Heidi New Year!

 

 

 

 

 

As her eyes flickered open, Heidi looked at the alarm clock sitting on her bedside table.  It showed the time was six am – a little early for her, perhaps, but she had a special surprise to prepare for this morning.  Pulling her duvet cover back, she swung her legs out and rubbed her eyes, before standing up and making her way quietly out of the room.

 

She stopped outside her mother’s room, listening to the rhythmic sounds of her sleeping, before smiling and slowly making her way down to the main room.  As she passed the mirror, she looked at herself standing there in a pair of red pyjamas and smiled – this was going to be a surprise present her mother would not forget in a hurry.

 

The room was in darkness, but she could see well enough to slip over and press a switch by the wall, illuminating the Christmas tree as the fairy lights began to twinkle and sparkle.  The coloured lights reflected off the tinsel and ornaments that adorned the small Pine Spruce, the smell of the sap and needles making the room feel as if the tree was still standing in the forest.

 

Underneath the tree stood the piles of presents, arranged neatly by her mother and herself the night before.  She could see a few extra had been added, labelled “To Heidi from Santa Claus.”  “Mum, I’m eighteen now,” she thought to herself as she looked at one of them, “I figured out the Santa Claus thing a long time ago.”

 

Still, she liked the idea of surprises, hence this early morning sojourn.  Sitting herself on the rug, she put down the bag she had been carrying and opened it up, taking out the roll of silver ribbon that she had carefully hidden away a few days previously.  Using a pair of scissors, she cut a length of about twelve foot off and reached down to her feet, wrapping the ribbon around her sock covered ankles and pulling them together.  As she passed the ribbon round, she imagined what her friend Cindy was doing at this exact moment.  They had dared each other to surprise their respective mothers on Christmas morning, and this was the way she had decided to do so.

 

Satisfied her ankles were secured well enough together, Heidi cut off another length and passed it around her legs, drawing them up so that she could tie them together just below her knees.  She smiled again to herself as she passed the ribbon around, the silver clearly visible under the soft lights against the red background, before putting the scissors down and stretching her legs out.  Reaching into the bag, she took out a coil of green rope, which when she had sorted it was revealed as a large loop with a smaller one loosely hanging at the front. 

 

Heidi passed the rope over her head, pulling it down over her arms so that it sat snugly half way down her chest.  As she tugged on the small loop, the ropes tightened around her arms, holding them tightly into her side as she sat there.

 

“That actually worked,” she said to herself as she reached into the bag and took out a length of sticking plaster with the backing paper still on.  She looked at the message that had been written on the front, smiling to herself as she removed the paper and leaned forward enough to allow her to smooth the plaster over her mouth, sealing her lips together as she did so.

 

Feeding her hands through the small loop of rope, she pulled down and out, tightening the coils around her wrists as she did so.  She tried wriggling round, until she was satisfied with her position, before laying herself down on her side and watching the lights flickering on the tree.

 

 

 

 

As Amy Strong looked over at the alarm clock, and saw it was nine am, she stretched and yawned to wake herself up.  Forcing herself out of the bed, she pulled on a dressing gown and walked out of the bedroom, knocking on her daughter’s door and saying “Merry Christmas, Heidi.”

 

There was no response, so she opened the door and looked in, noting the empty bed with the duvet cover thrown back.  “Guess she’s downstairs,” she said to herself as she left the room and walked down the staircase, noting the fact that the Christmas tree had been switched on as she walked past.

 

“Would you like a drink, Heidi,” she called out as she walked past, but when she did not hear a reply she figured her daughter had fallen asleep again.  Making her way into the kitchen, she put on the coffee machine and made her way into the front room, expecting to see Heidi asleep on the couch.

 

“Wake up a little too early, did...” she stared to say, but stopped herself when she saw her daughter lying on the floor, bound with silver ribbon around her legs and green rope holding her arms to her side and her wrists in front of her.  Amy looked round the room, but everything was in place, and she could see Heidi’s eyes sparkling and what looked like a smile under the brown fabric covering her mouth.

 

There was some writing on the plaster, and as Amy knelt next to Heidi she saw “Merry Christmas” written in red ink on the fabric.  “Hpekrstmsmm,” Heidi mumbled as she sat herself up and looked at her mother, her eyes wide and happy.

 

“You little minx,” Amy said as she hugged her daughter, “Is this an extra present for me?”  Heidi nodded as she put her head against her mother’s shoulder, and then allowed her to peel the gag away from her mouth.

 

“Cindy and I have planned this for you and her mother,” she said as she held her hands up to Amy, “we’ve been practicing what we were going to do for weeks now.  I hope her mother is as surprised as you were.”

 

“Once she gets over the shock, I’m sure she will be,” Amy said as she examined the rope work.  “Nice job on the slip knots – now, how about I get you loose, we have some breakfast, and then we can open the presents.”

 

“Thanks mum,” Heidi said as her mother quickly untied her wrists, waiting until she was full freed before running up to the toilet.  Amy shook her head as she gathered up the tape and material to take to the bin, before pouring herself a coffee and starting to warm up the waffle maker.

 

 

 

 

“Heidi, it’s for you!”  Amy held the phone up for her daughter to take, before saying “I’m going to warm the car up – don’t be too long.”

 

“Hey, Cindy!”

 

“Hey yourself - what happened?”

 

“She loved it, once she got over the original shock.  I tied myself up in front of the tree and gagged myself.  What about you?”

 

“I taped my legs together with red tape, put some over my mouth and then used a pair of toy handcuffs to fix my wrists together to the headboard.  Mum took one look at me, and do you know what the first thing she said was?”

 

“What?”

 

“’Are you all right?’  When I nodded, she left me there and went downstairs.”

 

“WHAT!!”

 

“It wasn’t like that – she brought up a tray with some breakfast, freed my wrists and let me take the tape off my mouth, then we sat and had breakfast together before we got ready for church.  You on your way now?”

 

“Just going – are we still coming to your house tomorrow for dinner?”

 

“Yup – and your Aunt Veronica is coming as well!”

 

“Great – and you’re coming here for New Year’s Eve?”

 

“Looking forward to that as well.  It’ll be the first one since Mum started relaxing a bit, so I think it’s going to be fun.”

 

Heidi heard the car horn sounding outside.  “Whoops – got to go.  See you tomorrow.”

 

As Cindy hung up the phone, she saw her mother standing there, smiling in her best Christmas outfit.  “Come on,” she said, “we have a service to go to, and then dinner.  After that, we’re going to plan for tomorrow night.”

 

“What are we going to plan?”

 

“Wait and see, Cindy Elsworth, wait and see....”

 

 

 

 

26th December

 

As Heidi finished fastening up her blue jacket, she looked at the present sitting on her bed, hoping that Cindy would like it.  Sitting on the bed, she picked up the pair of new black leather short boots she had received as a present and slipped them over her sock covered feet.

 

Downstairs, she could hear her mother talking on the phone, and then her footsteps on the floor outside.  There was a sharp knock on the door, and she looked up as her mother put her head round.

 

“That was Mrs Elsworth,” she said with a smile, “asking if you would like to take part in a little game with Cindy today.  Up for it?”

 

“Sure,” Heidi said as she stood up, “What does she have in mind?”

 

“You’ll see,” her mother said with a smile on her face.  “You just need to go along with whatever happens when you come downstairs, all right?”

 

“All right, mum,” Heidi said, looking at her mother as she wondered what she meant by that.  Amy just smiled as she turned and walked out of the door.

 

She looked at herself in the mirror, an eighteen year old young woman getting ready to visit her friend’s house.  The blue jacket matched the long powder blue slacks she was wearing, while she had a white jumper on underneath to keep out the chill.  Smiling, she picked up the present and walked down the stairs, calling out “Ready” as she did so.

