Jay and the Family Night

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One week before

 

As Yvonne Williamson put the tray down on the low table, Mark looked over at the tall Australian who was sat in the seat.

 

“So, Brian,” he said quietly, “why do I get the feeling you need us to do you some sort of favour again?”

 

“You know me too well?”

 

Mark laughed and shook his head before he said “well, fair enough – but do you?”

 

“Tell me,” Brian Holderness-Carter said as he accepted the cup, “what do you know of HS Holdings?”

 

Yvonne saw Mark raise an eyebrow as eh said “Big firm, international traders, but family run – I have considered them in the past, but it would need careful planning.”

 

“Why,” Yvonne asked quietly.

 

“From what I know of their systems, you need three people to authorize any transfers – Stefan Hammarstrom, Robert Holmes and Daniel Coombes.”

 

“The Chief executive, Company Legal Officer and Financial Director,” Brian said as she put his cup down.  “Well, we need to trace some transactions they are processing – it’s a low level executive using the system, but we need the trails to cut off things completely.”

 

“But we usually manage one house,” Yvonne said quietly, “this would mean taking three – even if you and Sarah could help, the logistics of such an operation…”

 

“I agree,” Brian said, “but we have an in – in a week’s time, the three of them are meeting at the Hammarstrom home for a business meeting.  Stefan’s wife Astrid has invited the families of all three of them to visit for the day and stay the night – so while there are a lot of people…”

 

“We can take a larger crew -so let me see if I remember,” Mark said as he closed his eyes, “the Hammarstroms have a daughter and two children – a boy and a girl.”

 

Brian nodded and said “Both Holmes and Coombes are also married – two daughters each.”  He handed over a stick and said “the relevant details are on there – so, can you help?”

 

Mark and Yvonne looked ta each other, before he said “what do you think?”

 

 

1 pm

 

“May I say you look particularly handsome today, Father,” Eva Wickens said as she looked at Stefan Hammarstrom.  The grey haired man was wearing a black two piece suit, a blue tie knotted under the collar of his white shirt, and highly polished black shoes.

 

“Of course he does,” Astrid Hammarstrom said as she walked into the hallway.  Eva’s mother was wearing a grey jumper, dark pants and black heels, “and why are you in business dress?”

 

“I had a meeting before coming here,” Eva said with a smile.  The blonde was wearing a grey jacket over a blue blouse and black knee length skirt, dark hose and high heels.

 

“Well, Kurt and Ilsa are watching a film in the den,” Astrid said, “so we can go and have a coffee while you prepare for this meeting.”

 

“Sounds good,” Stefan said as all three heard the knock on the door.  “Now who could that be – the others are not due for another hour.”

 

“Let me go and see,” Astrid said as she walked to the door, opening at as she said “yes, how can I…”

 

“Good afternoon – please, allow us to come in.”

 

Th soft Geordie accent made both Stefan and Eva look over as Astrid stepped back, raising her hands as six men came in.  all of them were wearing blue boiler suits, and black balaclava masks – four of them carrying large canvas bags, the other two sawn off shotguns which they pointed at the three people standing there.

 

They were followed in by two more people – a man and a woman – similarly dressed and masked as Stefan said “what is this?  Who are you?”

 

“My name is Jay Edwards – perhaps you have heard of me?”

 

“Jay…  Jay Edwards?  Oh no,” Eva said as she looked at her parents.  “Then you are…”

 

“Mrs McPhee,” the woman said in a broad Scottish accent, “dinnae panic – ahl will be well.”

 

Astrid held Stefan’s arm as he said “I have heard of you, and I know what your visit means.  I have your word, we do as you say, nobody gets hurt?”

 

“You have my word sir,” Jay said with a smile as he nodded to two of the men holding bags.  They put them down and drew lengths of rope from the inside as he said “So we start by making sure you cannot warn your guests what is happening.  Mrs McPhee – will you take one of our friends and look in the den to make sure the grandchildren are comfortable please?”

 

“Of course,” the masked woman said as she nodded to another of the men, the two of them walking down the corridor.

