Heidi at Halloween
The ring on the doorbell brought Cindy out to answer it, opening the door to see Jannifer standing there.
“Hey,” she said as she came in, “ready for tomorrow?”
“Can’t wait,” Cindy said with a smile as they walked into the front room of their house. The young dark haired girl at down and crossed her legs as her school friend sat opposite her.
“So your mom has no problem with us doing this?”
“Despite what she may have said in the past, she has no problem with that – especially with Chloe agreeing to accompany us.”
“What about Nats and Alice?”
“Heidi’s round at Natalie’s place just now. I think they’re discussing the outfits they’re going to wear Saturday night for the actual visit to the Spookfest.”
“What are you going to wear?”
“Promise you won’t tell the others?”
Jannifer nodded as Cindy went out of the room for a few minutes, returning as she held the main part of her costume up to show her friend.
“Wow – for someone who was Fantomette once upon a time, that’s one heck of a leap.”
“I know – but it’ll be worth it for the look on their faces…”
“So what’s Cindy wearing?”
“I have no idea and I haven’t asked – we’re going to surprise each other,” Heidi said as she looked at Alice and Natalie. “I see you are going as a matched pair at any rate?”
“We are indeed,” Alice said as she adjusted the headband, the kitten ears attached to it, “like it?”
“Very much so – I guess you girls are going to have a great time.”
“So what are the travel arrangements?”
“Chloe is going to meet us at the train station at ten tomorrow. The train takes a couple of hours, and we’re booked into a nice cheap hotel for the weekend – bed only, but we can grab breakfast and other things as we go along. She’s also indicated an escapology club lesson can be arranged for tomorrow night if need be.”
“Sounds good to me,” Alice said with a smile, “if the escape challenge is doable. Chloe has got much better at this sort of thing over the last few months.”
“Anyway,” Heidi continued, “the Spookfest itself is from midday, but the main bands don’t get going until after dark, so we’ll see how we go from that. Sunday we get to ourselves, but we have to be back on the six o’clock train out of Boston North.”
“Well, that all seems clear and reasonable,” Natalie said as she wriggled her toes, “so, let’s decide how we’re going to thank Chloe.”
“WITH A GIFT!!! Have you forgotten what happened last time we tried that stunt?”
The two girls looked at Heidi and said “oh – yeah, I had forgotten for a moment. Sorry.”
Chloe Bandelaine stood at the entrance to the train station, tapping her foot slightly as she looked at her watch. Her thick jacket covered her red v-necked sweater, the scarf tucked into the front covering the round necked top she was wearing under it for warmth, while the tops of her striped socks stuck up over her Doc Marten boots. They also covered the bottom of her red leggings, while a denim skirt covered the rest.
“There you are,” she finally said as Amy pulled up and got out, Heidi and Cindy climbing out of the back as she unloaded their bags. Heidi had her blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, and was wearing a grey leather jacket over a white jumper, her blue jeans tucked into straight grey leather boots. Cindy had on a denim dress over a brown jumper, thick leggings and a pair of trainers.
“My fault – I had to find the money I’d set aside for them,” Amy said as Katherine pulled up, Natalie jumping out and running to the trunk. As she opened it and removed their bags, Jannifer got out, her grey pants tucked into a pair of brown Ugg boots and a padded jerkin over her checked blouse and t-shirt, while Alice was wearing a black jacket and pants with ankle boots.
“Here we go,” Natalie said as she walked over, her long skirt flowing as she walked, “ready to go.
“We should move quickly,” Chloe said as she looked at her watch, “I have the tickets, and the train will be here in ten minutes.”
“We’ll call later,” Heidi said as she kissed her mother, and ran after the group.
“They really are growing up, aren’t they,” Blossom said as she stood with her friend.
“Yeah, they are – come on, I’ll buy you a coffee.”
As they climbed onto the train, and found their seats, four of the girls found themselves round a table as Chloe sat in a chair on the other side of the aisle with Nats.
“How long does the journey take,” Jannifer said as the train moved off.
“A couple of hours,” Alice said as she produced a deck of cards from her bag. “Anyone want a game of rummy?”
“You four go ahead,” Nats said as she closed her eyes, “I want to take a little nap.” She slipped her shoes off and wriggled her toes as she stretched her legs out.
“Oh – sorry Chloe,” Nats said as she moved her legs to the side, before she closed her eyes, allowing herself to relax as the girls played cards, and Chloe listened to her iPod.
The journey passed quickly enough before they pulled into the railway terminus in Boston, and the girls got out.
“Right, mes amis,” Chloe said, “I have the route to the hotel we are using on the local transit system, so let us make haste, and find the rooms we are sharing. Jannifer, you will be sharing with me if that is all right?”
“No problem,” Jannifer said, “I presume Heidi and Cindy, and Nats and Alice are the other pairings?”
“Well, I have no objections,” Alice said as she giggled slightly, while they made their way across town, and into the hotel.
“Let’s get unpacked and then grab something to eat,” Heidi said as they collected their keys. The other girls nodded as they headed for the lifts, and then to their rooms.
“Well, I feel better for that,” Cindy said as they made their way back into the hotel, “what time is it anyway?”