 

There was no response, so she made her way into the front room, only to find nobody there as well.  “Mum,” Heidi called out again, but the response she got was not one she expected.  She felt something small and hard against her back, and her mother saying in a deep voice “Put the present down and stand still.”

 

“All right,” Heidi said as she played along, “but where’s my mother?”

 

“None of your business,” Amy said as she stood behind Heidi.  “Close your eyes.”

 

“What are you going to do to me?”

 

“Just close your eyes,” Amy repeated, and as Heidi did so she took a long white woollen scarf and tied it over her eyes and head, making sure the knot sat snugly under her short blonde hair.  Heidi opened her eyes, only to see the white blankness of the scarf in front of her as she felt her hands been pulled behind her back.

 

Something soft and smooth was passed around her wrists, as they were pulled together, and Heidi could feel whatever it was been passed around and between her arms.  After one last tug was made, she tried to feel what it was with her fingers, but to her surprise she felt what seemed to her to be a pair of woollen gloves been pulled over her hands.

 

“Please, just tell me where my mother is,” she said, but her voice was silenced as she felt something been stuck over her mouth, pulling at her skin in a way that made her think it was some sort of tape.  “Move,” she heard Amy say, and she was walked along the floor, the cold air hitting her face as she was taken outside.

 

Heidi felt herself been sat down on what felt like a rug, as eh legs were swung up and placed on the surface.  Another silky band was passed around her ankles pulling them together before she was helped to lie on her back and rolled over.  As this happened, she felt something warm been wrapped around her, enclosing her in a snug warm cocoon as she heard what she recognised as a car door shut.

 

As the engine started and she felt herself moving, Heidi felt safe.  She knew her mother was playing a game with her, and they were in their way presumably to Cindy’s house, but what was going on?  As the journey progressed, she lay still, breathing slowly the warm musty air and wondering what was going to happen next.

 

The journey was short, and as the car stopped Heidi lay still, wondering what was going to happen next.  As if she had been heard, she felt the cold air as the door was opened, and then herself been lifted up and carried by two people, neither of whom talked as they took her into warm air and (so she thought) up some stairs.  After a few moments, Heidi felt herself been laid on the floor and rolled over again, the warm cocoon removed as footsteps receded into the distance.

 

“Snnthr,” she mumbled, and to her surprise she felt somebody moving next to her, nudging her as they said “Lnfrwrd.”  Heidi bowed her head, as she felt somebody trying to pull the blindfold over her eyes, eventually succeeding as she blinked in the light of the bulb hanging from the ceiling.

 

Looking to her right, she saw Cindy smiling at her, the clear tape that was covering her mouth crinkling as she did so.  She was wearing a long sleeved white blouse with a petticoat dress over it, and knee length brown suede boots, but her hands were tied behind her back and Heidi could see a length of rope holding her ankles together.

 

Cindy nodded to her side, and as Heidi looked over she was surprised to see a third girl there, sitting in a simple wooden chair and looking at the other two.  She resembled Cindy, but was a couple of years older with shoulder length brown hair and a pair of horn rimmed glasses resting on her nose and ears.  A thick white scarf was pulled between her lips as she sat there, white rope clearly visible over her black jumper and skirt as it held her to the chair and on her ankles as well.  Her arms were pinned behind her back, as both Cindy and Heidi watched her sitting there.

 

“Hldn,” Cindy said as she pushed herself back so that she could reach Heidi’s hands, pulling what she now saw was a pair of brown gloves off her hands.  She looked down her legs and saw that they were secured together with a long, green silk oblong that her mother used sometimes, as Cindy rolled onto her side and pressed against Heidi’s hands with her mouth.

 

“Gtcha,” she mumbled as she gently peeled back the tape, removing it as Cindy started to work at the knot holding her wrists firmly in place.  “Nice head square,” she said as she picked at the knot, eventually removing the rolled up headscarf and allowing Heidi to rub her wrists before removing the tape covering her own mouth.

 

“The gang got you as well,” she said as Cindy sat herself up and positioned herself so that Heidi could untie her wrists.   “Both of us,” Cindy said as she rubbed her won wrists, before both girls pulled their legs up and started to untie their ankles.  “I was staying with my cousin Joanne when they grabbed us.  Joanne, this is Heidi, my fellow partner in crime.”

 

“Plsdtmtu,” the other girl mumbled as both Heidi and Cindy stood up.  “Likewise, Joanne,” Heidi said as she looked at the knots at the back of the chair, before starting work on them.  “Let’s see if we can get you free as well.”

 

“Thanks,” Joanne said as her cousin removed the cloth gag from her mouth.  “When they carried you in, I had no idea what was going on.”

 

“Happens to us all the time,” Heidi said quietly, looking at Cindy as she released Joanne from the chair back, allowing her to shuffle forward and show the way her wrist were tied together.  “I don’t remember Cindy mentioning you.”

 

“Natural reluctance given all she’s been through,” Joanne said before sighing as she was released from the chair and stood up, pulling the wet scarf off from her neck as she did so.  “Come on – we need to catch the gang before it’s too late.”

 

The three girls crept down the stairs, as they listened to the sound of conversation coming from the front room.  Opening the door, they saw both Amy and Dorothy sitting on the couch, a glass of wine in their hands as they talked to each other.  Heidi’s Aunt Veronica was standing by the fireplace, talking to a tall, thin dark haired woman that looked like a younger version of Cindy’s mother.

 

“Oh, there you are,” she said as she looked at Joanne, “I wondered how much longer you were going to be.  Hello Heidi – I’m Suzanne, Cindy’s aunt, and I’m very pleased to finally meet you.”

 

“Mrs Elsworth told me about her sister and niece visiting,” Amy said as she handed Heidi the present, “so we decided to start this evening with a little game for all three of you.  Joanne seemed particularly keen to take part.”

 

“I play with some friends at home from time to time,” she said as she picked up a glass of coke, “but I had no idea Cindy her was playing as well.  Any chance we can play a few games while we’re staying here?”

 

“Perhaps we can discuss that later,” Veronica said as she hugged her niece.  “Right now, I’m famished.  What is it that smells so good in there, Dorothy?”

 

“Come and find out,” Cindy’s mother said with a smile as she stood up and led the way into the dining room.  As they walked in, Heidi whispered “New Boots” to Cindy.

 

“Yeah – you as well?”

 

“Yup – Happy Christmas, Cindy,” Heidi said as she handed her friend the parcel.  Cindy opened the end, looked at the book covers and said “Thanks – I don’t have this one.”

 

“All right girls,” Dorothy said as they sat at the table, “Let us say Grace...”

 

 

As they sat in the front room after the meal, Veronica turned to look at Joanne.  “I’ve invited Heidi and Cindy to come to my house tomorrow afternoon for a while, to give their mothers some time to themselves.  Would you like to come as well?”

 

Joanne looked at her mother, who nodded and said “Of course she can come – what will you be planning to do with them?”

 

“Oh, just some games,” Veronica said with a smile, “If you are willing to allow her to do them, Mrs Birkin.”

 

“Please, call me Suzanne – and I’m sure I have no objections to any games you might like to play.”

 

“All right then – because I have a little challenge for the three of you, if you are willing to take part.”

 

“Oh,” Heidi said as she looked up, “and what’s that?”

 

“Come to my house prepared to start playing games as soon as you get in, without any preparation at all there.”

 

Cindy looked at the other two girls, before turning to Veronica and saying “You mean...”

 

“I do – first prize for the most imaginative approach.”

 

 

 

27th December

 

“So let me get this straight in my mind.  You, Cindy and Joanne are going to meet Veronica in town, and she will take you to her house, but...”

