Heidi’s School Project
Night, the Ellsworth Residence
“Thanks for coming ladies,” Dorothy said as she sat down and looked at the other four women in the room, “I just wanted to make sure we all knew what was going to happen on Saturday.”
“Where’s Cindy?” Amy asked as she put her coffee mug down on the coffee table.
“Gone to see a film with Heidi and the other girls - we have the house to ourselves for a few hours.” Dorothy was casually dressed, in an old jumper and leggings - a far cry, Amy thought, from the prim and proper women she had first met over a year ago. She was wearing a t-shirt and shorts, as was her sister Veronica who was sat next to her.
On the other side of the room was Anne Duncombe, dressed as always in smart pants and a jumper. She had been a good friend to Amy and Veronica, as well as Dorothy, over the years and most recently had helped them escape from a kidnapping. The final woman was Dorothy’s sister, Suzanne, a smile on her face as she read the sheet of paper in front of her.
“Why am I not surprised,” she finally said as she put the sheet down. “This is Cindy’s idea?”
“It is - I think we can safely say we are recovering from our unexpected trip now. I will need quite a bit of help for this - I know we will have to chaperone, provide food and drinks, and so on, but we may need some more specialised help. Anne, can I count on you for that?”
“For some of it, yes - but surely we need some people a bit closer to their age as well?”
“Joanne is already taking care of that,” Suzanne said with a smile, “She and the other girls are meeting to discuss a few ideas...”
Thursday Night, the Blackwood Residence
“You will never get away with this, you foul fiend!”
Chloe stared back at Alexa, struggling in the ropes that held her firmly to the bedroom chair. They were wound around her upper body and through the wooden lattice work, binding her arms to the wood as well as her chest, while her sock covered ankles were tied to the front legs. Her boots were tossed casually to one side as the ropes also held her knees to the legs, the white contrasting with her dark tights.
“Of course we’re going to get away with it,” Alexa chuckled in a way that was supposed to be menacing. “After all, you failed to rescue the heiress, you little snoop!”
Chloe glanced over to where Andrea lay on her bed, mewling through the broad band of white tape that covered her mouth and lower jaw. A black sleep mask covered her eyes, and a pair of plugs could be seen firmly placed into her ears.
Her wrists were crossed and tightly bound in front of her, her hands safely covered by a pair of fingerless mittens and a warm blue sleep suit covering her body. The rope went round her waist, pinning the limbs firmly down in her lap. There were also bands of rope at intervals running up her body, starting with the length around her ankles and feet, then three at various points around her legs, her waist, her belly and her shoulders.
Next to her stood Joanne, smiling as she gently tickled Andrea’s ribs and said “Tell us the password to your account, Lady Blackwood, or suffer the torture of the terrible typing digits!”
“No, do not do it Mdsdasdsdasda” Chloe called out before Alexa took the scarf she had removed from around the young French woman’s neck and pulled it into her mouth, silencing her as she tied the ends under her hair. “You can’t stop our plan now,” she cackled as she walked round and looked into Chloe’s eyes, “and your little friends can’t help you either!”
There was a knock on the door, and as it opened Joanne saw Coral, Andrea’s mother, put her head round the door. “I’m sorry, girls,” she said with a smile, “but Andrea’s father just called to say he is heading home. I suggest you clear up before he gets back.”
“Of course, Mrs Blackwood,” Joanne said as she reached down and pulled the tape away from Andrea’s mouth, helping her to push the sponge ball out from behind her lips as she did so.
“Thanks,” she said as Joanne helped her to sit up and Alexa ungagged Chloe, “I don’t think Dad’s quite ready for this yet.”
“So,” Chloe said as she watched Alexa unravel the rope around her, “This is the plan? We are to provide the - dastardly villains for the girls to investigate?”
“That’s what Mum said,” Joanne replied with a smile. “My darling younger cousin is having a Snoops Party, and they are each coming dressed as their favourite teenage detective. We get to play the parts of the dastardly villains...”
“... and the grownups get to provide the food, drink and the surprise elements,” Alexa said as she helped Chloe to stand up. “We each get to pick the part of which villain we are going to play. Any ideas?”
“I do,” Chloe said with a smile, “but I need to get a blonde wig. After all, Miss Eva Kant cannot be seen to be a brunette. What of you three?”
“Wait and see,” Joanne said with a smile as she untied Andrea, “Wait and see...”
Friday, Final Class - English
“... and, as you will know from your reading, Lee evokes the atmosphere of small town Alabama...”
Natalie nudged Cindy in the ribs as Miss Markham, their English Teacher, continued to make To Kill A Mockingbird sound boring.
“Got your outfit sorted for tomorrow?”
“I have - you?”
“Me too - I know Heidi is going to be our Nancy Drew.”
“Ms Ellsworth, Ms Jenkins, is there something you wish to discuss with the class.”
“No, Miss Markham,” the two girls replied in unison, making Heidi titter slightly as she caught them out of the corner of her eye. The teacher looked at her for a moment, but before she could say anything the bell went.
“STOP!” Miss Markham called out as the class began to gather their books. “I have an assignment for you - I want you, in groups of three or four, to write a one act play based on a favourite literary character, and I want it first thing on Monday morning.”
Cindy and Heidi looked at each other. “Miss Markham,” Cindy said, “I have a family event this weekend that I have to go, I can’t possibly...”
“And for asking that, Miss Ellsworth, you get to have your group read it first,” Miss Markham said as she sat at her desk. “You may go.”
“I don’t believe it,” Cindy said as the trio walked out of the classroom, “She’s done it to us again!”
“Done what,” Jannifer said as she and Alice walked up the corridor towards them. “Has Moaning Markham pulled her fast one again?”
“Yeah - a one act play, to be read first thing Monday morning!”
“Tough break,” Alice said as she looked at the trio. “What’s the subject?”
“It has to feature our favourite...” Heidi stopped and looked at the others. “Heh - I know how we can do this!”
“Oh,” Natalie said as she looked at her, absent mindedly playing with the rope bracelet around her wrist, “How?”
“By doing what we were going to do this weekend anyway, and then just re-writing it slightly. Cindy - we’ll see you tomorrow at 12, in costume.”
11 am, The Cabot Residence
“Thanks again for allowing us to use your house for the party, Veronica - given what Cindy wanted, there was just no room at our place.”
“It’s not a problem, Dorothy - the more the merrier.” The two women were sitting in the breakfast bar, talking as Amy walked in with Anne and Suzanne. “How are the girls?”
“Getting ready - and I’ve got to admit, Alexa has been very creative indeed with her outfit. I take it one of the girls is coming as Kim Possible?”