“Nearly nine,” Natalie said as she looked at her watch, and then at Chloe, “which means that, if our esteemed coach is willing...”
“Very well then,” Chloe said as she shook her head, “where shall we have the lesson?”
“Let’s go to our room,” Natalie said. “Do you need anything, Mademoiselle?”
“No – I anticipate such a request and am ready,” Chloe said quietly as they walked to the lift. As they stepped out on their floor, Chloe went to her room while the others congregated in Alice and Natalie’s room.
“Do you guys mind if I get changed for bed while we’re waiting,” Natalie said as she grabbed some night clothes and headed for the bathroom.
“As if we would,” Heidi called back as they waited. Nats eventually emerged, wearing a pair of knee length shorts and a short sleeved t-shirt, her feet bare.
“I might change as well,” Alice said as she went into the bathroom, emerging in a dusky pink pair of shorts and vest top, just as there was a knock on the door.
“Now then, my friends,” Chloe said as she came in, “I see you two are already changed and ready for bed. What of the rest of you?”
“We’re fine,” Heidi said, “so what are you going to do?”
“Well, as this is the escapology class, I think I need to secure all five of you in a way that will make it difficult, but not impossible, for you to free each other. Natalie, Alice, will you please sit back to back on the bed, and put your arms around each other’s bodies?”
“Like this,” the two girls said as they wrapped their arms behind each other.
“Excellent – please, hold that pose while I begin with the other three. Ladies, hands behind your backs please.”
“And here we go,” Heidi said as Chloe took some lengths of cord from the holdall she had brought in, and one by one crossed and bound their wrists behind their backs, keeping the rope over the cuffs of their tops, and taking the rope between their arms as well.
“Now, ladies, please sit on the floor, while I secure your ankles. Be assured, this is only the first stage, but it would be best if you can only watch while I take care of young Natalie and Alice.”
All three nodded as they sat down, Chloe removing their shoes and boots before binding their ankles and their legs below their knees, the rope going between their legs in both places as well.
“Now then, my two little angels,” she said as she walked over to Alice and Natalie, “let’s make you both nice and secure, non?” She started by pulling Natalie’s wrists together over Alice’s stomach, and binding them tightly together with rope, before doing the same with Alice’s wrists in front of Natalie.
“Guess we’re not going anywhere,” Alice said over her shoulder as Chloe tied their waists together, then their bodies around their stomachs, and then around their upper arms, before she used shorter lengths of rope to tighten the bands between their bodies.
“No I... Nggg... I don’t think we’re going anywhere,” Nats said as the rope pulled the two girls tightly together, “you don’t mind do you?”
“Mind? Why should I mind,” Alice said as Jannifer saw the grin on her face.
“Hey – you two want some privacy,” she called out as Chloe crossed and tied Natalie’s ankles together, and then secured her legs below her knees.
“Do not worry, you will all eventually have privacy,” Chloe said as she repeated the process on Alice, and then helped the two girls to lie down, before connecting the wrists of one girl to the knees of the other with ropes.
“Well, this is fun,” Alice said as she wriggled round, Nats gasping in response as Chloe went to the other girls, taking three more coils of rope from her bag as she did so.
“Let me ask you, mes amis,” she said with a smile, “would you like me to really secure your arms?”
The three girls looked at each other and then nodded as she started with Jannifer, taking the rope around her arms below her chest and pulling them tightly into her sides, taking the rope above and below her chest, and then bringing the bands together behind her back, feeding the rope under one arm, up and around the back of her neck, and then under the other arm.
“There – I trust that is not uncomfortable?”
“No – just a little scary,” she said as she wriggled round, watching as Chloe did the same to Heidi and Cindy.
“I guess I’m getting used to this now,” Heidi said as she struggled, but found no give.
“Now, I must ask all of you to open wide – it is time to be quiet.”
They all nodded as she pushed a folded cloth into each of their mouths, and then stretched a length of wide micropore tape over their lips, pressing it down firmly so that it sealed the cloth in place.
“Whtnwww,” Heidi said as Chloe helped her to lie on the floor, and then rolled her over, pulling her ankles back and securing them to her chest ropes, then doing the same to the other two.
“Now, darkness,” Chloe replied as she fixed a sleep mask over their eyes, and then did the same to Alice and Natalie. The five girls struggled and mmphed as Chloe said “now, as you attempt to escape, I may provide some – distractions.”
Jannifer started wriggling as Chloe tickled the soles of her feet, moving down the line of hogtied girls as she tickled their soles. All three started wriggling and laughing under their gags, Alice and Natalie wriggling round as they wondered what was going on.
“Do not worry, my friends, I have not forgotten you,” Chloe said as she walked over and started to tickle the soles of their feet, making them both wriggle round. The others relaxed a little, wondering why it felt so good with the ropes around their chest just then, and moaning a little as they calmed down, listening to the screams of laughter, however muffled, from the other two.
“Now then,” Chloe said as she stepped back and sat in an armchair, turning the television on as she picked a film to watch, “you may begin to try to escape...”
Heidi lay still for a moment, wondering what the best plan of attack was going to be. She could feel the ropes around her wrists, but had no way of seeing where the knot was, let alone finding it with the blindfold on. From the muffled grunts next to her, she suspected Cindy was thinking the same thing.