 

Heidi nodded as she sat at the breakfast bar with her mother “But we are to be bound and gagged, in a way that it isn’t clear unless someone looks closely.  She said it would be a challenge.”

 

“Not to mention an invitation for the police to get angry if they found out,” Amy said as she finished her coffee.  “Still, it is the holidays, and you’re old enough to take your own risks.  Any idea of how you want to do this?”

 

“Yup,” Heidi said as she finished her orange juice.  She was wearing a thick white jumper, faded jeans and a pair of black Ugg boots as she sat there.  “I’m going to need your help, though.”

 

“Oh well – given what tends to happen at your aunt’s, I suppose it is only delaying the inevitable.  All right – finish off and go and brush your teeth, then bring what you need into the living room.”

 

She watched her young daughter run out of the room, before gathering up the plates and taking them over to the sink.  She liked Joanne, given the short time they had met yesterday, but she had also seen she liked to play these tie-up games as well.  “Safety in numbers,” she thought to herself as she ran the hot water, listening to Heidi moving about in her room.

 

A few minutes later, she walked into the living room to see Heidi standing there, several lengths of rope laid out on a seat as well as one of Amy’s old blue silk squares.  There was also a new grey woollen poncho that she had bought for Heidi, her grey woollen scarf and a bobble hat with earflaps.  She had already out on a pair of grey woollen gloves that went over her wrists.

 

“Here,” she said as she handed her mother a length of rope, “Start by tying my wrists together in front of me.”

 

“Wrists crossed?”

 

“No,” Heidi said as she held her hands up in prayer, “like this.”  Amy took the rope, doubled it over and quickly tied her daughter’s wrists together, keeping the rope over the cuffs of her gloves as she passed it around and then between her arms.  As she tied off the knot, Heidi smiled as she tried to move her hands apart.

 

“Now use the long length and tie it around my waist,” she said as she nodded to the second length of rope on the chair, “so that my hands are in front of me.”  As Amy did this, she got an inkling as to what her daughter’s plans might be, and smiled to herself at her ingenuity.

 

“Comfortable,” she said as she passed the rope between her wrists and waist, before knotting it under her hands.  “Very much so,” Heidi said with a smile.  “Can you put my poncho on me now?”

 

Amy pulled the garment over Heidi’s head, making sure the wool covered her hands and waist, so that as she looked at her it appeared her arms were under the cover for her own warmth.

 

“Now, use the scarf to gag me,” Heidi said, “then cover it with the woollen scarf.  That will make it look as if it is keeping out the chill, and once the hat is on my head the outfit is complete.”

 

“What about your legs?”

 

“No – I need to be able to walk, but then so do the others, so I don’t think that is a disadvantage.”

 

“As you wish,” Amy said as she folded the silk square into a band, tied a knot in the middle and then eased the knot between her daughter’s teeth, pulling the ends of the band round and knotting it at the back of her neck.  She then used the woollen scarf to cover it, knotting it at the back of her neck as well, before pulling the hat on her head and the earflaps down the side of her head.

 

“All right under there," she said as she brushed the fringe of Heidi’s blonde hair away.  Heidi nodded, mumbling “grtmm” as she walked towards the door.  “Careful as you go, then,” Amy said as she opened the front door and watched Heidi walking down the garden path and turn to walk towards the town centre.

 

As she made her way down the sidewalk, Heidi passed some of her school friends, wrapped up against the cold weather as well, and nodded as she walked by.  None of them looked at her in a funny way, making her believe she had succeeded.  It took her about twenty minutes to reach the cafe she often met her aunt at, and Veronica was waiting by the car as she approached.

 

“Good morning, Heidi,” she said as she opened the car door.  “Do you want some help?”

 

“Yspls,” the young girl said as she carefully climbed in and sat in one of the passenger seats.  Veronica smiled as she pulled the seat belt over and secured her in place.  “I see the others coming now,” she said with a smile as Heidi saw both Cindy and Joanne walking down the road.

 

Joanne was wearing a long black overcoat, the bottom of a pair of brown leather boots visible just below it and her hands stuffed into the pockets.  She appeared to be smiling, her red lipstick clearly visible as she approached.

 

Cindy was wearing an olive green parka, her hands in a fur muff in front of her, and a floral pattern skirt that came almost to the floor.  Her head was encased in a matching balaclava, with only her eyes showing, and she seemed to be walking stiffly as she came closer.  The two girls nodded as they climbed into Veronica’s car, with Heidi noticing a slight raised eyebrow from her aunt as Joanne climbed into the front seat.  Making sure all three were secured, Veronica quickly climbed into the driver seat and started the car, humming to herself “Silence is Golden” as she drove off.

 

Joanne turned to look at the two younger girls sitting in the back, and Heidi also raised an eyebrow when she saw the strip of flesh coloured plaster covering her mouth, almost invisible against her skin, and lipstick over the shape of her lips under the material.  “So that’s what’s keeping her quiet,” she thought to herself as Joanne turned back round, “but what about Cindy?”  She turned to look at her friend, who only nodded in response, leaving Heidi wondering what else was happening.

 

It was a fifteen minute ride to Veronica’s large house on the outskirts of town, and as she stopped in the driveway Heidi and the others waited patiently for her to go and unlock the door to her house.  Walking back, she opened the front passenger door and allowed Joanne to step out of the car, before allowing both Heidi and Cindy to climb out.  The three walked towards the house, Heidi noticing the stiff way in which Cindy was walking again.

 

“Right then,” Veronica said as she closed the door and took her own coat off, “Let’s see what we have here.  Who wants to be first?”

 

Joanne nodded her head, so Veronica reached up and peeled the plaster away from over her mouth.  “Thanks,” she said as she worked her jaw, “Can you unbutton my coat for me?”  Veronica quickly unfastened the front of her great coat, helping her to slip it off her shoulders to reveal the black leggings and long smock top she was wearing.  There were lengths of rope around her waist and below her chest, holding her arms tightly to her side with shorter lengths between her body and the arms themselves.

 

“Very nice, “Veronica said as she quickly untied the older girl, leaving the ropes neatly coiled on a small table.  “Simple, but effective.  Nobody stopped you.”

 

“No,” Joanne said with a smile, “but wait until you see Cindy.”

 

“Well then, I had better take care of Heidi first,” Veronica said as she removed the hat and scarf from her niece’s head.  A dark stain was forming in the knot of the scarf, as it soaked up the saliva from her mouth, but Veronica left it in place as she removed the poncho and untied her hands.

 

“You can take your own gag out,” her aunt said as she turned her attention to Cindy.  “Do you want me to take off the balaclava first?”

 

“Nnnn,” Cindy mumbled as she shook her head, looking down at the muff in front of her.  Taking hold of the wrists of her jacket, Veronica tried to move her hands out, but found she could not do so.  On closer examination of her muff, she realised it was in fact a fake fur scarf wrapped around her wrists, a safety pin holding it in place at the back.  Unfastening it, she found that Cindy had her forearms tied together in front of her, the rope around and between them as she waved her gloved hands.

 

“Very ingenuous,” Veronica said as she untied the arms, and watched Cindy taking her coat off.  Pulling her balaclava off next, Heidi laughed at the thin tie that was tied between her teeth, but as she untied it and removed the pair of woollen tights her laughter turned to a clap of admiration.

 

“That’s not the best bit,” Joanne said as she hung her cousin’s coat up.  “Lift your skirt up, Cindy.”

 

The two watched as Cindy lifted her long skirt up, showing a pair of dark blue leggings before she revealed the rope that had been tied around her legs above her knees, a length of three inches between each leg allowing her to

 

“Hobble – well that wins the prize,” Veronica said as she slapped Cindy on the back.  “All right, girls, take your shoes and boots off and leave them by the door – I’ll get some drinks sorted out.”

