more dangerous gang next door, but when the police come they will ask if we used any names. It would be a great help – a very great help – if you were to forget them.”
“That’s right,” Jay said as he stroked her hair away from her eyes. “I know it is asking a lot, but if you do this, I promise you it will be for the best.”
“The girls have agreed,” Mrs McPhee said as she looked at Debbie. The mother thought for a moment, and then nodded as Bob looked in and motioned to both of them.
“It’s gone quiet again next door – which means Sarah has started. How are the girls?”
“Falling asleep,” Mrs McPhee said.
“Once all three have done that, it’s time for you two to go – you really do not want to be here for the clean up.”
“What’s Barry Hammond going to say about this?”
“I’ll think of something,” Bob said. Mrs McPhee nodded and went back into Nancy’s room, quietly singing a lullaby.
“She’s a real looker, isn’t she,” the masked man said as he and the other three stared at Sarah, wriggling in the ropes to make the zip of her jacket open even more. Looking behind them, she could see the two other captives staring at her as well, and prayed it was not as strong a feeling for them as it would be for her targets.
“Plssswhtrudng,” she mumbled, as she looked into their eyes, and saw the expression she had seen so often before.
“She is,” Cam said as he reached down and pulled open her jacket, her chest falling out as the leather moved to the side, “and a nice pair as well. How do they feel in all that rope, baby?”
Sarah closed her eyes and groaned as he started to grope her, and then looked pleadingly at the others.
“Hey Cam,” one of the other men said, “come on, let us have some fun as well.”
“You’ll get your turn,” Cam said as he stared into her eyes, and squeezed hard, “when I see how ripe she is.”
“They’re right Cam,” Jer said, “we all need a turn.”
“Yeah – turns,” the other masked man said as he put his hand on Cam’s shoulder.
“Oh really,” Cam snarled as he stood up, “who’s in charge now?”
“Boss, don’t be a stupid fucker – we know you’re in charge, but we all want a bit of her as well.”
“Well I’m in charge, so I go first,” Cam said, “unless you want to make an issue of it.”
“Maybe we do,” the first masked man said as he reached into his back pocket. Sarah watched, a smile under the tape band as the four men eyed each other up.
“HMGDDDD,” the older woman screamed as two of the masked men produced hunting knives, and lunged at Cam and Jer, both of them ducking to the side and grabbing their arms.
“That’s it boys, let all that anger out,” she said as they grappled with each other, the knives moving between their bodies until the two men gasped, their eyes wide as they slumped to the floor, the hilts of the knives protruding from their stomachs.
“Hmgddhmgddhmgdd,” the young girl said as both Jar and Cam looked at Sarah, their eyes wide open as Cam said “Now then, why don’t we make you real happy as well. Jer, look after the other two, and then you can have your turn.”
Cam knelt down in front of Sarah and started to massage her chest roughly again, his rough chin rubbing on her skin as he kissed her neck and shoulders. She could feel the warmth building inside her as she pretended to weakly protest, the moistness between her legs a sign that she was beginning to respond. As she groaned, she wondered how long it would take for Jer to react.
“Holy fuck you’re damp,” Cam said as he put his hand under her skirt and felt her damp panties, pulling them down to her knees as he started to finger her, ad laugh at her gasp, “I’m going to enjoy fucking you.”
“no you’re not?”
The other two female captives closed their eyes as the sickening crunching sound filled the room, and Sarah looked at Cam, his head at an impossible angle before he fell to the side and Jer pushed her onto her back, pulling her skirt and panties off as he fingered her pussy.
“Oh momma you are moist,” he grinned, Sarah closing her eyes and nodding as she pushed her pelvis up, “I’m gonna enjoy this.”
“Come on you bastard,” Sarah thought as she groaned and rocked against his touch, “let’s get it on…”
“Clssurys,” she heard the mother say to her daughter, grateful that they may not see what was about to happen. His lips bit into her neck and then sucked hard on her breasts as she watched him unfasten the boiler suit and slip it off, followed by his boxers, his cock hanging long and hard between his legs.
“You should have run with the stupid bint next door,” Jer said as he spread Sarah’s knees apart, and thrust himself into her, making her throw her head back as she felt him inside her, “but no worries – I can always go there afterwards.”
“I wouldn’t bet on it, you stupid bastard,” she through to herself as she began to respond to his thrusts, feeling him press against her pelvis and the walls of her passage, feeling the throbbing inside as she gripped him, “but you might as well enjoy this while you can.”
“OH you are a tight little cunt,” he said as he pushed on and forward, Sarah feeling her own climax approaching as he grew inside her, pushed his body against her, and then suddenly threw his head back and shouted as he came, Sarah feeling her own orgasm coming as well.
“Oh yeah,” Jer said as he withdrew roughly and stood over her, “you are the best of the three, without a…”
“Smfngwrng,” Sarah said as she sat herself up, staring at Jer as she began to strain against the ropes.
“What… What the hell are you doing?”
As he watched, Sarah snapped the ropes around her wrists and arms as if they were paper, and pulled the ropes form her legs, standing in only her jacket as she looked at Jer, the watch on her wrist glowing red.
“Oh my god,” Jer whispered, his throat suddenly dry, what the hell are you doing? No… NO please… NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”
“That’s what I needed to hear,” Bob said as he looked at Jay and Mrs McPhee. “Go – now. I’ll see you both later.”
The two looked at each other and picked up their bags, before walking to the door and running to the parked transit van. As they drove off, Brian pulled off his balaclava and went out of the back door.