“They are,” Cindy said as she walked in. She was wearing a long sleeved yellow top over a pair of shiny black leggings, with her feet in a pair of red shoes. Her mother had fixed a black cape with a red lining to the collar of the dress, which hung to just above the black belt that hung loosely on her hips, and she had a black hood over her head with a peak like jester’s cap, her black hair sticking out from under the front.
“Thanks for the outfit, Aunt Suzanne,” Cindy said as she spun a black eye mask around her finger, “I never would have thought of something like these.”
“I loved the books when I was a girl,” Suzanne said with a smile, “and I used to wear that to fancy dress parties. I’m glad it fits you now. You’d better get going - your guests will be here soon.”
“Talking of soon,” Anne said as she looked at her watch, “Have we decided who it’s going to be?”
“No,” Amy said with a sigh, “so I guess it’s time to draw straws.” She took three straws out of a box, and using a pair of scissor cut one in half.
“Whoever draws the short one,” she said as she held the four in her hand, the ends level. One by one, Veronica, Dorothy and Suzanne drew a straw, as Amy opened her hand to show the one that she was left with.
“Right,” Anne said as she stood up, “You’d better come with me and get ready...”
Saturday, 11.45 am
“All right, you two girls have fun now.”
Natalie’s mother held the door open to allow Natalie and Heidi to climb out of the car. Natalie was wearing a mid-length purple dress, with matching strap shoes, tights in a lighter shade of purple and one of her mother’s silk scarves tied in a band loosely round her neck.
Heidi, unusually for her, was dressed fairly smartly, in a long sleeved yellow jumper and a purple tartan print pleated skirt with a yellow belt round her waist. A pair of purple brogues was on her feet, and a simple silver locket round her neck.
“So, are we going to tell them today,” Natalie said as she waved goodbye to her mother.
“Let’s see what happens,” Heidi said with a smile. “After you, Ms Blake.”
“No, after you, Ms Drew,” Natalie said, laughing as the two girls walked to the front door and rang the doorbell.
“Hey there,” Cindy said as she opened the door, “Glad you could make it. Mum’s got some drinks sorted out in the front room.” The three girls walked into Veronica’s large front room, where Dorothy was pouring some drinks into glasses.
“Welcome, ladies,” she said as she handed Heidi and Natalie a glass. “When the others have arrived, then we can begin.” As if by cue, the doorbell rang, and Cindy left the room, only to return with the two new arrivals.
Jannifer was wearing a cheerleader outfit, consisting of a cropped purple sleeveless top with red trim, a pleated purple skirt with red trim and yellow inserts in the pleats, a pair of red ankle socks and white sneakers. She also carried a brown canvas bag over her shoulder, and her red hair was styled to flow down her back.
Alice was wearing a red t-shirt with a white stripe across the centre, and green combat pants. Her normal dark hair was covered by a blonde wig, with a pigtail sticking out at either side, and she was carrying a large book with her.
“All right then,” Cindy said as she closed the door, “Let’s all have a drink and see what’s going to happen next....
The four women were sitting round a television screen, watching the assembled group as they sat round talking.
“Purrfect,” Andrea said as she stroked her chin, “Simply purrrfect.” She was wearing a form fitting black body suit, with a leather belt hanging loosely round her waist, and black ankle boots. In her hair were perched a pair of cat ears.
“Calm yourself, dear,” Alexa said as she played with the edges of her long black wig. She was wearing a black and green bodysuit, with one black boot and one green one on the opposing coloured legs. “Wait until the tape is shown, and then we can move out.”
Chloe sat to one side, her finger to her chin as she watched Cindy. “The birthday girl is dressed as one of my favourite heroines,” she said as she started to finger the string of pearls that were round her neck, sitting on top of the jumper part of the twin set she was wearing with a tweed skirt. “It will give me the greatest of pleasure to ensure that she is kept - occupied for some time.”
“Soon, girls,” Joanne said as she turned up the volume, “very soon...”
“Ladies,” Dorothy said as the five girls sat down, “You have been invited here because your help is desperately needed. Some of you know each other, but please, take a moment to introduce yourselves.”
“I’m Nancy - Nancy Drew,” Heidi said as she made a little curtsey.
“Kim Possible,” Jannifer said as she waved the pom-poms she had taken out of her bag in the air.
“I’m Penny Gadget, and I hope agents of KLAW are nowhere round,” Alice said with a defiant stand.
“Daphne Blake - pleased to meet you all,” Natalie said. “And who are you,” she said as she looked at Cindy, her eye mask firmly fixed in place.
“You may call me Fantomette,” Cindy said with a false French accent, which made Chloe giggle as she watched; “I’m the scourge of villains everywhere.”
“Well, thank you all for coming today,” Dorothy said as she switched on the television and took a DVD out of a case. “We have asked you here because we - well, I’ll let the Controller explain.” She opened the DVD player, slipped the disk in and pressed “Play” on the remote. The screen went black, and then the silhouette image of a person appeared.
“Greetings, sleuths,” an electronically masked voice said, “You have been asked to attend today to find and rescue Lady Amelia DuBonet, a leading philanthropist in this local area. Yesterday afternoon, she was apprehended by a gang of four masked women, and we believe she is been held captive somewhere in this very building. We received this communication two hours ago.”
The screen changed to show a woman, dressed in a long silk gown, tied securely to a chair with ropes around her legs, midriff and arms. A canvas hood was covering her head as she tried to look round. As the picture continued, a female voice that the girls recognised as Joanne said “You have six hours to raise one million dollars in cash, or the lady will be a tramp. We’ll be in touch.”
As the scene went back to the silhouette, the altered voice said “We only have four hours left - and we need your help to find Her Ladyship. Please, do your best to find her, but be careful - we have reason to believe that the gang have hired four master villainesses to try and thwart any attempt to release Lady DuBonet.”
“That’s our cue,” Joanne said as the four older girls stood up. “Move out and good luck.”
The five looked at each other, and said as one “We’ll find her.”
“Excellent - my assistant Dorothy will be here if you need help, but tread carefully, and good luck.”
“You heard the Controller,” Dorothy said as she turned off the player. “You have until four o’clock - good luck.”
“So how do you want to handle this,” Cindy said as she turned to the others. “It’s a big house, but Heidi - sorry, Nancy and I know something of the layout.”
“let’s split up,” Natalie suggested. “Kim, you go with Fantomette - she may be able to help you out. Penny and I will go with Nancy. You start upstairs, we’ll look downstairs.”