 

“Did you and mum ever do that, Aunt Veronica,” Heidi said as they sat in the large front room, sipping glasses of coke.

 

“No – we kept our games a little more quiet,” Veronica replied, “But I did do it myself once or twice as an older girl.  No, I’m not going to tell you how.”

 

“Do you know what would be interesting,” Joanne said.  “We could all go to the cinema gagged, and see if anybody notices.”

 

“Maybe later,” Veronica replied.  “Right now, what do you girls want to do?”

 

Veronica wriggled her toes in her nylon slipper stockings as she said this.  Cindy looked over at the other two girls, her skirt rising slightly to reveal her bare feet poking out from the bottom of her leggings, while both Heidi and Joanne had on thick black socks to keep their feet warm.

 

“Well, Miss Cabot,” Joanne eventually said, “Cindy told me the story of how she first visited your house, and how she and Heidi also play their games with you.  Would you be willing to play a game with us?”

 

“Possibly – what did you have in mind?”

 

The older girl sat forward, her eyes alight.  “We could be a gang of thieves that break in and take you hostage, only for you to escape and capture us instead.”

 

Veronica sat back, sipping her drink as she did so.  She was casually dressed, in a light blue long sleeved top under a tan blouse and with a pair of tan coloured slacks on.  “Sure, I can play that game,” she eventually said, “but you may regret what happens when I get free.  Finish your drinks first, and then I’ll head to my office.  Heidi, you can use some of the stuff in the box.”

 

“Come with me,” Heidi said as she stood up, Cindy and Joanne following her out of the room.  As they closed the door, Veronica stood up and walked over to the telephone.

 

“Anne?  It’s me.  About the party on the 31st – you may need to do some additional planning...”

 

 

 

 

As Veronica sat in her room, flipping idly through a magazine, she listened for the sound of feet approaching the door.  She was therefore surprised to feel a hand over her mouth, and to hear Heidi say “Don’t move a muscle” behind her.

 

“They must have sneaked in through the kitchen – clever,” she thought to herself as Cindy and Joanne stood in front of her, both with stockings pulled over their heads.  “What are you doing here,” Joanne said, obviously playing the leader of the trio.

 

“I live here,” Veronica replied as the hand was taken from her mouth, “What are you doing here?”

 

“Robbing you,” Joanne said as Heidi joined them, some lengths of washing line in her hands, “so we need you to stay where you are.  Lie face down, and put your hands behind your back.”

 

“All right,” Veronica said as she put the magazine down, “I’ll do what you say.”  She lay on the couch, putting her hands behind her back and watching as Cindy started to tie her wrists together, while Heidi crossed her ankles and wrapped a length of cord around them.  She felt the rope tightening, but knew that they would leave her a way out to go after them.

 

“Open wide,” she heard Joanne say, and looking over she saw an old white pillowcase in her hands, rolled into a band.  “You don’t have to gag me,” she said quietly, “I’ll be good.”

 

“Sorry, lady, can’t take the chance.” The older girl said with a smile as she pulled the cloth into Veronica’s mouth, securing it over her dark hair.  “All right, start searching the place,” she said to the others.  They left Veronica alone in the room, but as they closed the door she smiled at the sight of the pair of scissors Heidi had carelessly left on the floor nearby.  Rolling onto her back, Veronica started to manoeuvre herself off the couch and onto the floor, her eyes fixed on the prize...

 

 

 

In the master bedroom, Heidi was looking through the walk in wardrobe, pretending to search for jewellery.  The door to the wardrobe was open, so she did not hear the footsteps or anything suspicious until she was grabbed from behind, and she heard her aunt say “Thought I was well secured?” as she hand gagged her niece.

 

“Ysss,” Heidi mumbled as she felt her aunt holding her tightly.  “On the shelf over there,” Veronica said quietly, “is a pile of clean handkerchiefs.  When I release you, I want you to take two of them and put them in your mouth, understand?  I have a gun, so you’d better do what I tell you.”

 

Heidi nodded, and as she was released she picked up two of the cotton squares and pushed them into her own mouth.  “Good girl,” she heard Veronica say, “now, turn round, and put your hands together as if you are praying.”  As she moved round, the corners of the fabric sticking out from between her lips, she saw Veronica standing there with three new lengths of soft cord in her hand.  She held her hands up, palms together, and watched as Veronica quickly tied her wrists tightly together with the rope, making sure she cinched the coils between her wrists as well before leaving the two foot long ends trailing down.

 

“Sit on the floor,” Veronica said, and as Heidi sat on the rug in the centre of the room she knelt down and pushed her ankles together, passing the rope over her thick socks as she tied them together.  Once satisfied with the tightness of the binding, Veronica pushed her young niece’s legs up and tied the final length of rope over her legs, the cord sinking into the faded denim as she did so.  Finally, she used the long ends to secure her wrist down to the leg ropes, so that her forearms rested on her knees.

 

“See if you can guess what I’m going to do with the others,” Veronica said before smiling and ripping a length of wide black tape off a roll.  She smoothed it over Heidi’s lips before standing up.  “Time to sleep,” she said as she tapped her niece on the back of the neck – a cue for her to pretend to fall unconscious as her eyes closed and her head slumped forward.

 

Walking down the corridor, Veronica stopped and listened at the bathroom door.  There was the sound of running water, and as she stood by the wall next to the door she chuckled.  The night before she had watched Pulp Fiction, and while the other two girls were not John Travolta, she could appreciate the irony of what was about to happen as she heard the sound of a toilet flushing.

 

Cindy walked out, adjusting the band of her skirt as she pulled down the sleeves of her dark blue leotard.  “Surprise,” Veronica said quietly as she pointed the water pistol at the young girl, watching as she raised her hands.  “Come with me, and not a sound,” Veronica said as she took the dark haired girl by the arm and marched her back to the bedroom,

 

As they walked in, Heidi opened her eyes and raised her head, looking on as her aunt pulled the stocking off Cindy’s head.  “Sit down,” she said as she took more lengths of rope from the bed, “and do exactly what I tell you...”

 

 

 

“Heidi?  Cindy?  Are you in here?”

 

As Joanne looked back in the living room, she was not too surprised to see an empty couch with two cut lengths of rope and a slightly soggy pillow case left on the floor.  “I know Cindy said she was an escape artist, but how...” she thought to herself, before spotting the scissors on the floor.

 

“Surprise,” she heard Veronica say behind her.  “What have you done with my friends,” Joanne said as she slowly raised her hands.  “You’ll find out,” she heard from behind her, before a hand came round with a handkerchief wadded up in it.  “First, I need to take care of you.  Pull that stocking off and put that in your mouth.”

 

Taking the cloth, Joanne lifted the stocking mask over her nose and pushed the cloth in behind her teeth, closing her lips as a length of black tape was handed to her.  Smoothing it over her mouth, she expected her hands to be pulled behind her back, but instead she felt rope been passed around her legs, and looking down she saw that they were been tied together just above her knees.

 

“Walk,” Veronica said as she pushed Joanne in the back.  Slowly, and with some difficulty given the fact she was hobbled, Joanne climbed the stairs in front of Veronica and went into the main bedroom, not surprised to see Heidi and Cindy sitting on the floor.  The two girls were sat almost back to back, with Cindy’s right arm hooked through Heidi’s left, and both had their wrists tied together in front of them and to their legs, with their ankles lashed together as well.