 

“They know where they are going, don’t they,” Eva said, Jay nodding as they each felt the rope securing their wrists together behind their backs.  “So, let us step into the front room, and we can discuss what is going to happen today…”

 

 

 

Mrs McPhee listened at a door, and then nodded as she opened it, the two masked invaders walking in to see a boy and girl playing a game on the PlayStation, looking at the large screen on the wall.  Kurt Wickens was 12 years old, and was wearing a black sweatshirt, dark jeans and black trainers.  His ten year old sister had long brown hair with two little bows in it, and was wearing a red dress, dark tights and black ballet slippers.  Hey both stared at the new arrivals, as Mrs McPhee said “Wuhl hallo thair – now, are ye going tae stay nice and quiet fer me?”

 

“Who are you,” Kurt said quietly. 

 

“Yeh cahn call me Mrs McPhee – my friends are talking tae yer ma and grandparents,” Mrs McPhee said as the man closed the door, and put the bag down, “we need yer granddaddy tae dae somefihn fer us.  Noo, that means yer going tae hae a very different day – but dinnae be afrid.”

 

“But you’re wearing a mask,” Ilsa whispered.

 

“Ah ahm,” Mrs McPhee said, “but dinnae let tha scare ye.  Noo, ye can play er game – but ah need tae do sumfihn tae bof o ye first.  Ready?”

 

“Where have you taken my husband,” Astrid said as the ropes forced her arms against her sides.

 

“And my children,” Eva said as she watched the masked man binding her ankles tightly together.

 

“Mister Hammarstrom is going to his office – when his colleagues arrive, they can have their meeting,” Jay said with a smile.  “Mrs McPhee is staying with your children - and she will take care of the others when they arrive.  You will be host here for the other two mothers – in a way.”

 

Astrid nodded when she sat next to her daughter, and watched the man move over to bind her ankles together as well.  Both women had their hands behind their back, ropes holding their arms to their sies – and when the masked man stood up, rope holding their ankles and legs together.

 

“So how long are you keeping us like this?” Eva said as she looked at Jay.

 

“As you are now?  A while – but we are here until your father, your husband, and the others do what we say.  Don’t worry – you will get to eat round that large dining table later.  For now, however, we need you to be quiet – so please, close your mouth…”

 

2.30 pm

 

“why on earth do we both have to wear business dress,” Irena Holmes said as she looked over at her husband.  Robert smiled and said “The boss and his wife said so, that’s why – just be glad the girls don’t have to wear party dresses.”

 

“Oh yeah – true,” Irena said with a smile.  She was wearing a charcoal grey trouser suit with a white top, and high heels, while her husband was wearing a dark suit, white shirt and red tie.

 

“Are we there yet,” Fiona Holmes said from the rear seat.  The twelve year old was wearing a yellow top over blue jeans and trainers, while her thirteen year old sister Gail was wearing a yellow top over her jeans.  All four had brown hair, Irena’s falling over the shoulders of her jacket.

 

“Now,” Robert said as he turned into the driveway, noting the grey transit van parked at the front of the house.

 

“Maybe Astrid is getting some work done,” Irena said as all four of them got out of the car, “but Erik and Ilsa are here.”

 

“Good – we can boss him about,” Fiona said as the front door of the house was opened – and they all walked in, Fiona and Gail stopping and gripping their mother’s arms at the sight that greeted them.

 

“Good afternoon,” the masked man said as the other two stood behind him, “my name is Jay Edwards – and you are the Holmes family.”

 

“Jay… Oh my god,” Irena said as she hugged her children.

 

“Mummy?”

 

“I know we look a bit scary,” Jay said in his soft accent, as Irena suddenly felt less scared, “but I promise you, do as we ask, and it can be an adventure.  This is my friend Mrs McPhee – if you girls go with her, she will take you to be with Erik and Ilsa, and explain what is going to happen.”

 

The two girls looked at the masked woman who appeared, as she said “Cum wi me, gahls – I winnae hurt ye.”

 

“Do we go with her, Daddy,” Gail said.

 

“Yes – go with her,” Robert said quietly as Mrs McPhee took the hands of the two girls, and led them to the den.  They could hear Jay say “if you will come with me, Mister Holmes, your wife can join the others” before they went into the room.

 

“Hthrrrhfhnhhehndghl.”

 

Both girls stared at Erik and Ilsa as they sat on the couch, the games controllers in their hands, and white tape covering their mouths.  They both had their wrists tied together in front of them, and ropes held their arms to their sides, their ankles and their legs together.

 

“Hello Erik,” Gail said as she looked at him, “so are we going to be tied and gagged as well?”

 

“Aye – but it disnae hurt, dus it?”

