Generations – Through the Years
“So tell me, do you think I can get away with this on the beach at Nice?”
Helen Forbes looked over at her daughter and said “I don’t know – you don’t think it shows a little too much?”
Katherine smiled as she looked at herself in the mirror. “Nah – I don’t think so,” she said with a smile. The sleeveless white blouse was open at the neck, the lapel folded back, and her red shorts had little pockets at the front. Her outfit was completed with a pair of white heeled sandals.
“I still think it’s a little showy,” Helen said as she went back to packing her daughter’s case. Her mother was wearing a blue blouse, the neck open and the lapels pressed back, and a knee length red cotton skirt that buttoned up the front, with white open toed shoes.
“Come on Mum – what did you wear when you were my age?”
“Short dresses, long socks and pigtails,” Helen said with a laugh. Both women had auburn hair, cut short and held in place by a vast amount of hairspray.
The sharp knock on the door made Helen look up. “Now I wonder who that could be,” she said as she walked out of the bedroom, Katherine taking the opportunity to slip the new swimming costume she had bought into the case. She had seen the two piece outfit, but knew her mother would disapprove.
“Mum? Who was…” Katherine looked to the door and screamed as she saw Helen, standing in front of a man wearing a white shirt, dark tie and a two piece suit, as well as a pair of leather gloves on his hand, one of which was clamped over her mother’s mouth.
“Forgive the intrusion,” he said quietly, “but I am here to rob you. Is there anyone else in the house?”
Katherine shook her head as the man smiled. “Good – close your case, and come through to the other bedroom.”
She slowly walked through, the man following with her mother, before he said “now, both of you, lie face down on the bed and put your hands behind your back. I’m afraid I’m going to have to tie you both up and gag you, so that I can steal your jewels and get away.”
“All right, just don’t hurt us,” Katherine said as she lay down, Helen joining her as the man opened a brown leather briefcase and took out several lengths of what looked like tent ropes.
He moved Katherine’s wrists together and then used one of the lengths of rope to secure them together, wrapping the rope around and between them, before taking a second length and tying her ankles tightly together. She then moved her head and watched as he did the same to her mother, Helen softly crying as the rope bit into her skin.
“There now,” he said as he tied off the rope between her ankles, “Now just stay there while I have a look round the room.”
“He just walked in when I opened the door,” Helen whispered to her daughter, “put his hand over my mouth, and then asked if anyone else was in before he walked me into the room. Katherine, I’m so sorry…”
“It’s all right mum,” Katherine said quietly, “at least he hasn’t hurt us.”
As they spoke, the man searched through the wardrobe and drawers of the room, smiling as he placed the jewellery into his briefcase.
“Well, I think I have everything now,” he said finally as he looked at them, “Now, I need you both to open your mouths as wide as you can.”
“Why,” Katherine asked, and then he saw the large white scarf that he had taken out, and was folding into a band.
“To silence you with,” he said as he pulled the band between her lips and teeth, knotting the ends tightly at the base of her neck, and then did the same for her mother. “I’m sure you’ll manage to free yourselves in time – but not before I get well away from here. Have a pleasant afternoon ladies.”
“Ucntlffslkths” Helen mumbled through her gag.
“I can, and I will,” the man said as he left, the two women struggling as the footsteps receded on the staircase…
Helen Forbes sat back and looked at her niece before she said “we finally managed to free each other an hour later.”
“Wow,” Babs Garner said as she sipped her Pernod and lemonade, “no wonder Kath gets a little jittery at times.”
The twenty two year old had met up with her aunt in a bar in London, while she had come in on a shopping trip. A student at Imperial College, she was wearing a black and grey long sleeved dress that came half way down her thighs, white socks and black Mary Jane shoes, while her aunt was wearing a collarless powder blue jacket and skirt.
“Anyway,” Helen said as she stood up, “I need to get going, or I am going to miss my train. Will you be all right?”
“Aunt Helen, I’m a big girl – I think I can take care of myself, don’t you?”
“All right then,” Helen said as she picked up her bag, “I’ll see you soon.” She waved as she walked out of the pub, Babs smiling as she walked down Oxford Circus and into the station at Bond Street.
Twenty minutes later, she was walking through Acton towards her flat, without a care in the world. She even smiled at the wolf whistles from the young men as she climbed the steps, opened her front door, and then walked into her apartment – only to let out a muffled scream as a hand was placed over her mouth.
“Hey Bert,” a voice behind her said, “the little lady came home early.”
Babs’ eyes opened wide as she saw a man walk in from the kitchen, wearing biker leathers and with a scarf over his lower face.
“Her loss,” he said, “sit her in that chair and make sure she can’t get out.”
“Not a word,” the voice behind her said as she was forced to sit in one of her armchairs, “and keep looking forward.” Babs was too terrified to do anything other than look ahead, as she saw a hand force her forearm onto the wooden arm support, and then tape it down to the wood with packing tape around her wrist.
As she watched the hands taping her other wrists down, she said “what are you doing in my flat?”
“Robbing you lady – isn’t it obvious,” the masked man said as she finally saw her binder – a hulking brute of a man who took her ankles and taped them together, the tape crinkling as it stuck to her socks and held her legs together.
“OH god, oh god, oh god,” she said as he pulled her ankles to one side and taped them to a leg of the chair, before the man wearing the scarf said “shut your mouth.”
As Babs looked at him, the man stuck the tape to one of her cheeks and wound it round her head, trapping her long blonde hair against her neck as he silenced her. The two men then walked out without a word, leaving Babs to try and tear her arms free.
Anne Chance beamed from ear to ear as she walked into the back garden.
“I’m home Mum,” she called out to the brown haired woman laying out the table.