So she started to rub her head on the floor, hoping to dislodge the sleep mask. It took a few minutes, but eventually she pushed it up her head, allowing her to see Chloe as she sat with her back to them, watching the television.
“Dntmfff,” she mumbled to Cindy as she wriggled up the floor, and then hooked he fingers under her friend’s sleep mask, pulling it up her head and then nodding to Jannifer.
As Cindy moved the sleep mask off the third girl, Heidi looked up at the bed. Nats and Alice were hardly moving, content to be tied to each other as they wriggled slightly. Looking to her side, she saw the other two looking at her, as she started to rub the edge of the tape covering her lips on the floor.
As she finally managed to peel it away, and push the cloth out with her tongue, she looked at the other two and shook her head to indicate they should say nothing, wriggling round instead and starting to use her teeth to release Cindy’s ankles from her chest, while they started to try and dislodge the tape from their mouths.
As she wriggled, Heidi was also enjoying the way the ropes on her chest were moving, and she suspected the others were as well, but she said nothing as she finally managed to free Cindy’s ankles and allow her to let her legs fall quietly to the floor.
She then turned her head, her tape coming away from her mouth as Heidi picked at the knot holding her arms and wrists behind her back, while Jannifer wriggled up, a small moan escaping her gagged lips as she got into a position where Cindy could work on her ropes.
Half an hour later, Cindy wriggled her arms free and rolled over, sitting up as she untied Heidi from her hogtie and then untied the other two girl’s arms and wrists. The three of them then started to untie their own legs as Chloe turned and looked at them.
“Bien, you have done well,” she whispered as the three of them stood up. “You have earned a reward.” She looked over at Alice and Natalie, the thereof them grinning as they stood at the foot of the bed.
“WHTTHHLLLLL” Nats screamed into her gag as she felt her feet been tickled by three hands, Alice trying to pull her feet away as well as she was tickled, forcing the two girls to move together as they tried to get out of the way.
Eventually, Chloe looked at her watch and said “enough – it is nearly midnight, and you need your sleep. You three return to your rooms – I will be along shortly, Jannifer, once I have released these two.”
“Gotcha Chloe,” Jannifer said as the three girls put their shoes on and walked back to their rooms, talking as they did so.
“So, mes amis, are you ready to be released?”
Both girls looked at her and shook their heads, moaning a little as the ropes rubbed on them. Chloe sat back, looking at them, and then said “Is there, perhaps, something that the two of you wish to tell me about?”
“Did you free them,” Jannifer said from the bedroom as Chloe came in.
“I did – and now to bed.”
“Right,” Nats said as they walked back into the hotel, having had breakfast at a HoP down the sidewalk, “time to get ready for Spookfest. Meet here at twelve, and we go together.”
The girls nodded as they went to the lifts, and then up to their rooms.
“So you ready,” Alice said as she and Natalie went into the room.
“I think so,” Nats said as she pulled off her jumper and skirt, and picked up the black body stocking she had laid out on the bed earlier. She smiled as she saw Alice take off her clothes, and then put on the grey body stocking, before they both put on matching leotards.
“What Chloe talked to both of us about last night...”
Natalie took a pair of black suede boots from the wardrobe and sat on the bed, pulling them up over her legs as she did so. “Yeah – how did you feel about that?”
Alice pulled on a pair of grey suede boots, and looked at her friend. “I thought it was kinda cool what she said, but if it’s going to be embarrassing or anything like that...”
“I’m not if you’re not?”
Nats smiled and nodded as she put the black kitten hairband on her head. “Right – makeup time.”
“How are you getting on Cindy,” Heidi called out from the bathroom as she looked at herself in the mirror.
“I’m ready,” she replied, “come out and have a look.”
As Heidi came out, she looked at her friend and whispered “Dear god – what gave you that idea?”
“Joanne told me of a woman she saw wearing something similar, and I thought it would work,” Chloe said with a smile. She was wearing a red sweater with long black sleeves, and an hourglass motif was fastened to the front. She was wearing a pair of red tights, with black hot pants, and knee length red Doc Martens that laced up the front. A black belt with pouches hung loosely on her hips, while Cindy had used a red long haired wig and a red mask to complete the outfit.
“You look like some sort of superhero dressed like that,” Heidi said as she nodded her head, “very kick-ass.”
“Why thank you – I do like it myself,” she said, “but you look hot in that!”
“I think so,” Heidi said as she stood with her hips thrust forward. She was wearing a female pirate’s outfit, with a laced bodice white blouse under a red and black waistcoat, a short layered skirt, dark tights and over the knee black leather boots, the cuff folded down in pirate style. A black bandana was tied over her long blonde hair, which was held back in a pigtail.
“Right,” Heidi said as she picked up her purse, “let’s go and join the others.”
As they came out of their room, they saw Natalie and Alice come out, the other two staring at them.
“Well, if you had asked me what costume you were going to wear,” Alice said as she looked at Cindy, “I would never have gone for that.”
“Surprise,” Cindy said as she did a little twirl, and then heard Chloe say “Mon...”
“Oh my,” Heidi said as she looked at Chloe, “that is an amazing outfit – and Jan?”