“Meet back here in one hour,” Cindy said as she looked at her watch, “And look out for each other.” The five girls nodded as they turned and left the room, Jannifer and Cindy heading up the staircase as the others went into the kitchen.
“Something smells nice,” Natalie said as the three of them walked into the large open area.
“Must be something for later,” Heidi said quietly, taking a magnifying glass from her handbag. “Spread out and look for clues.”
As she examined the work surface, Alice walked over to the fridge and looked in.
“No - just looking for - hello, what’s this?”
Heidi looked over as Alice picked something out of the fridge. “What is it - one of her ladyship’s jewels?”
“Nah - just discovering your aunt loves fresh pineapple,” Alice said as she held a dish up for Heidi to see. “You need to eat right, right Daphne?”
“Hmm - sorry, be with you in a minute,” Natalie said as she saw a red thread, similar in colour to the gown on the bound woman, running across the floor. Rubbing her arms, she slowly followed the thread towards a large door that led to the cellar.
“I wonder if she’s down here,” she said to herself as she put her hand on the door handle, but before she got a chance to turn it the door opened and she was dragged through by two pairs of arms.
“Did you say something, Daphne?” Heidi said as she turned and looked at the slowly swinging door. “Daphne? Daphne, where are you?”
Saturday, 12.30 pm
Natalie was trying to stop her arms been secured to the chair back with the loops of rope that were been passed round her upper body, but with little success. Her wrists were already well secured behind her back, and tied down to the central spar of the chair back, as the ropes were pulled even tighter around her by the tall, thin, stocking masked woman.
“This ought to hold her in place,” she heard her say in a high pitched voice to the other person, who was busy lashing her feet together to the side of the chair leg. This person was wearing a Frankenstein full head mask, over a dark baggy jumper and trousers.
Natalie tried to call out again, only for the cloth stuffed in her mouth to muffle her attempts, held in place as it was by her own scarf which was pulled between her teeth. Looking to her side, in the gloom she could just about see across the room the person they had been looking for, the hood still over her head.
“Don’t worry,” the voice said, “Your friends will join you soon enough.” A pair of earplugs were pushed into Natalie’s ears, before a long woollen scarf was tied over her ears and eyes, blacking out her vision.
“I can’t see anything in here,” Cindy said as she and Jannifer looked one more time round the large bedroom.
“No, I agree,” Jannifer said as she scratched her head, “I think we need to split up and see what else we can find in the other rooms. Meet at the top of the stairs in twenty minutes?”
“All right,” Jannifer said quietly as she went one way down the corridor, and Cindy made her way to the room she knew was Veronica’s bedroom. As she opened it, she was surprised to see sitting at the dressing table a woman, her blonde hair done up in a bun, applying some lipstick to her face.
“I’m sorry,” Cindy said as she closed the door behind her, “I thought the room was empty. May I ask who you are?”
“Me,” the woman said with an Italian accent as she stood up and turned to look at Cindy, “I am Lady Amelia DuBonet. May I ask who you are, dressed in that circus outfit.”
Cindy looked at the woman, dressed in a twin set and tweed knee length skirt with a pearl of strings around her neck. She knew it was Chloe wearing a wig, but had no idea what character she was playing. She did think her Italian accent was good, however.
“You can call me Fantomette,” she finally said, “and I know you are not Lady DuBonet. We have seen the ransom video for...
“... for my mother,” Chloe said with a smile. “I had heard this mysterious Controller had called in some outside help - I presume you are one of them?”
“I am,” Cindy said as she watched Chloe walk slowly towards her, her handbag slung over her shoulder. “Perhaps you can tell me why someone would wish to kidnap your mother?”
“Money, her valuables, or maybe they just really do not like her - she can be a difficult person at times,” Chloe said with a smile as she walked up and stood in front of Cindy, opening her bag as she did so. “After all, I should know better than anyone - I am her daughter, after all.”
“Which is strange,” Cindy said quietly, “Because Lady DuBonet does not have any children.”
“Very good,” Chloe said as she took a perfume spray from her bag, “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Eva Kant.”
“Eva...” Cindy said as Chloe sprayed water into her face. She swayed for a moment, before closing her eyes and dropping to the floor, as if she had been given a blast of ether to the nose and mouth.
“How very stupid of you,” Chloe said as she knelt next to Cindy and rolled her over, drawing a length of parachute cord out of her bag as she did so, “to fall for so simple a trap.” She pulled the younger girl’s wrists together, crossing them behind her back before she started to tie them together.
“Daphne? Where did she go?”
As Alice and Heidi looked round, the door from the dining room opened and Amy came in, dressed as a housekeeper with a white apron over a blue housecoat, and low black shoe son her feet. “Oh,” she said in a Southern accent, “I’m sorry, I did know you would be in here. Can I help you young ladies?”
“Our friend seems to have disappeared,” Alice said with a smile, “You did not see her, did you?”
“This friend - about your height, wearing a purple dress?”
“That’s her,” Heidi said as she looked at her mother, “which way did she go?”
“I believe she made her way to the telephone,” Amy said as she went to the sink, “to call someone called Thelma?”
“Thanks,” Heidi said as she and Alice walked out of the room. As they made their way down the corridor, Alice stopped for a moment.
“You go and check the telephone,” she said as she looked in the dining room, “I’ll be there in a few minutes.” She turned and opened the door, intrigued by the sound she had heard.
“Daphne, did you come in here,” Alice said as she walked into the room, looking at the dining room table. Lying on her side on it was Andrea, dressed in a tight fitting black cat suit with a leather belt hanging round her hips, black ankle boots, a domino mask over her eyes and kitten ears stuck in her hair.
“Well hello, my little kitten,” she purred as she looked at Alice, “and what is your name?”
“Penny - Penny Gadget,” Alice said, “and who are you?”
“Penny Gadget - how purrfectly splendid,” Andrea said as she stood up and walked over to Alice, using her glove covered hands to lift her chin up. “An old friend of mine asked me to keep an eye out for you, young Penny. I believe you know him very well.”
“Oh - and who might that be?”
“Doctor Claw,” Andrea said as she grabbed Alice and held her in her tight grip, “He said to give you his best regards, and to give you a little gift.”
Alice tried to break loose of Andrea’s grip, as she said “Let go of me, you fiend!”
“Now, now, little kitten,” Andrea purred as she sprayed a little water mist into Alice’s face, “Perhaps a little catnip will help you to relax.”
Alice blinked twice before relaxing, closing her eyes as Alice helped her to the floor. The door from the kitchen opened and Chloe walked in.
“I see you have caught another little agent,” she said as she knelt next to Alice.
