I never really believed the stories up until now, but somehow – well, being tied spread-eagled to a bed with a length of white tape over your mouth has a way of focusing my attention, let me tell you.
This was meant to have been a nice, simple modelling job – me in a pink bikini with some other girls, showing off this new bedding range. Why the hell the client thought girls in bikinis would sell… No, I get that part. Girls in bikinis sell almost anything. At any rate, when that masked gang broke in, they lashed me to the bed I was on and herded everyone else out of the room. So, here I am.
Strangely enough, the first thought I had was my own mother. I can still remember coming home from school, about ten years ago, and finding her in the front room of the house. Believe it or not, I didn’t see at first something was wrong, but the ropes over her white jumper told me she had walked in on a robbery. Whoever had broken in had tied her wrists together behind her back, her arms to her side, her thighs and her crossed ankles and left her sitting on the couch. She had been looking down when I came in, but when she looked up I could see the mascara on her cheeks and the stain in the white cloth that had been pulled in her mouth.
Well, I dropped my schoolbag and ran over, untying the cloth and pulling it out. Mum thanked me at the time, but when I asked what had happened and how she coped she just said “I’ll tell you later.” The police came, but she remained calm throughout. Once they’d gone, however, she sat me down and told me that two men had come in, bound and gagged her and then taken some jewellery – that was all.
“That was all?” I screamed back. “Mum – you’d been attacked and assaulted, how can you stay so calm!”
“It runs in the family – ask your sister.”
I left her sitting at the table and called Jessie, who told me to come over. When I arrived, she sat me down and told me the story. I didn’t believe it for a second – some sort of crap about family secrets - and then she told me about her own robbery.
“Belinda, my housemate and I, had just come back from a party when we found two armed men in the house. They forced us both to strip down to our underwear and then threw me a bag with some lengths of thin gold coloured rope in them.
“’Tie her up, and do it tightly’ he said to me, and pointed the sawn off shotgun at us to make his point. I had no choice – as Belinda lay down on the floor, in her black panties and bra with her shows still on, I took the lengths of rope and used them one at a time to bind her limbs together, so tightly they pulled the skin down and looked as if the skin was folding down around them.
“As I pulled her legs up to secure them to her wrists as I was directed, the other man took the last length of rope and pulled it into her mouth, making the corners of her lips pull back as it bit in. I stared up at them as I secured the last knot, before saying sarcastically ‘Are you happy?’
“They nodded, and then said ‘We’ll be happier when you’re the same.’ Twenty minutes later, I was lying looking at Belinda’s feet as I was secured and gagged in the same way, black rope to complement my white underwear.”
I shook my head and said “You never told me about this before.”
“Yes, I know – it was five years ago, and we didn’t want to upset you or worry you…”
“Worry me – about what?”
“The family curse – for three generations now, every female member of the family has been bound and gagged in a robbery.”
I swear, I laughed at the time. How could this be true – every one of them tied up? One or tow possibly – but surely we’d never had a family gathering with everyone together?
Jessie poured me another drink. “Let’s hope you’re the first, but if not – well, ask around when the time comes.”
My thoughts were interrupted by the sound of muffled screams, and I looked up to see the three armed robbers carrying a number of bags between them. As I twisted round, they laughed at me – actually laughed at my pitiful attempts to get free while they left the building. I allowed myself to relax, and decided that this was all still just a joke – there was no way everyone had been held hostage in some way.
“Well, there may actually be some truth in it dear.”
I took the cup of tea from my gran and stared at her as she sat down.
“You see,” she said as she took a sip from her own cup, “about fifty years ago I was involved in a robbery at the firm I worked for.
“It was a legal firm, and I was working on a Saturday morning when this stranger came in. Very smartly dressed, with a trilby on to match his dark suit and tie. He put his briefcase on the desk and asked if my boss was in that morning.
“I said no, and he smiled a she opened his case and said that wasn’t a problem – I could help him instead. I didn’t; quite understand what he meant, but when he pointed the gun in my face I just put my hands up and said I’d do whatever he asked.