“Yup,” Jannifer said as she posed in her long black dress, the front cut low to reveal her chest, and slits up each side of the skirt, a pair of four inch heels on her feet. She had a long black wig on, and had used talcum powder to make her look almost white skinned.
Chloe was dressed entirely in pink – a tight pink leather jacket and skirt, knee length leather boots, and short pink leather gloves. Her hair was hidden under a blonde wig.
“Well, I think we all outdid ourselves,” Nats said, “let’s hit the festival!”
As they left the hotel lobby, they joined groups of other teenagers in costumes, making their way on foot to the park where the festival was taking place. Chloe smiled as she heard a few wolf whistles, and then glanced down at her watch, nodding as the watch face continued to glow green.
“Everything all right, Chloe?”
“Yes, everything is fine, Heidi,” the older girl said with a smile, “I was just taken aback by the variety of your costumes.” She looked at Natalie and Alice, Natalie wearing white makeup with back whiskers, Alice with a tabby face and whiskers, and also at the collars they wore round their necks, wondering just how far they were prepared to take the cat motif.
She also quietly prayed Sarah would forgive her for her choice of costume – she had picked it as something that would not be unobtrusive, but she was glad she had the thermal vest top on underneath, given the decided chill in the air.
The crowds were getting larger, chatting excitedly amongst themselves as they approached the park entrance, a large neon sign saying “Welcome to Spookfest 2014” placed over the pillars on either side. The girls walked in, smiling as they milled around the crowds and took in the sights.
The path led at first past a number of amusement stalls, themed around the holiday. Cindy stopped and paid for a go at the Skull Sty, taking great delight in knocking the skulls off their perches and claiming a prize, before Nats said “look – a haunted house. Who wants to go through?”
The group moved towards the entrance, only to be stopped by the two vendors there.
“Rules of the house,” one of them said, “you go in pairs, and one must be blindfolded and led by the other.”
“Does that scare you,” the second vendor said as he looked at them.
The girls looked at each other, before Nats took one of the blindfolds and fixed it over her eyes. “I’ll lead you through, my little familiar,” Jannifer said as Cindy tied a second blindfold over her eyes, and Alice tied the third one over her eyes. Chloe took Cindy’s hand, and Heidi Alice’s before the two men allowed them to go into the attraction.
As haunted houses went, it wasn’t the worst Heidi had ever been in, but it wasn’t the most imaginative either. Given Alice could not see, she suspected some of it was better than others, especially when they had to touch things or were surprised by people jumping out, but it had a tame feeling to her. She could hear the shrieks of Cindy and Nats, however, so she didn’t say anything as they made their way out, returning the blindfolds.
They could hear some music playing, so they made their way along the line to where there was a clearing in front of a stage. A band of five boys were playing old seventies songs, but were good enough that they could dance to them, along with a small crowd of teenagers who were there as well.
Chloe walked to the side, buying a drink from one of the vendors as she stood and watched the girls. She wished Tony was there, but he had a weekend retreat, so he had been unable to come.
“It would be more fun if he was here, wouldn’t it?”
As she turned her head, she was shocked to see Sue Duncombe standing there, wearing a witches outfit and hat.
“Mon dieu, Sue – I am not needed, am I?”
“No, you’re not – I’m here as an escort for the kids of some friends. So this is not a call to arms – and besides, the outfit’s on the wrong girl.”
“I know – she surprised me with that,” Chloe said as she looked at Cindy and Heidi.
“So, despite the costume change – and pink does look good on you – and the lack of boyfriend, are you enjoying the festival?”
“Surprisingly enough, yes,” Chloe said as a group of three girls peeled off from the crowd forming in front of the stage.
“Ah – back to business. I may see you later, Chloe,” Sue said with a smile as she followed them, and the girls came over.
“Let’s go and find some of the other stages,” Heidi said as they went in a different direction. As they walked past the stalls, they saw a group of four people walking towards them, dressed as the Scooby gang. As they came closer, however, Velma looked closely at them and said “Heidi Strong? Is that you?”
“Kathy? Jo? Man, it’s good to see you two again. You remember Jannifer, Alice and Natalie, right?”
“How could we forget them,” the other two said, the redhead Daphne hugging all of them.
“How are you both – still sore we wiped the floor with you in Washington?”
“Oh come on – you were the better team that day.”
“Er – want to clue us in on what’s going on Jo?”
“Sorry, sorry,” Jo said as she looked at Fred and Shaggy. “Girls, these are our boyfriends, Tommy and Billy. Boys, these are some of the girls we met at the championship in Washington earlier this year – Heidi and Cindy filled our roles on their team. They’re from up Maine way – it’s Natalie, Alice and Jennifer, right?”
“Jannifer actually, and it’s Nats – pleased to meet you all. This,” she said as she looked behind them, “is Chloe, our parental approved escort for the trip.”
“So what brings you here anyway?”
“Chance of a weekend away, to see the town – but also to relax a bit before the holidays creep up on us. I forgot you guys were local – how does this compare to other years?”
“No idea – first time we’ve come as well,” Shaggy, or rather Tommy said. “Why don’t we go find a pizza stand and get something to eat? We can head to the main stage from there.”