“Of course I have, it was purrfectly simple,” Andrea said as she took Alice by the legs, and Chloe lifted her by the shoulders, “Let us take her to join her friend.”
Saturday, 1 pm.
Cindy opened her eyes as she heard Chloe and Andrea leave the room, looking at Alice as she lay next to her. The two older girls had tied Alice’s wrists tightly together behind her back with rope, and then wound a length round her upper body to hold her arms firmly in place. Her ankles were tightly tied together side by side, as were her legs above her knees and a red scarf was pulled between her lips.
“Pnne? Pnnewkp,” Cindy mumbled through the strip of white tape that was pressed over her lips. She was securely hogtied, her wrists and ankles crossed and tied together with cord, and then to each other with a further length holding them so tightly she could touch the heels of her red shoes with her fingers. The tape was the sticky medical kind, sealing her lips so effectively she could not push out the cloth that was in her mouth.
“So, who shall we try to capture next,” Andrea said as she and Chloe walked down the upstairs corridor.
“Well,” Chloe said as she stopped in front of the bathroom door, “I already have my next target in mind, dear sweet Selina.”
“Oh,” Andrea said as she looked at the cool blonde, “and who might that be?”
“You,” Chloe said as the bathroom door was opened and Andrea was pulled backwards, a gloved hand covering her mouth as her eyes opened wide in surprise...
“Penny? Now where has she gone?”
Heidi looked behind her as she stood by the telephone table. She had vaguely heard Alice say she was going off somewhere, but paid little attention.
“Hey- what’s happening?”
She turned and looked up the staircase to see Jannifer walking down the staircase.
“Well, I seem to be on my own - both Natalie and Alice have...”
“Disappeared into thin air? Cindy too - I guess someone must be picking us off one by one.”
“OH, so little miss Goodie Cheerleader finally figured out something? Hang on for a minute while I soak in the astonishment.”
“Oh boy,” Heidi said as she turned to see Alexa standing there, the long black hair of her wig falling over her shoulders as she moved in her green and black outfit. “She-go, just the person we didn’t want to see.”
“Stay out of this if you have any sense, little miss prim and proper,” Alexa said with a smile that could melt ice, “This is between me and Miss Possible here. Come on, Kimmy - give it your best shot.”
“I don’t want to fight you, She-go,” Jannifer said as she slowly walked down the stairs, her pom-poms in her hand, “I have something else to do today.”
“OH, the missing lady? I know where she might be, but I’m not going to tell you?”
“You’re not? Why not?”
“Duh - because I’m the bad guy?” As she said this, Alexa leapt towards Jannifer, just missing as she jumped to the side, rolled in a ball and straightened up almost immediately on stopping.
“I knew the gymnastics would come in handy one day,” she said with a smile as she jumped again, missing the black cotton ball that Alexa had thrown to represent a power blast. “Come on, you can do better than that,” she taunted as Alexa jumped again, while Heidi backed into a corner, her hand groping for something she had seen earlier.
“Llrrt, llrt - mcmngt.”
Alice opened her eyes to the sight of Cindy looking at her, her eyes wide over the white strip covering her mouth as they both lay on the bed.
“Ysssss - cnupltpfff?”
Alice rolled over onto her back, looking over her shoulder as Cindy pushed herself up the silky covers until her face was within reach of Alice’s fingers. Slowly, carefully, Alice felt round Cindy’s mouth, feeling the edge of the tape before she began to rub at it with her fingers, slowly loosening one corner until she was able to grab it and Cindy rolled her face away, the tap e coming off as she did so.
“Phwwwgggam,” Cindy finally said as she spat the sock out of her mouth. “Who got you, Penny?”
“You have got to be kidding me,” Cindy said as she looked at the rope around Alice’s wrists. “Hold still, I think I can start to unpick the knot with my teeth.”
“Chlo... Sorry, a woman called Eva Kant. I’d heard of her, but had no idea she was in this country.”
Chloe smiled as she looked down on Andrea, struggling on the floor as she tried to move the ropes that were holding her in a tight hogtie, wrapped round her body and legs with the heels of her boots almost, but not quite within reach of her fingers.
“I am sorry that you had to be taken the way you were, my dear Selina,” Chloe said as she knelt down next to her captive and watched the woman behind tightening the ropes around her waist, “but you must understand - there are wheels within wheels in motion here.”
“Indrsntd - btwhstgngnnn?”
She wasn’t able to say much, her mouth been stuffed with cotton and a wide strip of black tape covering her lips. The second woman walked round, her hair held down by the stocking mask covering her head, and smiled as she placed a set of earplugs in Andrea’s ears.
Looking to her side, her eyes widened as she saw a dark haired woman sitting by the wall. Her ankles were clearly lashed together over her leather boots, while the long bohemian skirt she was wearing was secured around her thighs with rope. Her hands were tied down to that rope in front of her and lashed together, while there were ropes around her arms and chest over her long sleeved white blouse.
“Btttt - hsntsllrr?” Andrea mumbled as the dark haired woman twisted round and tried to speak through the thick cotton band that was held between her lips.
“A Distraction,” the woman said in a high pitched voice. “Come, Eva - we have other plans to sort through. You need to find and eliminate your leader next.”
“Not fair, Kimmy - you need to stand still if my blasts are going to hit you.”
“That’s kind of the point,” Jannifer said as she dodged another cotton ball tossed by Alexa. “Besides, I have a surprise for you.”
“Oh - and what would that be?”
“This,” Heidi said as she tapped Alexa on the head with a rolled up umbrella. Alexa stood still for a moment, before allowing herself to fall to the floor, her eyes closed.
“I like these rules,” Jannifer said with a smile. “Thanks, Nancy.”
“No problem, Kim - there should be a stash around here somewhere.” She looked round the room they had moved into, spotting a paper bag behind a chair. As she retrieved it, she drew out several lengths of rope, a scarf and a roll of clear tape.
“You take her ankles,” she said as she tossed Jannifer a length of rope, and then rolled Alexa onto her stomach and crossed her wrists behind her back, “and I’ll take her arms.”
Jannifer passed the doubled over rope around Alexa’s ankles, pulling them tightly together as Heidi lashed her wrists to each other, making sure the rope was snug and secure before she passed some more around her elbows.
“Does she like that?” Jannifer said as she passed the rope between her captive’s legs and pulled tightly.
“I’m told she does,” Heidi said as she pulled Alexa’s arms together and lashed the rope round them, watching as Jannifer did a similar thing to the legs below her knees, the white trope contrasting with the black and green of her bodysuit.
“So what do you think happened to the others?”
“Well, we know of at least four bad girls out there, looking for us, so I’d guess they had fallen into their hands. Once we’ve finished here, what say we go and see if we can find them?”