“He made me find some files and hand them over to him, before forcing me to strip off the blouse and skirt I was wearing. I had planned to meet your grandfather later, so I’m afraid I was wearing some rather risqué black stockings as well as lace lined panties and a bra. He actually tied my wrist together in front of me with rope, and tied a black silk scarf I had worn around my neck into my mouth before making me bend over and attaching my wrists to a hook that we used to open the trapdoor to the cellar”
She stood up and went over to the drawer in her large cabinet. “A week or two later, I got this in the post, and a note that simply said ‘Thank you.’” I looked at the photo of the dark haired woman staring between her legs, and recognised Gran.
“He made me put on the gloves before I was tied up – I think he was a bit of a fetishist. Anyway – I kept that locked away for years, until your mother was robbed and I realised that she needed to know what happened.”
“Yeah – I remember that about ten years ago,” I said, but my gran shook her head.
“Not that time – the first time, before you were born.
“She had just started work as a legal secretary when that office was also broken into when she was alone in there. They made her sit in a chair, bound her wrists behind her back and her ankles together, and then stuck white tape over her mouth and made her watch while one by one they captured the staff as they returned from their lunch break.
“Once all the staff were secured, they cleaned out the safe and took a number of important documents with them, leaving them all to work their way free.”
As I walked home from my visit, I began to realise that Mum had been calm that night because it was not the first time she had been tied up. I hurried back to find her sitting reading a newspaper.
“I spoke to Jessie last week, and I’ve just been visiting Gran. Tell me, what is the family legend?”
She looked up at me with a pity I had not seen before. “Well, given what happened to you last week, I guess you need to know now.
“IT’s true – ever since your gran was attacked, every single female in our family has been bound and gagged in a robbery. Every one – including now you.”
I shook my head. “It’s not possible – I mean you’ve been attacked twice, but surely it was bad luck.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Three times – Gran’s obviously told you about the office, but there was a time before that neither I nor your Aunt June has ever told her about.
“It was the mid seventies, and the two of us shared a flat in Birmingham. At any rate, one night we were just sitting watching the television when two men burst in, threatened us with knives and demanded our valuables.
“While June was dragged off to show them where we kept these things, I was forced to strip down to my panties and sit in a chair while the other intruder tied me to it with thin rope. He secured me quite tightly to the chair, pulling my bound ankles back and fixing them to the front support while my bare breasts were encircled above and below. He then took a spare roller for paint – we’d just redecorated – put a length of rope through it and gagged me as I sat there.
“A few minutes later, his mate came in with a bag and they went off. I sat there for a while, wondering what to do, when I heard a moaning from the kitchen.
“Don’t ask me how, but I managed to shuffle my chair through and saw June standing against a work surface, her wrists tied together and secured to the top of a kitchen cupboard. The rope had been passed around the dividing spar for the doors, and she stared back at me as I looked at her. She had been allowed to keep on the short denim waistcoat and skirt she had on, but a thin strap was wrapped around her head, which I later learnt had a waffle ball attached to it and in her mouth.
“It was hours before a work colleague came to see why we had not turned up the next morning. A week later, Gran sat us down and told us about her adventures, after we heard from your great aunt Daisy.”
I looked aghast at her. “Why didn’t you tell me this before?”
“As I said – we hoped you would never fall victim, but now you have. Go and talk to Great Aunt Daisy.”
They say lightning never strikes in the same place twice. I have a message for those who say that.
I was relaxing at home before starting my workout when the doorbell rang. Like an idiot, I opened it, only for this young girl with short cropped hair and denim jeans to push me back in and wave a knife in front of me, demanding my money. I was only in a pink vest top and shorts - what did I have to fight back with?
So now here I am, standing in my front room with my hands tied together behind my back and a scarf in my mouth, while she stands on a chair behind me and pulls the rope around my wrists through the lampshade. As I’m forced to lean forward, my mind goes back to what Great Aunt Daisy said when I went to see her yesterday.