“Sounds good to me,” Heidi said as the group headed off. Chloe followed behind, shaking her head as Billy looked back and said “great costume – who are you meant to be, Emma Peel?”
“So where is the main stage,” Natalie said as they ate the pizza, sat round a long table.
“Down that way – you can just about hear it over the crowds,” Kathy said as she looked to where a red glow could be seen over the huts. “There’s a few challenge booths on the way there.”
“Challenge booths? A bit more fun than the tame stuff at the entrance, I hope?”
“Want to go and have a look?”
“Go on then,” Heidi said as she wiped her mouth, “let’s see what they’ve got to offer.”
The group headed off down the row of shacks, looking at the wire buzzer games and other similar games, before they saw one called “Can you?”
“So what’s the challenge here,” Nats said as she looked at the door.
“Inside are two burglars, who are intent on stopping the house owner raise the alarm. Can you escape within the five minutes they leave you alone?”
The five girls looked at each other, before Alice said “Challenge – accepted. Can the others watch?”
“Once they have you prepared,” the man said as he opened the door, and Alice walked in. A few minutes later, the door opened again, and the group went in, standing round the room as they saw Alice lying on her side, her wrists and ankles tied with cords and a scarf tied over her mouth.
“If she escapes in the time limit, she can do whatever she wishes to the burglars,” a voice said. “Your time starts – now!”
Heidi just closed her eyes and shook her head as Alice quickly put her arms under her bottom, and drew her legs through, before pulling the scarf down and using her teeth on the knot next to her wrists. The clock barely showed three minutes before she stood up and said “Well?”
“That’s a new record,” a young woman said as she came through. “How did you do that?”
“A few life experiences,” Alice said with a smile.
“So if you were me, how would you make sure they cannot get free?”
Alice looked at the other girls, and said “Really?”
“Jo, Kathy, care to volunteer?”
“Why not,” they said as they came forward, “what are you going to do?”
“Nothing too drastic – just a bit more effective. Can you both put your hands behind your backs please?”
The other girls watched as Alice and Nats took the ropes and started to bind their wrists tightly together.
“Just be careful,” Kathy said as she looked over her shoulders, “you might be giving these two ideas.”
Heidi looked at Billy and Tommy, who were watching as Nats and Alice wrapped more rope around their arms, pulling their elbows togeteh rbehind their backs.
“This should stop them doing what I did,” Alice said as the two girls satd own, watching as their ankles, followed by their legs above and below their knees, were secured with bands of rope going around and between the limbs.
“Yeah, I don’t think we’re going anywhere,” Jo said as she wriggled round, the other girl walking round and looking at them. She then picked up two scarves, rolled them into bands and used them as cleave gags, the two boys laughing as Tommy said “Well, at least they can be quiet for a little while now.”
“Wannebtt?” Kathy looked at him, then rolled over and looked at Jo, before the two of them shuffled over so that they were lying back to back, their fingers working on the knots.
“Why do i get the feeling they’ve done this before,” the girl said as she looked at teh two boys.
“Could be,” Billy said with a smile, “but Alice is right – it’s going to take them a while. Why don’t you head over to the main stage and we’ll catch you up.”
“How will you find us?”
“Let’s see – look for the gorgeous woman in pink?”
Chloe blushed and said “Ah, but i am too old and too experienced for you.”
“Can I dream?”
“Of course you may,” Chloe said with a smile as the girls headed out, and joined the crowds heading towards what they presumed was the main stage. The increase in volume from the main stage confirmed that as they came into a large open area, the large screens either side of the stage at one side showing the band as they played.
“Who’s on the stage,” Cindy asked a ghost who was watching.
“One of the local bands – the main band is due on soon.”
“The surprise act?”
“That’s right,” he said as the band finished playing, and the crowd cheered.
“I’ll go and get some drinks,” Jannifer said as she nudged Cindy, the two of them walking to one of the side stalls as the other four stood watching the band.
“Hey sexy momma – can we play with your kittens?”
“I beg your pardon,” Chloe said as she turned round and looked at three young men, dressed up as some of the walking dead, looking at them.
“I said can we play with the kitty kats,” another of the boys said as they looked at Alice and Nats.
“I don’t think so,” Heidi said quietly, “go and bother someone else.”
“Oh the pirate has teeth,” the third boy said with a grin, “what are you going to do, darling, make me walk the plank?”
Heidi looked at them with no attempt to hide her disgust, before Chloe said “Boys, we thank you for the compliments, but I think you should walk on. We are not interested in your company tonight.”
“We are not going to take no for an answer,” the first boy said as he grabbed Chloe’s wrist, the girls watching as his face went even more pale as he looked at her.
“Fuis, petit homme , avant que je décide de te manger toi et tes amis,” Chloe whispered as he let go, his friends watching as he sprinted away. They then looked at Chloe, who just smiled before they ran after him.
“Wow,” Natalie said as she put her hand on Chloe’s shoulder, “what did you say to him?”
“I told him to go,” she said quietly as the dial on her watch slowly returned to green. Looking round, she saw Cindy and Jannifer coming back with several bottles, while Jo and Kathy came from the stalls with their boyfriends.
“I just saw an idiot running away screaming about a woman who became a spider,” Billy said. “What happened?”