“What’s the matter,” Sarah said as she pulled the tape down from her mouth, and spat the cloth out, “not hungry any more for women? Because I’m hungry now.”
She watched as he backed out of the room, his hands groping for the walls, and whimpered “Please… Please don’t eat me…”
“Why not? You tasted of me – perhaps I should taste of you,” Sarah said, her head to one side as he produced a gun and aimed I tat her, his hand shaking.
“I’ll kill you you monster…”
“No – no you won’t, because after that my babies will come for you – and they will find you, some day. Accept your fate and be a gracious meal…”
Sarah heard the muffled scream as the gun went off, and Jer fell to the floor, blood seeping from the wound in his temple. Looking to the right, she saw Brian standing there, as he produced the can of pheromones and sprayed Sarah down.
“The mother and daughter are in there,” Sarah gasped, “and there’s a boy upstairs.”
Brian nodded as he ran up the stairs and looked in, before coming down and taking a mobile phone out.
“Barry? It’s done – Sarah and I need to be got out from the target house before your people move in.”
“Understood Brian – we’re intercepting the father now at his workplace to tell them we’ve resolved it. How did you do it anyway?”
“I’ll brief you later,” Brian said as he held Sarah, “but hurry – three injured and traumatised, never mind the father. In fact,” he said as he looked at Sarah, who nodded, “special therapy will be available.”
“Am I right in thinking you arranged both visits – the one to get the gang, and the house next door,” Barry said as Sarah and Brian sat opposite him. It was later that evening, and they had called round to find out what had happened.
“No comment – but you wanted us to get in and neutralise the threat without alerting them to the danger.”
“Well, the mum and the kids all say the four people who broke in were very kind, very gentle, and although they were very tightly bound and gagged they were unharmed – in fact, the mother said one of the robbers pulled her back to safety when she tried to raise the alarm next door. Almost certainly saved her from a worse fate – although she did say one of the women was pulled in instead.”
“One thing does bother me, the way the gang worked is very similar to a certain wanted group of bank robbers, led by a guy called Jay Edwards.” Barry sat forward and whispered “If I was to ask you if he helped you, what would you say?”
“I’d rather you didn’t ask the question,” Brian replied. “Let’s just say I needed a specialist.”
“So he works on the side of the angels sometimes, eh? Well, that’s another secret I may have to keep – whoever he is,” Barry said.
“How was the father?”
“When our officer stopped him at his shop, he almost went hysterical until we let him talk to his wife. They’re all in hospital for overnight observation – the lad has a couple of broken ribs. Apparently he tried to protect his sister.”
“Brave kid,” Sarah said.
“They’ll all be ready to talk to you tomorrow Sarah. Look – whoever it was, tell them thanks.”
“So what are you going to tell your colleagues in the NCA?”
“I’ll figure that out by the morning.”
“Do I want to know?”
Barry looked over at Clark and Mayhew, before saying “probably not – and to be honest, I’m not sure I can tell you. Suffice to say the gang were neutralised.”
“Neutralised – they killed each other is what happened. Their statements say someone was dragged into the house, tied, gagged, and then they killed each other to see who would rape her – and then, after the act, he went mad and killed himself. More to the point, the woman disappeared after that before my squad arrived.”
“I only have the same statements you had – whoever that woman was, she vanished before my people arrived to investigate the break in next door.”
“Hampton,” Clark said as he leaned forward, “do I want to know what really happened in that house?”
“I think the statements of that family show you the horror they endured,” Barry said, “do you want to push that any further?”
“No – they’re finished now, and the family survived. I hear you arranged counselling for them.”
“Yeah – I know a specialist in this area who gets very good results. It seemed the best thing I could do for them.
“By the way, I’m putting Debbie Reeves forward for a Police Commendation, for keeping so calm in the face of dual threats.”
“In terms of the armed home invasion of her own house, keeping her kids calm, and also for inadvertently leading to the end of a reign of terror?”
“Well, I’ll find a different way of wording it, but essentially – yes.”
“I’ll second the recommendation,” Clark said as he and his colleague stood up. “Out of interest, if we faced a similar situation again?”
“I don’t know – we may not be able to do anything if that happened again.”
“You deserve the medal for that.”
Sarah blushed across the table as she looked at Mark. The two couples were enjoying an evening meal at a small restaurant in town, in a discrete table near the back.
“No – that’s my lot in life. No medals, no parades, just the satisfaction of seeing those who deserve to meet justice having it knock long and hard.”
“My wife is too modest,” Brian said, “what she heard in the session with that family today…”
“Is confidential, and you know it,” Sarah said. “Having said which, I will say they talked out their fears, and they will make a recovery sooner rather than later.”
“Sarah, can I ask a – personal question?”
“If your skills are activated by reaching a sexual peak – then aren’t you afraid of the consequences?”
“Always – but if you mean is there a risk I may become pregnant, the answer is no.”
“How can you be so sure,” Mark asked.
“Kayla’s research into both of us threw up an interesting fact – we really are truly compatible, in that the only person who can make love to Sarah and stand a chance of impregnating her – is me.”
“My DNA when it was altered had an effect on my immune system,” Sarah whispered. “Any sperm except for Brian’s is rejected.”
“Your own natural contraceptive,” Mark said as he shook his head. “We should count our blessings you two are unique.”
Mark and Yvonne looked at each other, and then at the other two.
“You’re forgetting the twins,” Brian said, “and also there is one other couple – codename Project Red Widow.”
“Project – Red Widow? Anyone we know?”
“Story for another time,” Sarah said. “Let’s just say we chose our godparents VERY carefully.”
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