 

“Dmt,” Joanne said as Veronica helped her to sit down behind the two girls, guiding her arms through theirs and then bringing her hands together in front of her.  “I’ll teach you to try and rob me,” the older woman said as she quickly tied Joanne’s hands together and secured them to the rope around her knees, before tying her ankles together over her socks.  As she did this, Joanne leaned over and said “urntsvrclvr” to Heidi.

 

“Ikn,” she mumbled in response as Veronica stood up and checked the ropes on the other two girls.  “I need to go and call some friends of mine,” she said as she stood there, “friends who know how to treat little thieves like you.  Don’t go anywhere now.”  She walked out of the room, leaving the trio to try and free themselves, or at least figure out how they could move as one without pulling the others over.  “Wonder how long it will take them,” she said to herself as she walked downstairs, picking up the magazine and sitting down again.

 

The girls sat in silence, each of them looking round the room for something that they could possible use to get themselves free.  As Joanne tried to move herself forward, she realised that her arms were linked to the other two in such a way that it was impossible to move more than a few inches, certainly not enough to get to her mouth and remove the tape covering her lips.

 

“Shsgd” Joanne mumbled as she looked over her shoulder at Cindy.  “Tlmbt,” the younger girl mumbled as Heidi noticed something on the far side of the room.  “Lstn,” she called out,” whnis nw, ushnd l sld.  Gtt?”

 

The two cousins looked at each toher, then nodded as Heidi said “NW.”  They pushed themselves back as Heidi slid forward, her eyes fixed on the small nail file that was on the edge of the bed.  “NW” she called again, and inch by inch they moved themselves forward, both Cindy and Joanne wondering what their friend was going to do.

 

As they approached the bed, Heidi said “Stp” and reached for the duvet cover, pulling on the edge as best she could with her fingers.  As the duvet inched off, she kept her eyes on the file, moving as it dropped and managing to catch it in her hands.  Slowly, painfully, she turned the file round and started to rub on the ropes holding her wrists to her knees with the rough edge.

 

 

 

 

The door to the living room opened and Veronica looked up to see three slightly sweaty girls walk in.  She glanced at her watch as they did so.

 

“An hour – not too bad.  I take it you saw the nail file.”

 

“She did,” Cindy said as the three girls picked up a glass of water each before sitting down.  “Took her a while to free her hands, get the tape and gag off and pick the knot with her teeth, but she did it eventually.”

 

“Where did you see a trick like that,” Joanne said as she brushed her hair back.

 

“One of the shows I worked on,” Veronica said as she put the magazine down.  “Listen – I’ve spoken to your parents and told them I will take you to the cinema before dropping you off.  There’s one condition.”

 

“What’s that,” Heidi said.

 

“You’ll see,” Veronica said as she stood up.  “let me fix some food up first – I’ve already paid for the tickets.”

 

 

 

As the usher took the tickets from Veronica, she said “Still cold outside?”

 

“Sure is,” she replied as she hustled the three younger girls through, scarves wrapped around their lower faces.  They sat down as the lights dimmed, Veronica saying “take your scarves off girls” as they did so.

 

Heidi looked at her aunt, the plaster covering her mouth virtually invisible in the dim light, and said “Whsttflm.”  As the titles for The Muppets came up, the three girls let out a groan.  “Try not to laugh too hard,” Veronica said with a smile.  “Oh, and Joanne’s mother has invited the two of you over the day after tomorrow for a sleepover.  I said you wouldn’t mind.”

 

“Nprblm” Cindy said as she sat back, the music filling the theatre as they sat there.

 

 

 

29th December

 

“Come on in, girls – Joanne is in her bedroom.”

 

Suzanne held the door open to allow Heidi and Cindy to walk in, both girls leaving their shoes in the passageway before removing their coats and bags.  As she closed the door, Suzanne rubbed her wrists absent-mindedly before she turned and looked at her two barefooted guests.

 

“Please, go up and join her – it’s the second door on the left.  I’ll cook some dinner in a little while.”

 

“Thanks, Aunt Suzanne,” Cindy said as she led the way up the stairs, both girls taking their bags with them.  Cindy was wearing her favourite dungarees, with a pale blue sweater underneath, while Heidi had on a smock top and leggings.

 

As they walked into the room, they saw Joanne lying on her bed, wearing a sloppy Joe t-shirt and jeans.  “Hey there,” she said as she sat up, “Dump your bags in the corner there, and we can chat until Mum calls us down.”

 

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been here,” Cindy said as she sat on the edge of the bed.

 

“Yeah, well, you did disappear for a few years,” Joanne said with a smile.  “Not even my dad knew where you had gone – I didn’t know you were even local.”

 

“Joanne’s dad is my mum’s brother,” Cindy said as she turned to Heidi.   “When we decided to stop hiding, she got in touch with him in Qatar.”

 

“Qatar?”

 

“He works for the Diplomatic Corps – lot of trips away.  I talked to him yesterday, and he says to send his love.”

 

“Joanne, can I ask a question?”

 

The older girl looked over at Heidi as she ran her fingers through her blonde hair.  “Sure – fire away.”

 

“How did you get into tie-up games?  I mean, I found out when I discovered some photos of my aunt, and I got Cindy interested, but where did you begin?”

 

“Honestly?  My dad.”

 

“Uncle Brian?  What did he do?”

 

Joanne pulled her knees up.  “I walked in on him and mum once – playing.  I don’t remember much, except running out, but he came into my room and talked to me.  He told me how he and mum liked to play games sometimes, but he never hurt her and she enjoyed it.

 

“Well, I asked him what sort of games they played, so he took one of my skipping ropes and tied my hands together in front of me.  It didn’t hurt, and I found I quite liked it, so he left me there for half an hour or so and then mum came in.

 

“She asked me if I was scared, and I said no.  Well, after that he used to sometimes play cops and robbers with both of us when he was home – nothing hurtful, just making sure he kept me and mum out of the way.  Sometimes in separate rooms, sometimes together.  As time went on, he used to tie me more tightly, and eventually it just became another game for us.”

 

“What about now – when he’s away?”

 

“Mum and I play from time to time – in fact, if you’re up for it, we can surprise her after dinner.  Mind you...”

 

“Yes?”

 

“There may be a price to pay later.  It will be fun, however, and it will give her a chance to relax.”

 

The two younger girls looked at each other, before Cindy spoke.

 

“What did you have in mind?”

 

 

 

 

 

“That was a wonderful meal, Aunt Suzanne.”

 

“Yes, thank you,” Heidi said as she pushed the pudding plate away.

 

“Well, if you eat properly now, you’ll eat less junk later,” Joanne said as she stood up.  “Now, why don’t you three get ready for your slumber party while I clear up?”

 

“Actually, mum,” Joanne said as she stood up, “I think you need to have a rest.  Let the three of us clear up for you.”

 

“Oh,” Suzanne said as she looked at her daughter, “and how do you want me to relax, exactly?”

 

“Well, I thought you might like to lie down and take the weight off your feet.”

 

“I am a bit tired – and you promise you will wash and put everything away?”

 

“Scout’s honour, mum – and we will make sure you can relax totally.”

 

“How?”

 

“Glad you asked,” Joanne said as the toher tow girls stood up.  “Heidi, Cindy – grab her.”

 

Suzanne looked at the two younger girls as they quickly walked round, took her arms and guided them behind her back, while Joanne pulled a long length of white cord from her jeans pocket.  “I might have known something was up,” she said as her wrists were held together behind her back, while Joanne started to tie them together, keeping the cords over the cuffs of her chocolate brown blouse.

 

“Well, I did say I wanted you to relax, mum,” Joanne said as she pulled the ropes tight, passing them between her mother’s wrists before tying the last knot and tucking the ends back into the loops.

 

“Take her into the front room,” Joanne commanded Heidi and Cindy, and as they took her mother into the living area she picked up a small canvas bag that was on the floor beside her seat.  Following them, she watched as Suzanne was helped to sit down on a long recliner.