“Probably a bad burrito,” Heidi said as she looked at Chloe. The young French woman just smiled as she said “I would agree,” before a man started to sing on the stage.
“Oh my,” Cindy said, “that’s Brandon Flowers. That means the secret band is...”
As The Killers started to play, the crowd erupted and started to dance, the group joining in.
“That was fantastic,” Alice said as they started to make their way out of the festival.
“I agree,” Kathy said, “especially bumping into you guys again.”
“Listen – if you’re free later today, perhaps we can meet up before we head off?”
“That sounds fun,” Jo said, “what about you two?”
“Sorry,” Billy said, “we have a scout thing tomorrow, but you can tell us all about it tomorrow night.”
“Well, tell us where you’re staying, and we can call on you at – eleven sound all right?”
The girls looked at Chloe, who said “that should be fine. We will see you both tomorrow.”
“It’s a date then,” Heidi said as they hugged the girls, and then went in the opposite direction from the park.
In the hotel, Chloe said “well, I will see the rest of you in the morning.”
“Chloe, can we ask a favour of you,” Natalie asked as the other girls went into their rooms.
“Of course, my little kittens,” Chloe said with a smile, “what is it?”
“We need to be kept in our basket – can you help?”
Chloe looked at both of them, before saying “very well – but not too restrictive.”
The two girls nodded as Chloe followed them into their room, and picked up some lengths of cord.
“Put your paws together in front of you,” she said, watching as they sat on the bed before she tied their wrists together. Securing their ankles in the same way, she picked up the medical tape and gently smoothed a length over their mouths, before helping them to lie on the bed.
“Sleep well, little cats,” she said as she closed the door.
Chloe looked up to see the five girls coming into the room, all showered and wearing long sleeved jumpers and jeans.
“Good morning to all of you as well,” Chloe said with a smile, “I trust you all slept well?”
“Very well thank you,” Natalie said as she sat down, Chloe noticing that she wasn’t wearing anything on her feet. “That was an amazing night.”
“Yeah, it was,” Jannifer said as she looked over at the breakfast buffet. “So what are we going to do today?”
“Well, remember Kathy and Jo are joining us at eleven – when do we need to check out of our rooms?”
“By twelve – but they will store some bags for us until we need to catch the train,” Chloe said.
“Well, maybe they can show us some of the sights,” Alice said before she went over to the breakfast buffet, “and just have a nice, relaxing day before we head home.”
“Sounds like a plan to me,” Heidi said quietly, “I could do with a day without excitement.”
“Hey,” Kathy said as she and Jo came into the lobby of the hotel, “ready for a little walk?”
“Sure am,” Heidi said as she stood with her jacket on. Chloe was arranging for the safe storage of the luggage, while the other four girls were heading over from the rest rooms. Both Kathy and Jo were wearing long jumpers over leggings and short boots, the five visitors now wearing shoes or trainers.
“Well, that is taken care of,” Chloe said as she walked back over, “tell me, where would you like to head to now?”
“How about the mall? I know, I know,” Jo said as the girls looked at her, “but there are some great stores in there, and I know a very good place to grab a late lunch.”
“So long as we are at the station by six,” Chloe said, “that will be fine.”
“Great – come on, let’s go,” Kathy said as they headed out of the hotel lobby.
The girls made their way across the city to the mall Kathy and Jo had talked about, and walked into the main entrance, Chloe following a short distance behind so that they felt they had a bit more freedom. They made their way around the stores, doing what all teenage girls do, and making a few purchases, before Kathy looked at her watch and said “it’s after one – want to grab a bite to eat in the diner over there?”
“Looks good – coming Chloe?”
“No thank you – I shall go into the bookstore over there, but please, enjoy yourselves,” Chloe said as she headed to the left, and the girls went into the diner. There was only one other table occupied, by a young couple who kept looking over to the door.
“We’ll take that booth over there,” Jo said as the seven of them crammed in, a waitress coming over and saying “What will it be girls?”
As she took their order, another small party came in, three young women who Heidi thought she had seen the previous night. They took another booth, the young couple looking at each other as one of them took out a cell phone.
“I’ll get that for you in a few minutes,” the waitress said as she went off.
“Interesting book Chloe?”
“Why good morning Sue,” Chloe said as she turned and saw Sue Duncombe there, wearing a soft leather jacket over a white blouse and skirt, “still on babysitting duties?”
“From a distance – they just went into the diner over there,” Sue said as she nodded to the other side of the mall.
“Really? That is where Heidi and the others have gone – I wonder if they will recognise each other?”
“Probably not – it was a large crowd last night.”
“Indeed – but a very enjoyable evening.”
“So what are you looking for?”
“There is a text book I need for my history class – concerning the Franco Prussian war.”
“Let’s have a look over there,” Sue said as they headed to the back of the store.
“This is really good food,” Cindy said as she ate another of the fries, “I’m glad you suggested coming in...”
The girls all turned to see the young man standing by the main entrance, closing it as he pointed a gun into the diner.
“Just stay where you are, girls, and this will be over really quickly,” the woman said before she went into the kitchen, and they heard her talking to the staff.
“What’s this – a robbery,” Heidi said as she looked at the man, the other three girls cowering slightly.
“Partly,” he said as the woman came back in. “All cool in there?”