Jannifer nodded as she helped Heidi to roll Alexa over onto her back and then sit her up, holding her upper body as Heidi passed the long length of rope around her arms and chest.
“NGgggggg- fnks,” Alice mumbled as Cindy finally managed to remove the rope holding her hands together behind her back. Reaching up to pull the scarf from her own mouth, she swiftly untied her ankles before starting to unravel the ropes holding Cindy in place.
“I propose we stick together from now on, Mademoiselle Fantomet,” Alice said as Cindy stretched out her legs and rubbed her wrists.
“I agree, mon ami,” she said quietly as they both climbed off the bed. “The question is, where do we look next?”
“I’m not sure,” Alice said as the door opened and Veronica walked in, dressed in a black short sleeved dress with a white apron tied round the front. Her legs were encased in dark stockings, while her fete nestled in a pair of white deck shoes.
“Oh, I’m sorry miss,” she said with a small curtsey, “I did not know the room was in use. I can return if...”
“No, it is all right,” Cindy said as she looked at Heidi’s aunt, “Are you one of the staff?”
“I am - I am Lady DuBonet’s personal maid.”
“What can you tell us of her disappearance?”
“Oh, it was terrible - I brought her her morning coffee, and left her in the room to answer her letters. A few minutes later, there was a scream, and by the time I got to the room - she had gone.”
“Did you see anything else?”
“Only two women running away - I only saw their backs, but I know they were women.”
“Their legs - they were both wearing boots, one white, the other green and black...”
“That should hold her!”
Heidi stuck the last of four strips of clear tape over Alexa’s mouth, holding the scarf in place in her mouth. Her lips were slightly apart, and the folded edges of the cream silk could be clearly seen.
“Come on,” she said to Jannifer, “Let’s go - I want to explore the cellar.”
As they left the room, they did not see the door to the kitchen open. Alexa opened her eyes to see the new arrival walk in, the heels of her knee length white leather boots sinking into the rich carpet. As she approached, she knelt down and Alexa felt her gloved hand stroking her cheek.
“So they got you, my dear,” Joanne said as she looked down at her, the pillbox hat perched on her head. “I guess it’s up to Dr. Girlfriend to step in and sort things out again...”
Saturday, 2 pm
“So where was Daphne when you last saw her?”
As Heidi and Jannifer walked back into the kitchen, they found the room empty, the only real sign of life the oven light which illuminated the pit cooking inside it.
“Wonder where the housekeeper went,” Heidi said as she looked round the room. “Anyway, Daphne said she had seen something, and was standing over there.”
“What, next to the door?”
“Well a little way from it,” Heidi said as she made her way over. “Having said that, however, do you see what I see?”
The two girls looked at the floor, and especially at the footprints in the dust, pointing towards the door and then scuffed and mixed in the dirt.
“Try pushing the door,” Jannifer said, and as Heidi pushed the door opened inwards, revealing a set of stairs leading down to a dark passage. She turned and picked up a flashlight, saying “Come on” as she and Jannifer walked down.
As they descended, Cindy and Alice started to walk along the upstairs corridor, wondering who was likely to jump out at them next.
“From what the maid said, one of the attackers had to be Ale... She-Go,” Cindy said as they stopped at the bathroom door, “but who is the other one?”
“No idea, but I’d bet anything it’s either Joanne or Andrea,” Alice said as she opened the bathroom door. As they looked in, everything looked normal and in the right place, but as she looked in the bath she found something unexpected.
“Well, I didn’t think I’d find this in here?” Alice reached into the bath and pulled out the long black whip that she had seen on Andrea’s hip earlier.
“Catwoman? But she brought you into the room - what is this doing here?”
As Cindy looked in she didn’t hear the woman walking up behind her, the skirt of her Christian Dior suit moving with her legs as the heels of her white boots sank into the carpet...
“Hello? Any villains or other nasty people down here?”
Heidi walked into the cellar, shining the flashlight around as Jannifer came in behind her. The ingle beam cut across the wooden crates and storage boxes, the chairs that had been laid out, and the young girl in the purple dress with the scarf over her eyes....
“Scarf over her eyes? NATALIE!!” Jannifer ran over and pulled the woollen scarf off her friend’s face, Natalie blinking as she looked at the two new arrivals.
“Btttmtushwdp,” she mumbled through her gag as Heidi walked round and untied the scarf, allowing her to spit out the sloth as Jannifer pulled out the earplugs. “I was wondering when one of you was going to show up!”
“What happened,” Heidi said as she started to untie the ropes holding Natalie into the chair.
“I got grabbed from behind and pulled down here,” Natalie said as she rubbed her wrists, “Some cousin you are, not noticing I had disappeared.”
“We did, but not quickly enough,” Heidi said as she helped Natalie to stand up, once Jannifer had untied her legs. She stood up and looked at the two girls, a strange look in her eyes.
“Cousin? Heidi, your aunt doesn’t have any kids, is there something you want to tell me?”
Natalie and Heidi looked at each other, before Natalie said “Actually, Jannifer, we are cousins - Veronica is my biological mother.”
“Oooookay, that’s a topic of conversation for later, but can I ask another question first?”
“Who’s that tied in the other chair?”
The trio looked over to see the hooded woman squirming in the ropes that crossed her silk gown, holding her firmly in place.
“Lady DuBonet,” Jannifer said as she walked forward, before Natalie called out “STOP!”
“It could be a trap,” she said as she stepped forward. “You two take up position either side of her, and then I’ll take the hood off from behind.” Heidi and Jannifer nodded as they walked to each side of the bound woman, Natalie taking up the position behind.
“Ready? One, two... Three!”
Natalie pulled off the head to reveal Suzanne, her eyes wide over the thick knotted scarf that had been pulled into her face.
“One moment, Your Ladyship,” Heidi said as she untied the knot over Suzanne’s dark hair and pulled the scarf out of her mouth, “We’ll have you free in no time!”
“Thank you,” Suzanne said quietly, “but I am not Lady DuBonet.”
“You’re not? Then who are you?”
“I am her personal maid - I was kidnapped three days ago. Why - has something happened to my mistress?”
As she crept past the bedroom door, Cindy turned and looked at the new arrival. She had a long dark wig cut like Jackie Kennedy, and her clothes were in the same style, right down to the white pillbox hat and gloves. The only incongruous thing was the deep voice she had as she said “Well now, I see our foreign guest has come into my domain.”
“Foreign Guest? Who are you?”
“Oh me? I’m the reason you’re here, little one.”