 

“Can you make sure something good is on,” she heard her mother say as Joanne pushed her ankles together and started to wrap the rope around her sock covered legs.  The socks were thick winter ones, with ribbed grey material that came half way up her claves, so although the rope was tied tightly round it did not hurt her.

 

As a third length of rope was tied around her legs above her knees, trapping her dark brown skirt in place as Joanne wound it round, she watched Heidi selecting a DVD and putting it into the player.  “I hope you like this one,” she said a she held up the box, and Suzanne nodded as Cindy picked up a gold coloured headscarf with a green floral motif.  Rolling it into a thick band, she held it in front of her aunt’s mouth.

 

“Remember, everything washed up and put away,” Suzanne said before the scarf was pulled into her mouth, forcing her tongue down to the floor of her mouth as Cindy passed the ends round her head and tied them together.  The three girls then helped her to lie on her side, and as the film started they walked into the kitchen, leaving Suzanne to wriggle slightly as she watched the opening scenes.

 

“Will she be all right like that,” Cindy asked as they walked over to the sink.

 

“She’ll be fine,” Joanne said as she picked up a wash cloth.  “Right – let’s do this and then get changed – I think a girl’s slumber night is definitely in order.”

 

 

 

 

“All right, all right – yes, I would kiss Billy Tompkins if he asked me!”

 

Heidi blushed as the other two girls stared at her, and then burst out laughing.  They were sitting on the floor, having changed into their selected nightwear.  For Joanne, this was a blue satin top and shorts, the top held over her shoulders by thin spaghetti straps.  Cindy was wearing her favourite Hello Kitty pink pyjamas, while Heidi had on a red cotton nightdress that came down to just above her knees, the short sleeves pushed up onto her shoulders.

 

The clock was showing ten o’clock, when there was a knock on the door.  “Joanne,” the three girls heard her mother say, “was there something you forgot to do tonight?”

 

“We washed up and put all the dishes away, mum,” Joanne called back as she looked to the door.  “What did I forget to do?”

 

The door was opened, and a hand held a rolled up, soaking wet gold and green scarf through the doorway.

 

“Oh,” Joanne said as she looked at the dark stained cloth, “We forgot to let you go, didn’t we?”

 

“You did,” Suzanne said as she walked into the room, wearing a pair of white silk pyjamas.  “Now, what do you think I should do about that, hmm?”

 

“Is your aunt angry?” Heidi whispered to Cindy as the two girls looked on.  “I don’t think so,” he friend replied, “but I get the feeling we may be in a little trouble.”

 

“I guess,” Joanne said in a quiet voice, “you will have to punish us.”  As she said this, though, she looked over at the two younger girls and winked, hoping they would realise what was about to happen.

 

“All three of you, go to the bathroom and make sure you have done all you need to do,” Suzanne said as she stood there, “and then come back here.”

 

“All right, mum,” Joanne said as she stood up and left the room.  “You two as well,” Suzanne said with a smile, “I promise you, you will like this.”  Cindy and Heidi followed Joanne to the bathroom, wondering what Cindy’s aunt had in mind for them.

 

As the younger girls returned, they saw Joanne standing in the middle of the room with her back to them as Suzanne was tearing the end free of a wide roll of white tape.  She pressed the end against Joanne’s waist and wound the tape round, saying “Tell me if this is too tight,” as she did so. 

 

“Why isn’t she saying anything,” Cindy asked as her aunt tore the tape loose after three passes and smoothed it behind her daughter’s back. To answer the question, Suzanne turned Joanne round to show the younger girls.  Her wrists were crossed and taped together in front of her, and a strip of the sticking plaster Joanne had used two days ago was pressed over her mouth.

 

“All done, girls?” Suzanne said as she helped Joanne to walk over to her bed and sit down on it.  “In that case, come here and stand in front of me.”

 

“How long are we going to be like this,” Heidi said as she watched Cindy’s aunt taping her wrists together in front of her.

 

“All night if you want,” Suzanne said as she tore the tape free, smoothed it over Cindy’s wrist and then started to tape Heidi’s wrists together, “but if you manage to free each other, then it is up to you.”

 

“If we manage to free each other – this should be interesting,” Cindy said as she looked round the room.  Two camp beds had been set up for her and Heidi on the far side of the room from her cousin’s bed, but as she looked at Joanne she saw her eyes saying, in effect, “Don’t bet on it.”

 

“Now then,” Suzanne said as she went back to Cindy and started to wrap the tape around her wrists and waist, holding them in place in front of her, “I’m going to make sure you two are comfortable, and then finish with Joanne here.”  As she repeated the process on Heidi, she continued “Do you want to be silenced now or when you are lying down?”

 

“Now,” both girls said in unison, so Suzanne put the roll of white tape on the dressing table and picked a small roll of wide brown plaster.  She peeled a long length off and tore it free, before saying “Put your lips together, Cindy dear.”  Heidi watched as she smoothed the fabric over her friend’s mouth, the contours of her lips visible underneath as she tried to move them apart – with little success.

 

As she felt the tape been placed over her own lips, Heidi could feel it pulling on her skin, but not in an unpleasant way.  It was like when they had used that white medical tape for her own aunt’s birthday – but this seemed to be holding more firmly.  As she wondered about this, she was walked over to one of the camp beds and helped to sit down, as Cindy lay on her back on the other while Suzanne picked up the white tape again.

 

She stuck the tape around Cindy’s ankles, the white clearly visible over the pink pyjamas, and then around her legs both below and above her knees, before coming over and doing the same to Heidi.  The tape tugged slightly at her bare legs, but she didn’t complain as her own legs were taped together below her knees, and then around the bottom of her nightdress around her upper legs.

 

“Don’t go anywhere now,” Suzanne said as she went back over to Joanne, who by now had moved onto the bed so that she was lying with her head on her pillows.  Both girls watched as her ankles and legs were taped together, the white band appearing below and above her own knees.  Putting the tape down again, Suzanne left the room for a moment.

 

“Cmfy?” Joanne said as she raised her head to talk to the other girls.  Heidi nodded her head - it felt very secure, even if she could not move her legs or arms.

 

As Suzanne returned, Heidi could see she was carrying three eye masks, like the ones they give you on airplanes.  She eased one over the head of each of the girls, plunging them into darkness as they lay there, before saying “Good night girls.”  She sensed rather than saw the light go off, as she lay still, listening to the sounds of the other two as she slowly drifted off to sleep...

 

 

 

31st December

 

“Can you put the platters onto the table for me please, Heidi?”

 

“Sure thing, mum,” the young girl said as she carefully carried the silver trays of snacks into the front room and laid them on the tablecloth.  It was New Year’s Eve, and Amy and Heidi were acting as hosts for a small party, to which all of the others had been invited.

 

Heidi was wearing a short sleeved blue dress, with a white belt around her waist and a skirt that filled out just above her knees, white tights and black Mary Jane shoes.  For her part, her mother was wearing a black evening dress, with a pair of black ankle boots on her feet.

 

There was a ring at the doorbell, and Heidi opened it to see her aunt Veronica standing there, a fur coat over her body as she walked in and stamped her feet on the carpet.

 

“A bit cold tonight,” she called out as she removed her coat to reveal a blue coat dress, buttoned up the front, with a wide black belt around her waist and black leather boots.  “Any chance of something to warm me up?”

 

“Coffee or something stronger?”

 

“Coffee for now,” Veronica said as she walked into the kitchen.  Heidi turned to go back to the front room, but had to return as the doorbell rang again.  “Good evening, Heidi,” Dorothy said as she and Cindy walked into the hallway.  “Joanne and her mother will be along in a little while.”

