Harper’s Store – In The Beginning
“Okay, I get it – it’s forty years since Harper’s opened in town, so we have a family gathering,” Ellie said as she looked out of the car window, “but did you have to come dressed like that?”
“Hey – I’m the wild one, your Aunt Becky is the sensible one,” Vicky said as she drove the car along the road. She turned and smiled at her eighteen year old daughter, and said “why are you dressed like that?”
“It’s comfortable,” Ellie said as her father shook his head. The teenager was wearing a grey sports jacket over a blue top, jeans and black ankle boots, and her blonde hair fell over the shoulders of her jacket.
“Stop mocking her, love,” John Graves said as he looked at Vicky. The forty two year old was wearing an open necked white blouse, jeans and black over the knee patent leather boots. “You know she’s not got the same taste in clothes as you.”
“Ah but you love me for it,” Vicky said as they turned off the road, and made their way up the tree lined avenue to the large manor house. The family got out and walked up to the door as it was opened by a blonde haired woman, with a hint of grey in her hair, wearing a black top with a scoop neck and elbow length sleeves, a grey skirt, dark hose and black heels. She may have been in her mid-sixties, but she looked younger.
“Hey Gran,” Ellie said as she hugged the older woman, “thanks for inviting us tonight.”
“Why wouldn’t I,” Amy Harper said. “Come in – the others are already here.”
As they walked into the front room, their grandfather looks over and smiled. “Welcome, all of you,” he said as he hugged each of them.
“Hey Cuz – how are you?”
“Feeling good,” Ellie said as she looked at Joanne O’Hare. The red haired teenager was the same age as Ellie, and was wearing a black dress with a white inlaid Irish pattern, the sleeves short but with elbow length chiffon extensions, and a similar band under the hem of the skirt. She was also wearing dark tights, and knee length baggy black leather boots, as well as for some reason a red scarf tied in her hair.
“Vicky – you look fantastic,” the dark haired woman said as she stood up and hugged her sister. Becky was a year older than Vicky, and had long dark hair, which fell over her brown dress coat. Her legs were in dark hose, with a pair of knee length black suede boots.
Her husband Steve shook John’s hand as Alastair Harper handed drinks round, and said “before we go into dinner – a toast. To forty years of Harper’s Store.”
“To Harper’s!” The eight of them raised their glasses and then took a drink, before Amy said “well, let’s see if the chef has…”
Alastair turned to see the doors to the front room thrown open, and four masked men came in, armed and carrying large bags.
“What the hell…”
“We said don’t move,” one of the masked men said as he aimed a gun at Steve and John. “You want to die now?”
“Boys, stay calm,” Alastair said, “I don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
“Wise move, old man,” the man who seemed to be the leader of the gang said, “you three are going to come with me to open the safe – hands on your head, and march. You two,” he said as he looked at two other masked men, “stay here and make sure the ladies cannot raise the alarm.”
“If you hurt them…”
“If they do as they’re told, they don’t get hurt,” the leader said, “now MOVE!”
“It’s all right,” Amy said as she looked at her daughters, then at her husband, “we’ll take care of things. You go and do what they say.”
Throughout the whole conversation, Ellie and Joanne had been standing, too scared to move as the gang forced their fathers and grandfather to go out of the room, closing the door behind themselves.
“Right,” one of the two masked men left said as he opened a bag, revealing more ropes than either of them had seen, “you sit down, old lady, and put your hands on your head.”
“There is no need to be so rude,” Amy said as she sat on the couch, “we will do as you say.”
“Good – then the mummies get to tie the girls up.” He took out two coiled ropes and threw them at Vicky and Becky, as the second man kept his gun aimed at them. “And make sure you do a good job – if they get loose we’ll make sure they don’t.”
“All right,” Vicky said as she looked at Ellie, “I know you’re frightened, but you need to let me do this.” Ellie nodded as her mother walked behind her, while Becky walked behind Joanne.
“Put your hands behind your back, and try to relax,” Becky said as she put her hand on her daughter’s shoulder, the young girl nodding as she moved her arms, and felt her mother crossing her wrists. She watched Ellie, as her aunt guided her cousin’s arms behind her, and then let out a soft gasp as she felt the rope around her wrists, pulled firmly so that they were brought together, and then wrapped around and between her arms.
As Becky tied the rope off, she tried to move her fingers, find the knot, but she could not – and whatever her mother had done, it was effective. She could see Ellie was thinking the same thing, her jacket opening slightly as she twisted round.
“Good – now take the longer ropes, and tie their arms to their sides.”
“You getting some sort of sick pleasure out of this,” Ellie growled as Vicky passed the rope around her daughter, and Ellie was taken by surprise at the way her arms were pulled into her sides, before she looked at Joanne.