“All secured,” she said as she looked at the girls, “what about this lot?”
“All right,” the man said, “I want you to pair up. You three go and join that group over there.”
The three young women came over as the older woman produced several long plastic strips from her bag.
“We’ll go together,” Natalie said as she and Alice looked at the strips, knowing what was coming.
“Us as well,” Jo said as she looked at Kathy.
“And us,” Heidi said as she looked at Cindy.
“Right,” the man said as he looked at Jannifer, “you go with one of these three, and the other two together. One of each pair, lie face down on one of the booth seats.”
“What are you going to do to us,” one of the three strangers said.
“You, Your Highness, will come with us – the rest of you get to play statues for a while. Now, lie down and put your hands behind your back.”
“Take one of these each,” the woman said as she handed a zip tie to Heidi, Alice, Jo, Jannifer and the girl who had spoken, “and fasten it round the wrists of your partner.”
“Just do as they say,” Natalie said as she lay down, “it’s not worth arguing.”
“But you need to know, you’re making a big mistake,” Cindy said as she lay on one of the seats.
“Yeah, yeah – zip them up.”
“Well, at least we found the book,” Sue said as she and Chloe came out of the bookstore, “we’d better go and collect the girls now.”
“I agree,” Chloe said as they looked over to the diner, only to see the “CLOSED” sign on the door, and the lights dimmed.
“Strange – why would it be closed if the girls are still in there,” Chloe said quietly.
“Exactly,” Sue said as a security guard walked past. “Excuse me a minute,” she said as she stopped him
“Agent Duncombe, FBI,” Sue said as she flashed her badge. “Take us to the service entrance for the diner.”
Cindy grunted as Heidi pressed the strip of silver tape over her mouth, hearing her sister say “sorry” as she looked at the others.
“Right – you two,” the man said to Heidi and Alice, “take these strips and fasten the wrists of the other three behind their backs.”
“You know you will never get away with this,” the young girl he had called Her Highness said as the woman secured her wrists behind her back with another zip tie.
“Ah shut up,” she said as she tore a strip of tape from the roll on the counter, and covered the young girl’s mouth with it, adding extra layers as Jo, Jannifer and the third girl were made to lie on the floor, Heidi and Alice securing their ankles as well before the tape was tossed to them.
“Gag them,” the man said as he looked at his partner. “Check the staff, make sure none of them are trying to get free.”
She nodded as she went through to the kitchen, the man saying “All right you two – sit back to back, and secure your own ankles together.”
The woman walked to the rear of the kitchen, smiling as she looked at the two waitresses and the chef, as well as the diner manager. All four were sitting with their backs to the wall, their arms behind their backs, their ankles secured together with plastic strips, and silver tape covering their mouths.
“Good – you stayed still,” she said as she waved her gun in front of them, “just remember there are no heroes here – only idiots who get hurt, so stay cool and stay there.”
The four adults nodded as she walked out of the kitchen, and then looked to the door to the side of them as it slowly opened inwards, allowing both Sue and Chloe to come in. Sue put her finger to her lips as she reached into her jacket, and pulled her gun from her holster, while Chloe looked at her watch, the dial starting to glow a dull red.
“FBI,” Sue whispered as she came over to the four staff, “I know this is terrifying, but my colleague and I need you to remain where you are for the moment. As soon as it is possible to do so, we’ll have you free and out of here, understand?”
The four looked at each other and nodded as they looked at Chloe. She was making her way slowly to the entrance to the diner, slowly standing and looking through the window before she returned.
Chloe held up two fingers, then one as she pointed to herself.
“One female, one male?”
Chloe nodded as she went back to the door, keeping watch as she slowly calmed herself. She knew what may be needed, but she prayed with the girls in there, it would not come to that.
Sue knew what she was thinking, as she stood by the door.
“Wllthhsssntnshhl,” Alice said as the woman smoother the last of several strips of duct tape over her mouth.
“Tllmbttt,” Heidi murmured as she looked at Alice’s wrists, taped together in front of her. Her own arms were pulled behind her and around Alice’s waist, the tape pulling at her skin as she sat still.
“Right – go and make sure the way’s clear,” the man said, the woman nodding as she picked up her gun and went into the kitchen, the door swinging closed behind her. As she walked across the kitchen floor, she didn’t hear Chloe move behind her – but she did see Sue as she stood by the four captives, her gun raised as she said quietly “FBI – if you value your life, don’t say a word.”
“Shit,” the woman said quietly as she started to raise her arm – but before she could do so, she suddenly stiffened, and then collapsed to the floor, Chloe watching as she did so.
“Good work,” Sue said quietly as she started to cut free the staff. “Go out of the door – mall security is waiting there - do exactly what they tell you to do.”
“What about the customers in there,” the waitress said as Sue peeled the tape away from her mouth.
“We’ll take care of them,” Sue said as she looked at Chloe, the young French girl nodding as she made her way to the front of the diner, Sue urging the staff out of the rear door.
“Well,” the man said as he looked at the door, but instead of his partner he saw a young woman walk in, wearing a v-necked sweater, Doc Marten boots, striped socks, red leggings and a denim skirt.
Heidi looked at Chloe, and then said “Verrynnclssurureees.”