As they talked, Alice came out and joined Cindy, looking at the new arrival. “Joanne? Who are you meant to be?”
“I see you found your captor’s little gadget, Little Miss Gadget. What have you done with Selina?”
“I? I haven’t done anything with her. Last I heard she was with that Kant woman, but I was a little woozy at the time.”
“Indeed? Well, you both did well to escape from their clutches,” Joanne said as she took a toy pistol from her handbag, “but you will not....” She stopped talking for a moment, and then crumpled to the floor, a toy dart stuck to her back.
Cindy shook her head as she looked at Alice. “I think we need to do one thing now.”
“Downstairs - fast!”
As the tow girls turned and walked down the stairs, the door to the bedroom opened and Veronica walked out, smiling as she placed the dart gun in her belt. “Time to sleep, young one,” she said as she put her hands under Joanne’s arms and dragged her into the bedroom, “I may even bring your raven haired friend to you....”
“She has been kidnapped? By whom?”
Suzanne rubbed her wrists as she stood up. “What is the last thing you remember before you were snatched,” Heidi said as Jannifer found a light switch and pushed it down, the single bulb illuminating the room.
“I was cleaning her room when two women came in. One had a stocking over her head, the other a fright mask like that monster in the old movies. They forced me to put on a night robe of my mistress, then bound and gagged me and brought me down here. After that I could only hear things, until you released me.
“So who are you?”
“Drew, Blake and Possible, girl detectives at large,” Jannifer said as the light suddenly went out.
“OH come on,” Natalie said as Jannifer groped her way over to the light switch, “I’ve only just started to see again.
“Hang on,” Jannifer said as she found the switch and pushed it down. She looked at Natalie and Suzanne, before asking “Where’s Nancy?”
“Stop struggling, little sleuth.”
Heidi felt the rope pulling her wrists together, and then the tape been smoothed over her mouth. She was pushed by the shoulders to a staircase, and as she walked up it she heard Anne behind her saying “You can join the other s- you won’t be alone for very long...”
At the top of the staircase, a door was opened as Heidi was pushed through. She saw Andrea struggling on the floor, and a woman sat on the other side whom she recognised instantly - as well as the third person standing, a drink glass in her hand.
“So glad you could join us, Ms Drew,” she said as Heidi was forced onto her knees, “The others will join you soon enough.”
“Ishldhvknwn,” Heidi mumbled as her ankles were crossed and rope pulled tightly around them, “tllmksnsssn.”
Joanne grunted through the large pad of white medical tape that had been fixed over her mouth as Alexa was carried in, squirming in her ropes as she was laid on the bed next to her. The red lips were still clearly visible through the clear tape over Alexa’s mouth as she tried to twist out of the ropes holding her wrists together and then attached to her ankles.
As Veronica placed Alexa on her knees, facing Joanne, she opened her eyes and saw her elegantly dressed friend looking at her, her wrists secured behind her back and the ropes clearly visible as they ran down and around her white leather covered ankles.
“Whtdummnm,” Alexa mumbled as Veronica picked up a large coil of rope and made a lasso, passing it over the two girls and pulling it around their waists so that they were almost literally face to face. As she wound it round their arms and chests, Joanne smiled under her tape and said “wlltlstwrtgfr.”
“Thrsstttysssm” Alexa replied as the tape crinkled slightly over her smile, before grunting as Veronica passed the rope around their arms, securing them together before she wound it round their upper bodies. Eventually she passed the rope between their bodies and tied it off, saying “Have a nice time girls,” before closing the door on them.
“Swhwtdwdnnwww,” Alexa said as she looked into Joanne’s eyes.
“Hllfnkfsmfng,” she said as she gazed back, their heads tilting as they brought their gagged mouths together....
Natalie cautiously opened the door and looked out, then signalled to the others that the coast was clear. She held the door open as Jannifer and Suzanne all emerged from the cellar, before closing the door behind her.
“So someone snatched Nancy from right under our noses,” Natalie said as she left her scarf on the kitchen table, the dark stain clearly visible in the centre. “Just what is going on here anyway?”
“I have no idea,” Jannifer said as the door opened and Cindy and Alice came in, stopping as they saw the three people standing there.
“Hi,” Cindy said quietly, “Who is this?”
“Lady DuBonet’s maid - why?”
“But we met Lady DuBonet’s maid upstairs - she told us two women had kidnapped her mistress.”
“How can that be,” Suzanne said, “If I have been tied up for the last few days?”
“You know, girls, I’m beginning to smell a very big rat. Someone took out Joanna when she was about to capture us, and I haven’t seen any of the others for a while.
The kitchen door opened and they all turned to see Veronica walk in, saying “What to do next, what to do....” as she stopped and saw the group standing there.
“Ah,” she said as she especially saw Suzanne, “I see you have discovered my little deception. Well, if you will excuse me....”
“GET HER!!” Natalie shouted as both Suzanne and Jannifer ran over and grabbed Veronica by the arms, dragging her back into the kitchen and sitting her down on one of the old wooden chairs. As they did this, Alice picked up a roll of duct tape that was on the floor and tore it loose, taping Veronica’s arms to the back of the chair and her waist in place as Natalie looked into the older woman’s eyes.
“Hello again,” she said as the other two taped her legs to the front legs of the chair, “Now, why don’t we start at the beginning - who are you, and what have you done with Lady DuBonet?”
“I’ll never tell,” Veronica said as she looked directly back at Natalie, “and nothing you can do can make me talk!”
“Oh no,” Natalie said as she looked at Suzanne. “Tell me, how would you like to be the one to get her to talk?”
“With extreme pleasure - what do you have in mind?”
“Kim, you go with her and fetch her best feather duster.” Jannifer nodded as she and Suzanne headed for the kitchen door. “Penny, you and Fantomas here go and see if you can find that woman who briefed us earlier. Something tells me she has not been telling us the absolute truth.”
“What makes you say that?”
Natalie turned to Suzanne. “When I was taken captive I noticed that one of the women had a particular marked perfume around her - Chanel No 10. Did your mistress ever use that?”
“No - but...” Suzanne let her voice trail off before nodding and leaving with Jannifer.
“Natalie,” Cindy said as she took her friend to one side, “I only know two people who wear that perfume. One is my aunt and the other is...”
“Your mother,” Natalie said as she nodded. “Go -you and Alice find her while I have a little chat with our guest here.”
The two girls nodded and left Natalie alone with Veronica. “So,” she said as she sat down and poured herself a glass of squash, “How’s the day going for you, Mum?”
“Can’t complain, can’t complain,” Veronica said with a smile as she looked at Natalie. “You’ve figured it out, haven’t you?”