“What on earth are you doing, Aunt Becky,” she said as her aunt wrapped the rope around Joanne, pulling her arms into her sides as she wound it round above and below her chest, forcing and framing it as her breasts were made more prominent.
“It may not seem like it,” Vicky said behind her, “but we’re making sure you don’t get hurt.” She pulled the ropes one last time and tied them off, before she helped her daughter to sit on the floor, Becky helping Joanne to sit beside her as the cousins looked at each other.
“Not bad – their legs now,” the masked man said as their mothers knelt next to them and took more rope. As Ellie and Joanne watched, they doubled the length of rope over before crossing their ankles, and wrapping the rope around them, feeding the ends through the centre loop before they pulled back, forcing their ankles together.
“Where did you…”
Ellie looked at Vicky as she shook her head, and wrapped the rope round, keeping the bands neatly arranged, and then tucked the ends in before separating them and pulling them round and between her legs. That had the effect of making the binding tighter, as she tied the ends off and tucked them out of sight.
“Mum,” Joanne whispered as she wriggled round, “why…”
“Hush – we’ll explain later,” her mother said as she was handed yet more rope, and she secured her daughter’s legs together below her knees, the band sitting on top of her boots before she adjusted her skirt to cover it.
“Not bad at all,” the armed man said. “Now, you girls lie back.”
“Let us help you down – we’ll put cushions under your head,” Vicky said quietly as Amy passed them each a cushion, Ellie and Joanne looking at each other as they lay on their hands and arms.
“This isn’t exactly comfortable,” Ellie said as she wriggled round, her jacket slipping to the sides.
“Not a problem for long – keep them quiet,” the man said as their mothers were each handed a cloth.
“Listen, open your mouths was wide as you can, and don’t struggle,” Vicky said to Ellie. “It will feel strange at first, but you get used to it.”
“Hwoodlduknnn,” Ellie said as her mother gently pushed the folded cloth into her mouth, and then took the strip of duct tape she was handed and pressed it over her daughter’s mouth. Three more strips followed, as she looked over to see her aunt gagging Joanne in the same way. They were then rolled onto their stomachs, as they felt their ankles been pulled back and tied to the chest ropes.
“Right,” the masked man said as he took the gun from his partner, “go and get two chairs from the dining room. It’s Mummy’s turn.”
“Whhrruddngtthhss,” Joanne mumbled as the cloth pressed her tongue down, the tape keeping her lips together.
“To stop you two screaming for help – take a leaf out of your mum’s books, they are keeping quiet.”
They raised their heads and looked at Vicky and Becky, who both nodded as the masked man carried two chairs in, and set them on the floor.
“All right,” the first man said as he looked at Amy, “get up. You’re going to make sure these two don’t get out of the chairs. You both sit down, and put your arms by the side of the chair back.”
“Be brave, girls,” Vicky said as she sat down, Becky sitting next to her as their mother was handed rope. “Make sure their wrists are tied to the chair back as well,” the masked man said, Amy nodding as she guided Becky’s arms around the chair back, and started to tie her wrists together.
Ellie and Joanne were wriggling on the floor, both of them able to feel their heels with their fingers, wondering why their mothers has done this to them. It didn’t hurt, but it was tight, and they could feel the tape pulling on the skin around their mouths. Looking up, however, they saw Vicky with her arms around the chair back, and their grandmother behind Becky’s chair as she worked, obviously securing her wrists as well.
“Are you girls all right,” their grandmother said as she looked over, the teenagers looking at each other and nodding, determined not to show how afraid they were. The masked intruders laughed as Amy was handed another length of rope, and they said “okay – tie their upper bodies to the chair back.”
“All right then,” Amy said as she passed the rope around Vicky’s waist, pulling her against the chair back and then wrapping the rope around her upper body, the second band below her chest as she wound it round, and then taking it under one arm, up and around the back of her neck as she lifted her blonde hair out of the way, and then under the other arm. Ellie could see the way it held her in place, and also how her blouse was stretched, as Amy moved over to her other daughter and repeated the process.
Joanne was unable to take her eyes off her mother and aunt as Amy knelt down, folded back the hem of her mother’s dress, and secured her legs together below her knees, the rope going around and between her stocking covered legs as she did so, and then folding the hem back before she crossed and tied Becky’s ankles together. She then tied one more length of rope between her ankles, and pulled them up under the seat before she tied the other end to the chair back.
“Are you all right,” she said as she stood up, Becky nodding as she looked at her daughter and said “don’t worry Jo – I can cope with this.”