 

“Can I take your coats,” Heidi said as Cindy slipped out of her black greatcoat, revealing her Edwardian style petticoat dress with a white jumper underneath, and black shoes.  Her mother was wearing a grey trouser suit, with matching ankle boots.

 

“I thought you’d stopped wearing that,” Heidi said as Dorothy went and hugged the two older women.

 

“Only for special occasions,” Cindy said with a smile as the two girls walked into the front room.  Pouring two glasses of cola, she handed one to her friend as they sat on the long couch.

 

“So, what have you got planned for tonight?”

 

“Me – nothing.  I don’t think Mum has either.  Why – didn’t you have enough fun the other night?”

 

“Of course I did – although I really needed the toilet when I woke up.  Nah – I guess this is going to be a nice, quiet little party.”

 

The door opened and Joanne walked in, dressed in a brown roll necked sweater, brown corduroy trousers and knee length brown leather boots.  Her legs actually squeaked when she walked, making the other two burst out laughing.

 

“You get used to it after a while,” she said as she took a drink and sat down.  “Mum’s talking to the other older women in the kitchen.  So, recovered?”

 

“Nothing to recover from,” Heidi said as she sipped her drink.  As she put the glass down, Amy put her head round the door from the kitchen area.

 

“Heidi, why don’t you three girls go upstairs for a few minutes?  I’ll call you down when we’re ready to start eating.”

 

“Come on,” she said as she stood up, “I suspect there’s some women talk coming, and they don’t want us to hear them.”

 

As they climbed the stairs, Veronica watched them heading for Heidi’s room.  “How long do we give them,” Amy asked as she joined her half-sister.

 

“Well, if it goes according to plan, she will find out in – two minutes.”

 

 

 

 

“Nice room,” Joanne said as Heidi closed the door.  “Must be some advantages to been an only child.”

 

“I’m sure you agree,” she said in reply, which got a smile from the other two girls.  “You even have your own walk-in wardrobe,” Joanne said as she walked to the two wooden doors set into the wall.  “Mind if I have a look?”

 

“Go right ahead,” Heidi said, but as Joanne opened the doors it was not the neatly arranged rows of clothes on hangers she saw.

 

It was the tall, thin, woman who was standing in the wardrobe, dressed from head to toe in form fitting black and with a domino mask fixed over her eyes.  Her long blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail, and she held a small canvas bag in one of her leather gloved hands. In the other was a realistic looking toy pistol.

 

Cindy looked at Heidi, who looked back at her.  They both recognised Anne, but neither of them knew what she was doing there.

 

“Pity,” the older woman said, “I had hoped to sneak out when you left the room, but I see I can’t do that now.  The question is what I am going to do with you three.”

 

Joanne looked back at the other two girls, a perplexed look on her face.  Heidi smiled and nodded, before saying “We won’t say anything – please, don’t do anything to us.”

 

“OH,” the older girl finally said, before turning back and saying “Who are you?”

 

“Never mind,” Anne said a smile on her red lips, “I need your help.  You two – lie face down on that bed, and don’t move.  I need to stop the three of you from raising the alarm.”

 

“Just do as she says,” Joanne said, so Heidi and Cindy climbed onto her bed, lying face down with their heads on her pillows.  Placing the bag in the bed, Anne opened it and drew out a length of parachute cord.

 

“See the one in the nice white frock?  Take her wrists behind her back and tie them together, nice and tightly.”

 

“All right,” Joanne said, putting on a frightened voice as she took the cord, walked to the side of the bed next to Cindy and moved her arms behind her back so that her wrists were crossed.  “Who is this woman?” she whispered to her cousin as she wrapped the cord around her wrists.

 

“She’s a friend,” Cindy said quietly as she turned her head back, “She helped Mum and me out, and she knows Heidi’s family as well.  Don’t worry – this is another game.”

 

“You talk too much,” Anne said as she took out a black bandana, rolled it into a band and tied a knot in the middle.  “Use this to gag her.”

 

Cindy opened her mouth wide to allow Joanne to push the knot between her teeth, biting don on it as she tied the ends together at her neck.  Looking up, she saw Anne holding another length of cord.

 

“Now her ankles, side by side,” she said, and then watched as Joanne folded the hem of Cindy’s skirt up slightly and tied them together.  Checking the ropes, she handed Joanne two more lengths and said “Now Little Girl Blue here – same thing, and do it properly.”

 

As she bound Heidi hand and foot, she watched Anne take more cords out and lay them on the bed, as well as two more bandanas, one blue and one red.  As she tied off the rope around Heidi’s ankles, she was not surprised to be handed the blue bandana, rolled and knotted as before, and told to gag her.

 

Stepping back, she said “Are you both all right,” noting the smiles on their faces as they turned and looked at her.  As this happened, she felt her own hands been pulled behind her back, and felt the soft cords going around her wrists.

 

“Thank you for your help,” Anne said as she looked over Joanne’s shoulder at the two younger girls, “but I need to keep you quiet and out of the way now.  Open wide.”

 

The knotted cotton tasted strange in her mouth as she felt the ends been pulled tightly around her face, but Joanne played along as she was made to sit ton the floor at the far wall from the bed.  She watched as Annie crossed her ankles and wrapped more cord round them, the squeaking of her boots and trousers as they rubbed together almost making her laugh. She could see the leather been pushed under the tight coils, especially as Anne cinched them by passing the rope between her legs.

 

“Right,” she said as she stood up and picked up her bag – “Don’t move for half an hour.  Just lie still, and I’m sure someone will find you soon enough.”  Waving, she went out of the room, closing the door behind her.

 

Joanne looked at the two girls, who had rolled over so that they could face each other.”

 

“Hlfnhr?”

 

Heidi looked at her and nodded.  “Tscd,” she mumbled, “nnes gngdwnstrs.”  Joanne thought on this for a moment, and then nodded – she understood.  They were not the only ones to be secured for the party that night...

 

The girls sat quietly for a few minutes, time passing as if it had slowed to a stream of molasses.  They could hear voices downstairs, cordial but gradually diminishing in number until there was only a low mumble.  Looking at Cindy, Heidi nodded and said “tmtgtwrk.”

 

Rolling over so that they were back to back, Cindy looked over her shoulders as Heidi looked for the knot at the top of her friend’s wrists, probing with her fingers until she managed to locate it.  She then started to gently feed the rope back through, Joanne watching and marvelling at the speed and skill she worked with.

 

Within five minutes, Cindy was shaking the cords off her hands, then rolling over to untie Heidi.  “Hwnrthdudtht,” Joanne asked as the two girls sat up, removed the scarves from their mouths and brought their legs up so that they could untie their own ankles.

 

“Practice,” Cindy said as she slipped off the bed, coming over as Joanne turned so that her wrist could be quickly untied.  “Once we have you free, take those boots off – we need to sneak downstairs, and you could always put them back on afterwards.”

 

Reaching up to untie the gag in her mouth, Joanne removed the now soaking cloth and placed it on the floor.  “Who on earth is that woman anyway,” she finally said as the younger girls removed the wet bandanas from around their necks.

 

“Hr name’s Anne,” Cindy said as Heidi quietly opened the door.  “When mum and I had to go into hiding, she helped us to form new identities.”

 

“She’s also an old friend of my Aunt Veronica’s,” Heidi said as she looked back, “and she’s helped us out with a few games.  She really knows her ropes – we got off lightly tonight.”

 

“So what do we do now?”

 

“Now,” Heidi said as she slowly opened the door, “We go and surprise her.  Whatever we see downstairs, our target is Anne – remember that.”