“Some of it, but not all of it,” Natalie said with a smile. “And if I’m right, then one of them is not going to come back...”
Heidi let out a muffled grunt as she was pushed over onto the floor of the attic, next to Alex who moved her legs out of the way to avoid hitting her cheek. Her ankles had been pulled back and secured to the ropes that now held her arms firmly into her side, running under her armpits and around the back of her neck to hold them in place. Her legs had also been tied together; the ropes visible below her knees as Anne pulled her skirt back down.
“We can't have our prim and proper girl sleuth exposing herself, now can we,” the woman said as she knelt down and held Heidi’s face in her hand. “After all, she will be joined by the others soon enough. In fact, I fully expect the first person to fall into our clutches any minute now...”
“In here,” Suzanne said as she opened the door to the bedroom, allowing Jannifer to walk in in front of her before she headed to the wardrobe.
“An unusual place to keep your cleaning things,” Jannifer said as she looked round the simply furnished room.
“It is Madame’s wishes,” Suzanne said as she took a pair of black trousers out and pulled them on under the robe, before reaching round and trying to reach the zip. “I wonder if you could help me - I have been tied for so long, I cannot reach the zipper very easily.”
“Oh very well,” Jannifer said as she laid her pom poms down on the bed and walked over to Suzanne, moving her long hair out of the way as she looked for the zipper.
“It seems to be stu....” she said as she tried to move it, before a pad of damp cloth was clamped tightly over her nose and mouth. Her eyes widened as she looked at Suzanne, who turned round and smiled as she allowed her eyes to close and she pretended to fall into a state of unconsciousness.
“Such a lovely girl,” Chloe said as she helped Jannifer to lie gently on the floor. “I was expecting Veronica to be returning with her.”
“Slight change of plans,” Suzanne said as she reached round and pulled the zip down with no problem, allowing it to fall to the floor as she pulled down the t-shirt that she was wearing underneath. “She walked in on me and four of the others.”
“Four of them? Who was missing?”
“Heidi - I think one of us nabbed her while the cellar lights went out. Have you been upstairs yet?”
“No,” Chloe said as she knelt down and turned Jannifer onto her stomach, crossing her wrists and tying them together with a length of satin cloth, “but we can walk her up afterwards. I think the end game is about to begin.”
“We can’t find her,” Alice and Cindy said as they walked back into the kitchen, only to stop as they saw Natalie tickling Veronica’s ribs, to the accompaniment of “No!!! ENOUGH!!!! MERCY, PLEASE!!!!!!!!!”
“Oh no - I’m not showing you any mercy, mum!”
“Mum?” Now it was the turn of Alice and Cindy to look at her askance. “Natalie, what did you mean by that?”
“You would have found out today anyway,” Natalie said as she stood up, “Veronica is my natural mother - I’m adopted.”
“Wh... When did you find this out?”
“The weekend you and Heidi were - away,” Natalie said as Veronica regained her composure. “It’s true,” she eventually said as she sat up, “and we’ll explain it all later. For now, let’s go back to the game.”
“Well,” Cindy said quietly, “We could not find the woman at all. Has Kim returned?”
“No she hasn’t - as I suspected would be the case,” Natalie said as she picked up a cloth. “Tear some strips of tape off that roll - we need to silence our prisoner. Open wide.”
As Veronica opened her mouth, she stuffed the cloth in and covered her lips and jaw with several lengths of duct tape, sealing it in place before she placed the roll on the table. “Come on,” she said to Alice and Jannifer, “Looks like it’s up to us to save the day again.”
Saturday, 4 pm
The three girls left the room, as Veronica tried to move herself in the chair, grunting as she desperately tried to break free of the tape bands holding her in place.
“What the hell is going on,” Cindy and Alice said as they walked down the corridor with Natalie. “We keep appearing and disappearing, and now the girls who were meant to capture us are disappearing as well?”
“Perplexing, isn’t it Ms Fantomet,” Natalie said with a smile, “but I’ve been through my fair share of preposterous plots, and believe it or not I have learnt one or two things. It’s at this point that Velma would have a brainwave, or Fred would set a trap, but there’s one big difference here.”
“The whole thing, this house - it’s all a big trap, and some of us have already been caught. And do you know what the best thing to do if your friends are in danger and you know there’s a trap is?”
Cindy nodded. “Walk right into it - what are we going to do?”
Jannifer looked round, eyes wide as Chloe and Suzanne pushed her into the attic.
“Quiet, little miss snoop,” Suzanne sneered as she forced Jannifer to lie on her stomach on the floor and pulled her ankles up behind her, crossing her ankles and lashing them together with rope. As she looked to her right, she saw Andrea as well, growling through her gag as she tried desperately to get free.
As her ankles were attached to the ropes around her bare arms, she looked to the other side, then back to Heidi.
Chloe smiled as she looked down on the three trussed captives. “Your friends will be here soon,” she said quietly, “so enjoy yourself for a while.” As she walked to the door, Suzanne walked to the far side of the room, where the other woman was standing.
“Veronica has probably been compromised - we should assume that they will be here soon.”
“Good, good - let us hope it is not too long.”
As Chloe walked down the corridor, she saw the bedroom door standing slightly ajar. She opened it gently and looked in, smiling as she saw Joanne and Alexa together.
“Avoir du plaisir, mes amis,” she said quietly as she closed the door to, only to stop in her tracks as she saw Alice and Natalie standing in front of her, their faces grim and their arms folded.
“Why, Miss Gadget, Miss Blake - I had hoped I would see you both before the day was over. It will save me so much time trying to find you. But tell me, where is your friend, the charming Fantomet? I did so enjoy meeting her earlier today.”
“I cannot say I shared the sentiment, Miss Kant,” she heard a voice say behind her, before she felt fingers tickling the back of her knees. She allowed herself to crumple to the floor, laughing as Natalie unfolded her hands and showed Chloe the roll of duct tape she had been hiding underneath.
“Can you guess what this is for,” she said as Cindy held the laughing girl from behind, tickling her ribs as she did so. “Yes - yes I can,” Chloe said between laughs, as Natalie pulled the end of the tape free. Alice also allowed herself a smile as she held a clean cloth in her hand.
“Open wide, my dear friend,” she said as Chloe felt her hands been pulled behind her back, and something sticking to her bare wrist.
Heidi looked at the two women at the far side of the room, deep in conversation, and motioned with her head to Jannifer. She nodded as she moved herself closer, and the two turned so that they were lying back to back, their fingers probing to see if they could loosen the knots for each other.