Daisy has always been the serious one in our family, the smart dresser and the most polite. I swear, though, her face paled when I asked her about the legend.
“Oh yes – it’s true, and I’m sorry to hear that you have fallen victim to it now. In my case, it also happened when I was working at the office.
“I was about to lock up when this elderly gentlemen came in, and placed his briefcase on the desk. IT only occurred to me later it might have been the same man who attacked your grandmother, but at the time I had never heard the full details of that robbery.
“Anyway – he pulled a gun at me and, while he didn’t force me to strip, he took an inordinate pleasure in tying my wrists together and my arms to my side with about fifty feet of rope. By the time her had finished, you could barely see my white blouse under the layers.
“He made me lie down on a table against the wall, and tied my ankles together before securing them to my wrists. He then stuck a cloth in my mouth and tied another length of rope around to keep it in place. I lay there, watching him search through the filing cabinets – he had let me keep my glasses on to see properly.
“I know it was at least two hours after he left before the police came in. I’d never been so scared in my life…”
I held Daisy in my arms as she started sobbing, before asking “Mum says every female member – surely Sally hasn’t…”
She shook her head as she looked up at me. “Last week – she was at home when a robber broke in and surprised her on her veranda.”
I looked aghast at her. Sally is about the same age as me, and we look physically similar, although her hair is strawberry blonde while I’m lighter.
“I’m afraid so – they hogtied her on her bed, with her feet almost touching her hands, and taped her mouth over with black tape. At least they kept her orange swimsuit on her…”
I walked home, unable to take this in. My grandmother and great aunt, my mother and aunt, my sister and cousin – all attacked as I was? I wondered what the odds were on that – not knowing the next day I’d be in the same predicament again.
As I stood there, looking round as the girl ransacked my apartment, I started again to think about some of the results of the research into my family tree I had done. I’d talked to Aunt June, who confirmed what my mother told me about that incident in the flat…
“Oh god, that’s true – I still get aches in my arms when I think about it. There’s one thing your mum doesn’t know, however – that wasn’t the last time.
“I’d gone to the theatre with a friend from work – just after that sap of a husband left me. Anyway, we got back into the house to find a masked man standing there, with a very large club in his hand, which he patted rather heavily as he stood there. He made us take off our coats, and then marched us into the garage.
“I was wearing a white long dress with a diamante pattern on the front, and matching opera gloves and shoes. Bobbi, my work colleague, was more conservatively dressed in a purple blouse and black skirt with dark shoes. The man made Bobbi kneel down and keep her hands on her head while he pulled a chair out and made me sit in it, with my arms down the sides of the chair back.
“He took a large coil of rope your uncle used to use for camping, and a large knife that was there, before cutting the rope into several lengths. ‘Make yourself comfy,’ was all he said as pulled my left arm through the chair back and started to tie it to the side.
“A few minutes later, I was well secured – my arms tied to the chair back, my waist secured with a further length and my arms and chest tied to the back. He had allowed me to cross my legs before securing the ankles to the leg nearest each one. The final indignity, however, was not the fact he would have exposed my crotch had my legs not been crossed – it was the white ball he forced between my teeth and secured with straps to gag me.
“Not that Bobbi got off any lighter – he tied her to a shelf unit in the garage. We had some wrist weights in the garage, so he took the metal bars out and used the straps to secure her hands above her head, before tying her legs and ankles together with rope. It was a red ball he strapped into her mouth.
“Turned out he was after the codes to get into the office – which he found because I stupidly kept them know my phone. We stayed there for nearly a day before someone managed to get in and rescue us.”
As I watch the girl leave the house, I realise that there may have been something to this family legend business after all. Surely, however, I wasn’t going to be attacked and tied up again – twice in a month was enough?
This time I hadn’t even woken up when I felt my arms been pulled behind my back. Two boys – two school kids, for God’s sake. Not that you’d know it from the way they’ve pulled my ankles and wrist together and taped my mouth over. I’m lying on my bed, wondering what sort of bad karma I’ve stored up to make this happen again.