Natalie nodded as she looked at the others, all of them shutting their eyes as Chloe nodded.
“Who the fuck are you?”
Chloe smiled as she walked forward, saying nothing as the man continued to stare at her, his grip on his captive dropping as she looked at her as well.
“You... You’re beautiful,” he said quietly, Chloe’s smile growing wider as the bound and gagged girl looked at her. The young Frenchwoman looked directly at her, and nodded with her head to the diner door, whispering “go – now” as she did so.
Shaking her head, the girl walked slowly towards the kitchen door, turning once and looking back before the door opened and an arm in a dark jacket reached out, pulling her inside.
The man let his gun drop slowly to the floor, the remaining captives hearing the thud as he walked towards Chloe, and put his hand to her cheek, before he gently kissed her.
“You taste nice,” she whispered in a deep voice, “I hope you remember that with what is coming now.”
“Why, what is...” The man looked at her, and then stepped back, his face turning white as he saw Chloe slowly change form, four legs growing from her sides as her body morphed into a giant red spider.
“Wtsggnnnn,” Jo mumbled as she turned her head towards Jannifer.
“Jsttkpureesclsdnpr,” Jannifer mumbled as the man heard Chloe whisper “I see you’ve tried to hurt my children – I don’t like it when you hurt my children. Do you know what I do to those who hurt my children?”
He backed towards the kitchen doors, stuttering as he said “PPPPLllleasseee, dear God, don’t...”
In his eyes, he saw Chloe scuttle towards him on six legs, the smile on her face broadening as she said “you foolissssh young man, do not run – you will make a fine meal for my brood...”
“NOOOOOOOOOOOO” he screamed, and then he fell in a faint to the floor, Sue entering and spraying Chloe with the contents of an aerosol can. As she watched, her watch face returned to green, and she smiled as she said “Her Highness?”
“I treated her – she is with mall security in the kitchen,” Sue whispered as she handed Chloe a drink. “The girls?”
“Unharmed – can you take care of them while I slip out?”
“Go – I’ll bring the girls back to the hotel and meet you there,” Sue said as Chloe went through, nodding to the security staff and the girl as she left.
“You can open your eyes now – it’s over,” Sue then said out loud as she grabbed a pair of scissors, and released Alice and Heidi from her bonds.
“Thanks,” Heidi said as she peeled the tape away from her mouth, looking as two policemen came and handcuffed their captor. “What about...”
“The other kidnapper is in custody, and Her Highness is in the kitchen,” Sue said quietly. “The police will want a quick word, but I’ve told them to refer any questions to your local PD for the five of you. One advantage of FBI ranking – I know they will do that, and I know the five of you will tell the same story.”
“Is everyone all right,” Natalie said as they were freed one by one.
“Yeah,” Kathy said, “but what happened? I got the bit about closing our eyes, heard that man screaming and someone talking – what happened?”
“Sorry – classified,” Sue said as she showed Kathy and Jo her badge. “I need to take Heidi and her friends to catch their train – the police will want to take a statement from both of you, and then they will drive you home.”
“Awaits both of you in the kitchen,” Sue said, and as they both headed there Kathy looked at Heidi.
“What really happened just now?”
“Don’t ask me – I had my eyes closed,” Heidi said, the other four nodding. “Look – we need to go with Sue here. Call me – we need to get you to visit us some time.”
“Sure,” Jo said as Sue escorted them out, but as they went out Sue’s charge came over and hugged them.
“Thank you – you stayed calm and helped us stay calm as well,” she said in an English accent.
“It’s happened to us before,” Cindy said, “so we knew what to do.”
“The officer will take you back to the hotel and stay until I return,” Sue said, “I need to take these girls and make sure they get on their way home.”
“Well, we have returned,” Chloe said as the train pulled into the station, the girls collecting their bags and disembarking. As they did so, they were not surprised to see Ann Duncombe waiting for them, her jacket fastened up to her neck.
“Sue called – I’ve got a minibus outside, and your moms are waiting at Heidi’s place,” she said as they walked out of the station, and climbed in.
“What did she say to you,” Chloe said as she climbed in the front beside Ann.
“Enough – we’ll talk later,” Ann said as she set off, driving along the darkening roads until she pulled up outside Heidi and Cindy’s home.
“There you are,” Blossom Dale said as Jannifer came in, wrapping her arms around her daughter and hugging her as Margaret did the same to Alice.
“I don’t know – you can’t go anywhere and not get in trouble,” Katherine said as she and Veronica hugged Natalie, while Dorothy and Amy hugged Cindy and Heidi.
“It’s not like we went looking for it mom,” Heidi said as she looked at Amy, “but Chloe took care of us.”
“It was my pleasure,” Chloe said quietly as Dorothy came over and hugged her.
“Thank you,” she whispered, “it could have been much worse.”
“They were safe, all I did was help resolve the situation,” Chloe whispered in reply.
“So did you enjoy the festival?”
“Oh yes,” Natalie said as she sat down, “it was great fun...”
Ann pulled Chloe to one side as she said “Listen – Sarah wants to talk to you tomorrow, and James is waiting at your flat. I get the feeling you two need time together?”
“Oui – very much so,” Chloe said with a smile, “very much so...”