“Hey there,” Katherine smiled as she came over and embraced her seventeen year old daughter, “you’re back early.”
“Yeah – the store closed early,” Anne said as she removed her black jacket, revealing her round necked white top with short sleeves, and she smoothed down her pale blue tartan pattern skirt. “I’ll go in get a drink.”
Katherine nodded as she watched her walk back into the house. She was wearing a sleeveless mini dress which buttoned up the front, made in a diamond pattern with a low neckline, and brown sandals.
Anne opened the refrigerator door and poured herself a drink of milk, sitting down as she rubbed the back of her thigh. The blue wedge sandals she was wearing were killing her, as she contemplated taking them off.
Looking out, she could see her mum laying out the rest of the dishes. Her father and brother were due home in a couple of hours, and then they would eat.
That was the plan – until she looked up, and then slowly stood, raising her hands as she did so.
As Katherine walked back in, she found the kitchen deserted. “Anne,” she called out, but there was no answer, so she walked slowly through to the front room.
“Anne, are you… Oh God, not again!”
Anne was facing her, the young woman’s arms behind her back as a man wearing a balaclava mask was tying her wrists together behind her back. She wanted to say something, but a strip of brown sticking plaster had been pressed firmly over her mouth, stopping anything more than a low mumble escaping.
“Hello Mrs Chance,” a voice behind her said, “just do as we say, and everyone will be just fine.”
“Is this a robbery,” she said as a third masked man came into view, this one carrying a sawn off shotgun.
“Yes – but of your husband’s firm, not of here,” the man said as she watched the first man bind Anne’s arms tightly to her side, the rope going above and below her chest.
Katherine felt her own arms been pulled behind her back, and her wrists secured together, as memories of nearly twenty years ago came flooding back to her. She tried to stay calm as she felt the rope forcing her arms together, and then the rope around her upper body, forcing her arms into her side and her chest out.
“Right then,” the masked man said as he looked at Katherine, “you need to take a phone call in three… two… one.”
The telephone rang as he pulled Katherine out of the room with him, picking up the receiver as he held it to her head.
“Kathy? Someone’s here and said you’re been held hostage.”
“I am – there are three armed and masked men here, and they have me and Anne. Please, do whatever they say, or they may hurt us.”
She felt a gloved hand over her mouth as the man said “Don’t call again – just do what my friend says” and pulled the Bakelite away from the wall, ripping the wires out in the process.
“Now put those pretty lips together,” the man said as he tore a strip of plaster free from the roll. Katherine nodded and pursed her lips, feeling the tape pulling on her face as he smoothed it down over her mouth, and then led her into the front room.
Anne was already sitting down, one of the men binding her ankles as Katherine was sat back to back against her daughter. She watched the masked intruder cross and tie her own ankles together, and then her legs below her knees, before she felt their waists been pulled together with more rope.
“Right then,” the masked man said, “search the house, take what you can find.” He sat down, the shotgun over his lap, and watched for what seemed like an eternity, the two women too scared to move or even whimper.
The sound of a car horn eventually made him stand, and Katherine watched as they left the house. As the car drove off, she whimpered “Dntwrrtllbffnnn”, feeling Anne’s grip on her fingers as she did so.
“Sold to Anne Chance,” the auctioneer said as Anne smiled – the horse figurine was now hers, and she knew it would look good on her mantelpiece.
She stood up and walked to the desk, her white heels clicking as she did so on the floor. She was wearing a white dress with a simple pattern, the skirt to her knees, and her hair cut in a bob. Since her husband had left, she’d lived alone, and alone was how she preferred it.
As she walked out, she didn’t see the woman looking at her, or notice as she followed her to the car park, and then drove after her.
“There you go,” Anne said as she put the statue on the shelf, and then stood back.
“Very nice – I think I’ll take it.”
She turned to see a woman standing behind her, wearing dark glasses and a scarf over her hair, and dressed in a fitted two piece suit. Anne’s attention, however, was fixed on the gun in her hand.
“Oh god, not again,” she whispered as the woman said “Show me to your bedroom, my dear.”
“You’ll see,” the woman said as she waved the gun, Anne walking over and then up the staircase as she followed. When they walked into her bedroom, the woman said “a woman of your taste and sophistication must have scarves – where are they?”
“In there,” Anne said as she pointed to a wardrobe. The woman walked over, looked inside and took out a long floral print chiffon scarf.
“Very nice,” she said as she held it up, “tie your ankles together with it.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Sit on the bed,” the woman said, “and tie your ankles together with this scarf. Unless you want to strip first and let me do it?”
Shaking her head, Anne sat on the bed, bending her knees and reaching down so that she could tie her ankles together.
“Very nice,” the woman said as she took out a red rectangle, “now this one, below your knees.”
Anne managed to secure her legs as the intruder took a small blue square and a larger brown scarf from the cupboard. “Now,” she said, “push the blue one into your mouth, then roll the other one into a band and tie a knot in the middle.”
“Just do it,” the woman said, Anne too afraid to do anything except stuff the blue scarf into her mouth and then arrange the brown one as the woman said.
“Good – now, knot in your mouth, tie the band around your head, and lie down.”
As Anne pulled the knot into her mouth, she tried not to gag at the cloth already in there, and tied it around her head, lying face down as the woman moved her arms behind her back, and then selected a large shawl, which she used as a band to pull her arms together.
“THTHRTTTSSS!” she complained as her elbows were made to touch, but the intruder ignored her, instead binding her wrists with a Hermes horse print scarf, and then pulling her ankles back and using a black long scarf to secure them to her arms.
“Be seeing you,” she said as Anne rolled onto her side and moaned, wondering why she had done this if all she wanted was the horse statue…