“Hwwwwm” Joanne mumbled as Amy went and knelt by Vicky. Ellie watched as she moved her left leg to the chair leg, and tied her ankle to the wooden support, as well as her leg below her knee. She could hear the sound of squeaking, and suddenly realised it was coming from three directions – not just her mother, but also her Aunt Becky as she moved her legs – and from Joanne as she twisted round.
Amy secured her other daughter’s leg to the other chair leg, and then stood up. “I suppose you want me to gag them as well,” she said, the masked man nodding as he handed her two cloths. Folding them, both teenagers were amazed to see their mothers opening their mouths without being told to, their own grandmother pushing the cloths in and then taping over their mouths as well.
“Where have you taken my husband and sons,” Amy said as she looked at the two masked men.
“MY friends will make sure they can’t cause any trouble as well,” he replied as his friend took more rope out, “can you guess what is going to happen now?”
“I think I can,” Amy said as she put her hands behind her back, the four captives watching as her wrists were secured, hands palm to palm, and then a second length of rope used to pull her arms together at her elbows. Amy let out a soft groan, as more rope was then wrapped around her upper body, her chest framed in the two bands as her top stretched over her breasts.
It was stretched even more as the rope was taken over one shoulder, under the lower band of rope and then back up, lying on top of the neckline as it was tied off. Amy nodded as she was told to sit on the couch, and crossed her ankles as the intruders secured her ankles and her legs below her knees in the same way as the younger girls.
“Uggtnneedeewhtsgnnn,” Joanne said as she looked at Ellie, “nddhwthstteseclm?”
Ellie shook her head as she looked at her mother, her blouse stretched as well, and wondered the same thing. Vicky was sitting quietly, twisting a little from time to time, as Becky twisted a little as well.
“so what happens once you have secured me,” Amy said as she was helped to lie down. “Are you planning anything else?”
“Only to keep you quiet – open wide.”
“I will talk to you all later,” Amy said before the folded black cloth was pushed into her mouth, and then strips of silver duct tape pressed firmly over her mouth. She rolled over as the masked man pulled her ankles back, and secured them to her chest ropes, before she rolled onto her side and said “bbrrfflffuu.”
“Ugtttmmm,” Becky said as Vicky nodded, the teenagers looking at each other before they nodded as well. The door to the room opened, as the other two masked men came in.
“They’re all secured and quiet,” the man said as their leader checked all five of them.
“Good work – the menfolk are not going to stop us now. Time to move out.”
“Are you sure…”
Amy shook her head as the leader looked at her. “No – we got what we came for, we don’t need the extra trouble. Move out.”
All five women watched as the masked intruders walked out, then at each other as they waited to see if they were coming back. Eventually, Ellie and Joanne looked at each other and started to struggle on the floor, trying desperately to get free as they tried to comprehend what was going on.
After a while, they noticed their mothers and grandmother watching them, as Ellie said “nttugnngtfrrr?”
“nned,” Amy said, as she looked to the door and they all heard footsteps approaching, before the doors were thrown open and their grandfather came in.
“I knew hiding that knife was a good idea,” he said as he walked quickly over and removed the tape and cloth from Amy’s mouth. “You girls all right? They didn’t try anything?”
“No – but I think you should get Ellie and Joanne free first,” Amy said as the two younger girls nodded. “The police?”
“John’s calling them – let’s get you free.”
“It was the caterers, wasn’t it?”
“I think so – the kitchen is empty and nothing’s been cooked. So we get you free,” he said as he released Ellie and Joanne from their hogties, “talk to the police, and then we’ll order take out.”
As he peeled the tape from Ellie’s mouth, she spat out the soaking wet cloth and said “How can you all be so calm? And ehre on earth did you learn to tie someone like that Mum?”
Joanne mumbled “ewwnttknswll” as she looked at Becky.
“Girls,” Amy said, “we’ll talk later – right now, let’s get all of us released.”
“Well – we’re listening,” Ellie said as she and Joanne sat at the table, the remains of the Chinese takeaway dishes in the middle as their mothers and grandmother looked at them.
“Alastair, can you men give us the room for a while?”
“Come on,” he said as he stood up, “we know what’s going to be said.”
As he left with their fathers, and closed the door, Amy said “Okay girls – we were robbed tonight, but it’s not the first time we have been robbed.”
“By no means,” Vicky said as she looked at Ellie, “by no means.”
“Okay – that explains how you remained calm,” Joanne said, “but how did you learn to tie like that? Neither of us could move or speak!”
“Practice,” Becky said, “lots of practice, and it was your grandmother who started it.”
“It was? Why?”
“Well,” Amy said, “to answer that, we have to go back to when we first opened the store…”
To be continued…