As I listen to them looking for stuff I haven’t replaced yet, I think back to a conversation I had with Cousin Harriet. She’s kind of a second cousin, so I thought she would pooh-pooh this whole growing feeling I had of the truth of the legend.
“Oh yes – I know the stories, and I believe they’re true. Mum and I were actually kidnapped last week so that someone could get access to Mum’s office.
“We were heading to our car from the mall when this van pulls up alongside and we’re forced at gunpoint to get in. We were blindfolded, and warned not to move or speak as they drove us somewhere – it was a good hour we were stuck in the back with two masked guards before they took us into a warehouse.
“Mum was wearing this blue sweater with a dark skirt, and they made her take that off before tying her wrists together behind her back. She kept asking what they wanted, but when they told her she just freaked out, and demanded to be released. That got her a white towelling cloth in the mouth, and she glared at them while one stood guard and let the other two secure me to some sort of set of poles they had hanging from the wall.
“I was wearing the tight little sleeveless purple top with a short skirt, so as they pulled my arms behind this pole and placed my forearms together before tying them off I could feel my chest pushing against the material. They tied my arms together, then wrapped ripe around my arms and shoulders, as well as the pole, before tying my arms and legs together. As one of them fastened this red ball into my mouth, the other one walked back to my mum and demanded the codes. She finally nodded, and I watched as they led her off into another room in the warehouse, leaving me there muted and bound.
“Like you, I’d heard the legend, but never believed it was true until that moment. When we were finally rescued, I found out they’d tied my mum to a railing in the other room and left her there, not knowing if I was alive or dead.”
I can hear the kids calling various curse words out as they leave, and as I lie there I come to a decision.
I need to call my generation together and talk to them – see if there is any way we can put a stop to this series of coincidences becoming a legend that lives on.
Well, I did it – I got Harriet and Sally to come and get together with me and find out if this was just a stupid rumour or not. Guess what the outcome was?
We met up as planned, and were about to go out for a meal as a foursome when there was a knock on the door. Next thing we knew, three escaped prisoners were in the house, demanding shelter and telling us nothing would happen if we did as we were told.
Yeah – like that was ever going to happen.
So here I am again, standing against the spiral staircase in my flat and wondering if the taste of cloth is ever going to leave my mouth. The little black dress I had put on is encircled with the ropes holding me against the central pillar, standing tall and straight as I watch one of the three make short work of the remains of the wine bottle we had been drinking from.
As for Sally and Harriet – they’re just outside the door to the room. This flat is part of a factory conversion, and I use the old storeroom outside as a workshop. They’re facing each other as far as I can see, Harriet in a black dress while Sally has on a whiter skirt with a black and white top. They’re both lashed to pillars that run from the floor to the ceiling, their hands behind the pillar and their legs and body also lashing them in place. Both also have white scarves in their mouths, and while Sally has her back to me I can see Harriet looking at both her and me, a resigned look in her eyes.
I can see what she’s saying, and I have to agree – the family legend is true. Every female member seems to be cursed to end up in this position at least once in their lives.
Even distant relatives like Harriet’s sister Anne. She had come along as she was paying a visit to Hannah, and had also dismissed the stories we told as coincidence. Bad luck. Nothing to worry about.
Bet she’s not thinking that now as she sits there, her top on the floor and the hem of her micro skirt rising up towards the wide black belt around her waist. Her arms are pinned together behind the back of her chair, and the convict had taken great pleasure in tying her legs so that her ankles were secured to the legs and spread apart, while her legs were tied together below her knees and her lap lashed to the seat.
The rope around her arms and chest was holding her nicely in place as she looked up and smiled at me. “I still don’t believe it,” she said as the man pulled a napkin into her mouth, and I have to say that if I were in her position I would not believe it as more than bad luck either,
Give her a few months – then see if she doubts it after a few more attacks.