 

The three girls crept slowly downstairs, the sound of the CD player clear in their ears as they peeked in the front room.  A row of four chairs had been set out, and they could see their mothers, as well as Veronica, sat in them, one to each chair.  From their viewpoint, they could see that each woman had their wrists bound together and secured to the back of the chair, and were looking at each other without saying much.

 

Their legs seemed to be bound at the ankles as well, as Veronica swung her legs to and fro under the seat.  Cindy noted that her boots had been taken of her feet, her bare soles held together by a thin length of string tied around her big toes.

 

“Come on,” Heidi said as they made their way to the kitchen.  Anne was standing by the breakfast bar, looking through a magazine as she sipped from a glass of Coke.  Her back was to the door to the corridor, and to all the world she looked as if she wasn’t paying attention to anyone or anything that might come through there.

 

Slowly opening the door, the three girls slipped into the kitchen.  Joanne put a finger to her lips as she crept up behind Anne, waiting until she put the glass down before she reached up and placed her hand over the blonde haired woman’s mouth.

 

“Whthhl,” she mumbled until she looked round and saw both Cindy and Heidi standing there, their arms crossed.  “Our turn now,” she said as Joanne made Anne stand up and kneel down on the floor, before lying on her stomach.  She kept Anne hand gagged as Heidi reached into the bag on the work surface, pulled out some cord and said “Hold her hands behind her back, Cindy.”

 

Their captive offered no resistance as Heidi quickly wrapped the cord around Anne’s wrists, over the cuffs of her jumper, and secured them tightly together.  “Don’t make a sound,” Joanne whispered into the older woman’s ear as Heidi sat across Anne’s legs and started to tie her ankles together, “We don't want to let your captives know you got bested by a bunch of girls, do you?”

 

“Verfnne” Anne mumbled as she felt the cord go around her ankles, and the her legs pulled back as Heidi placed her in  a hog tie.  As she did this, Cindy looked in the bag and took out a roll of white micro foam tape.

 

“What’s that,” Joanne said as the girl knelt on the opposite side of Anne’s head.  “You’ll see,” she said, “but first take your hand away.  Anne, this is Joanne, Joanne – Anne.”

 

“Pleased to meet you,” Anne said as she looked round at the older girl.  “I’ve met your mother already.”

 

“SO I see,” Joanne said as Cindy tore a long strip loose from the roll and held it in both hands.  “You know what time it is, Anne?”

 

“Quiet time,” was the only response as she closed her lips and held her head up, allowing Cindy to press the tape over her mouth as it formed to the contours of her jaw.  “this is Microfoam medical tape,” Cindy said as she looked at her cousin, “Very sticky, very difficult to work off yourself, but it leaves no marks.”  The three girls stood up and looked at Anne as she lay on the floor.

 

“So, what about our mothers and your aunt?” Joanne said as Heidi looked in the kitchen drawer, taking a pair of scissors out.  “Come with me, stay quiet and stay low,” she said as they sneaked back into the corridor.  Going down on all fours, Cindy noiselessly opened the door, allowing Heidi and Joanne to crawl in before closing the door behind themselves.

 

Now that they were closer, they could see that all four women were barefoot, and their big toes had been tied together with string.  Suzanne was sat at the far end from Veronica, with Amy and Dorothy in the middle.  Joanne’s mother was wearing a deep purple dress with long sleeves, as could be seen from the way her hands were secured behind her back.  Next to the couch to the side were the ankle boots of Dorothy and Amy, as well as Veronica’s high boots and  a pair of purple fabric boots that Heidi figured belonged to Suzanne.

 

Putting her fingers to her lips, Heidi crept behind the end chair that Veronica was sitting on, watching as Cindy went behind her mother and Joanne behind Suzanne.  Nodding, she reached under the seat of the chair and started to gently tickle the soles of her aunt’s feet.

 

“Msmwmwmhhhhhaaaa” she heard Veronica say as the feet were suddenly moved out of the way.  Amy looked to her side, and Heidi could now see the pad of white tape that covered her mouth.  “Tsatrp” she said before muffled laughter broke out on the other side of her, as both Cindy and Joanne paid their respective mothers the compliment of tickling them.

 

“Plsdnttdts,” Dorothy said as she tried to pull her feet out of the way, while Suzanne was turning bright red as she tried her best not to burst out laughing.  “Hde,” Veronica eventually said as her niece stopped tickling, “worsen?”

 

“Hang on a minute,” Heidi said as she stood up and walked round.  she could now see that all four women had ropes around their waists and the chair back, holding them in place.  Reaching up, she peeled the tape away from Veronica’s mouth, watching as she worked her jaw and said “What did you do with Anne?”

 

“She’s in the kitchen – why?”

 

“Untie my hands – I have a bone to pick with her.”

 

Walking back behind the chair, Heidi released Veronica’s hands from the chair and removed the rope, watching as she brought her arms round, rubbed her wrists and then started to untie her feet.

 

“Whtbts,” Amy said as she watched her sister stand up.  Veronica looked at her, a smile on her face as she said “Heidi?”  Amy’s eyes widened as she felt her daughter’s fingers tickling the soles of her own feet, as Veronica made her way quickly into the kitchen.  As Cindy and Joanne continued their digit assault, a fourth peal of muffled laughter joined the chorus, as all four bound and gagged women were tickled mercilessly.

 

Fifteen minutes passed before Veronica walked back in.  “All right, girls, untie your mothers,” she said as she picked up a canapé from the side table and put it in her mouth.  “I think we need to come together as a group now – once these three have had some fun.”

 

“What do you mean, had some fun,” Cindy said as she released her mother’s hands, watching as Dorothy reached up and pulled the tape away from her mouth.  “Let me at her,” she said as her daughter untied her feet, standing up and walking straight for the kitchen, followed by Amy.

 

“Where have they gone,” Suzanne said as she rubbed her own wrists.  “To visit an old friend,” was all Veronica said as peals of gagged laughter came through from the kitchen.  “Anyway – girls, get your shoes back on, and we’ll put ours on as well.  It’s cold, and we need to keep our feet warm.”

 

 

 

“Five minutes to go,” Amy shouted through to the kitchen.  The three girls left their card game and joined the other five women in the main room as the television showed the scene from Times Square.

 

“Quite a year,” Amy said as Heidi came and sat next to her, “A lot of things have changed.”

 

“I’ll say,” Dorothy said as she picked up her glass, “but mostly for the good.  We’ve come out of hiding, and I’ve been able to meet with some of my family again.”

 

“We also had a few – interesting birthdays and holidays,” Veronica said, looking pointedly at Amy and Anne as she did so.  The others blushed as Joanne said “So, what are we wishing for next year?”

 

“A safe and happy new year.”

 

“To get to the end of the school year and celebrate.”

 

“To play a few more games like tonight.”

 

“There’s someone I need to pin down – this year might be the year.”

 

The globe on the screen slowly rose up the needle as Dick Clark said “And we have ten... nine... eight... seven... six... five... four... three... two... one... HAPPY NEW YEAR!!”

 

The silver globe fell down the pole, the band began to play Auld Lang Syne, and the three mothers hugged their daughters as Veronica hugged Anne.

 

Outside the window, there was a sound like an explosion, and as Amy opened the curtains they saw a firework display starting on some open ground near the house.  “let’s start the new year with a bang,” she said as she popped the cork on a bottle of champagne.

 

“Can I have some,” Heidi said, expecting her mother to say no.  Instead she nodded, and as Veronica held a tray of eight glasses she poured some into each of them.

 

“A toast,” Veronica said as they held their glasses in the air, “To family, friendship and fun.”

 

“Family, Friendship and Fun,” they all shouted as they clinked the crystal, the fireworks illuminating the room as the band played on...

 

 

 

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