Andrea had finally managed to loosen the blindfold that had been tied over her eyes, and was looking round the room as well. Satisfied nobody was watching, she started to try and move her arms from side to side, seeking a little manoeuvring room so that she could get to a small purse attached to her belt...
“Let’s go,” Natalie said as she forced Chloe to stand up and walked her in front of the trio, heading for the steps that led to the attic. As Alice opened the door, the group walked up, stopping at a closed wooden door.
Natalie turned the handle and pushed the door open, revealing the three trussed and bound captives to them all. They looked up as Chloe was pushed in, followed by Natalie, Alice and Cindy.
“Ah,” the woman said as she put her glass down, “I see you have found our little spy. Tell me, where is my other associate?”
“Safe and secure,” Natalie said as she stepped forward. “After all, that is what you wanted, isn’t it Lady DuBonet?”
Dorothy smiled as she slowly clapped her hands together. “Well done, Miss Blake, very well done indeed. Tell me, how did you figure it out?”
“You should change your perfume - I recognised it when I was first grabbed, and I knew I had smelt it somewhere before, but it took me a while to realise where. It was when you briefed us earlier. I realised then that the video, the so-called controller - all of that was a red herring, but why?”
“Oh, I’ll be more than delighted to tell you,” Dorothy said as she looked at the trio, “just as soon as my other associate here has bound and gagged you.”
“Hands behind your backs, girls,” Suzanne said as she stepped forward, “and don’t move a muscle, or your friends and the police officer here get it.”
Alice, Cindy and Natalie looked at each other, and moved their hands behind their backs as Suzanne used a zip tie to secure the wrists of each of them, and then slapped a length of white micropore tape over their mouths. As she did this, Chloe looked pleadingly at Dorothy.
“Oh no, Miss Kant - I am afraid you must remain bound as well,” Dorothy replied with a sweet smile. “After all, our plans were to make sure you all were held captive. Now you are here, we can proceed with the final phase.
“You see,” she continued as the girls were forced to their knees, “I have spent considerable time and resources building a criminal empire, but I knew the main threats would come from two groups - you little girl sleuths, and the main villainesses in the area. So I devised this little scheme - fake my own kidnapping, invite the five pests to come and investigate, and also hire four of you ‘bad guys’ to capture them. What none of you knew was my intention was to take you all and make sure none of you would ever get in my way. With that accomplished, I would be free to carry out my schemes, and you - all of you - would be on your way to a new life.
“Mind you, I had not counted on a fly in the ointment, isn’t that right Officer Strong?” Dorothy walked over to where Amy was securely bound and gagged in the chair. “I nearly failed to spot you, but when you sent the girls off we had to make sure you were kept out of the way as well.”
She reached down and pulled the scarf out of Amy’s mouth, as Anne walked back into the room and looked at all that was happening. “Silly of you to try and call your contact after that - my friend her had to bring you up and make sure you were kept out of the way, didn’t you Miss Duncombe?”
“Nice monologue, lady - now shut up and get on your knees.”
Dorothy tuned to see both Suzanne and Anne on their knees, white tape over their mouths and their hands pulled behind their back, as Heidi and Jannifer stood with their hands on their captive’s shoulders.
“How... How did you...”
“You were so busy gloating you didn’t keep an eye on us,” Heidi said very quietly, “and we have plenty of practice of getting out of knots, isn’t that right Kim?”
“That’s right Nancy - and we had a little help as well.”
Dorothy felt a gloved hand on her shoulder, as Andrea purred “I do not like been tricked, my dear- and I have the most purrfect plan for how to punish you for this. As for you, Miss Kant, I think I must introduce you to my good friends,” she said as she waved her gloved fingers in front of her, Chloe’s eyes widening as she looked on.
Heidi walked over and removed the ropes holding her mother in place, as Amy said “Well done girls - we’ve been after this woman for months.”
“Is she even a real lady?”
Dorothy actually snorted as Andrea bound her hands behind her back. “Of course I am - my breeding is impecbbmgmmgfmdfm.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Andrea said as she stuffed a cloth in Dorothy’s mouth and picked up the tape roll. “Just remember I helped you out when the police arrive.”
“Do you know,” Heidi said as she looked round, “I don’t think you were even in the room.” Andrea smiled as she pushed Dorothy forward, having secured her hands behind her back with rope as well. “Why don’t we take these three downstairs and make sure they’re all comfortable with their friends,” she said as Suzanne and Anne were helped up, “we can get all the answers we need from them down there.”
“Hang on,” Jannifer said as she looked round, “where are Joanne and Alexa?”
“I’ll take care of them later,” Andrea said as they headed for the door, “I don’t think they would appreciate been disturbed right now.”
Saturday, 6 pm
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY, CINDY!!!”
The room cheered as Cindy cut into her birthday cake, then clapped as Dorothy handed them all a drink - cola for the younger girls, and champagne for the adults.
“So how does it feel to be as old as me again,” Heidi said as she put her arm round Cindy’s shoulder.
“No different to when I was younger,” Cindy said as she saw Natalie sitting with Veronica. “So, Nats is your cousin?”
“Yup - came as a bit of a shock to me as well. Until today, the only other person outside of the family who knew was Chloe - and she kept it a secret at our request.”
Cindy took a sip from her glass as she looked round the room. “So, any more secrets you need to tell me about?”
“Not that I know of - you?”
Cindy looked at where Joanne and Alexa were sitting, talking in low whispers. “No - not for the moment,” she said as she turned back. “So, what are we going to do about this assignment?”
“Oh the play? Well, Aunt Veronica has been taking notes all day, and tomorrow she’ll help me write them up. If we get together before school starts on Monday, then we can do this....”
Monday, 10 am
Miss Markham stood up as Heidi, Natalie, Alice and Chloe finished reading their play.
“Most impressive girls - good use of dramatic language and some good plot twists in there. I had not thought of the Nancy Drew novels as classic literature, but I will forgive you that this once. You may sit down.”
The rest of the lesson passed quickly, but as the bell went and the girls filed out of the class Heidi felt a vibration in her pocket.
“Text message,” Cindy said as she looked at Heidi.
“Hmmm - just a minute,” Heidi said as she looked at the screen, her eyes narrowing and widening as she did so. Eventually, she put her phone back in her pocket and motioned Cindy to one side.
“You know I have this pen friend in England - Alicia?”
Cindy nodded. “What about her?”
“Well, Mum has just had a letter from her mother, inviting me to visit for a few weeks during the summer.”
Cindy dropped her books and put her hands to her mouth. “You’re going to England? Wish I could come too. If nothing else, you know what this means?”
“In my case, getting a passport and some new clothes. What did you have in mind?”