 

Erik and Ilsa both shook their heads as the two girls saw the man standing by the door, and Mrs McPhee took two lengths of rope out from a bag.

 

“When ah’m duhn, ye can play the game wi them.  Noo, hands togefer…”

 

The two girls watched as Mrs McPhee bound their wrists tightly together in front of them, making sure the binding was cinched between their arms, and then felt the rope pressing their arms against their sides.

 

“How long,” Fiona said as she looked at Ilsa.

 

“Hwhlll – ughthsshdthht” the young girl mumbled, Fiona seeing the way her lips seemed to move under the white tape and giggling a little as she did so.

 

“What’s funny?”

 

“I have no idea,” she said as she looked at Gail, before the two girls walked over and sat down on bean bags in front of the couch.  The masked woman then knelt down and made sure their ankles were secured together, as well as their legs below their knees, the rope going around and between their limbs as the masked man handed them each a games controller.

 

”Whlphhlll mhrrhokhrts,” Kurt said as Fiona felt the white tape Mrs McPhee was smoothing down over her mouth.  It felt soft, but firm, as she watched Gail being gagged in the same way.

 

“Now, ye may start…”

 

 

 

“The family will be taken care of,” Stefan said as he watched Jay securing Robert’s legs together below his knees, and then pulling his ankles back under the chair, securing them to the back of the chair as well.  Both men were secured to the chair backs, their arms round the back and their wrists secured together, ropes around their chests and the woodwork.

 

“so they want us to raid the company accounts?”

 

“I imagine so – and he knows they need all three of us.  So I am afraid Irena and the girls are in for a – different night.”

 

“Well, their bags are in the car,” Robert said as he tried to move, “and I guess they will be brought in eventually.  Is it right not to be afraid?”

 

“It should not be, should it?”  Stefan shook his head, before he said “when Daniel gets here, then we can at least have a short meeting – even if we cannot fully express ourselves…”

 

“Funny – but true,” Robert said as he looked at the clock…

 

3.15 pm

 

 

Sue Coombes looked at her phone and then out of the window.  The eleven year old was bored, and was wishing she had gone to a friend’s house instead.  She was wearing a cap sleeved lilac coloured smock top and jeans, while her younger sister Elaine was wearing a crimson red top over her jeans.

 

She looked to her parents at the front of the Jeep, both dressed for business.  Daniel was wearing a dark suit, with a blue shirt and brown tie, while her mother Nora was wearing a black trouser suit with a blue blouse and a black tie round her neck.  Both were wearing dark glasses, Nora’s blonde hair falling over the shoulders of her jacket.

 

“Yeah – I wanted to go to the cinema with Cora,” Elaine said as she looked at her sister, “and instead?”

 

“Instead, we get a sleepover here,” Sue said as she felt the car turn, her father bringing the Jeep to a stop near the other parked vehicles.

 

“Well, at least we’re here,” Nora said quietly as they all got out and walked into the house – only to see Jay and Mrs McPhee standing there.

 

“Welcome,” he said as Mr McPhee came forward.  “”Girls, you can go with Mrs McPhee.  One of my friends will take Daniel to join his colleagues.  Nora – come with me please.”

 

“Mum?”

 

“Cum wi me,” the masked woman said as she took Elaine and Sue by the hand, both girls suddenly feeling less afraid as they walked off, while Daniel was taken away by a masked man.  Nora looked over and said “who are you?  What’s going on?”

 

“I am Jay Edwards – and I want you to come and join the other mothers,” Jay said as he indicated the door to the front room.  Nora slowly walked in – and then stopped as she saw Astrid, Eva and Irena sat there.

 

All three women were looking at her, the white tape over their mouths, silencing them as they twisted in their seats.  She felt someone take her hands behind her back, and then the rope forcing her wrists together.

 

“so I am going to be like this?”

 

“Yes,” Jay said behind her as she felt the ropes tighten, and then saw the white rope going round her body and her arms were forced against her sides.  “We have business to discuss with your husbands later tonight – so I am afraid you and your families are going to have some close personal time together tonight.”

 

“Hfuuhshnthm,” Astrid said as she looked over.

 

“No – some masked woman took them off with her.”

 

“Thttsmhssmhkph…”

 

“Who?”

 

“My friend Mrs McPhee,” Jay said as he pulled the ropes tighter round her upper body,  “She is ensuring the children are secure and happy, and they will join you all later for some supper.  Two of my partners with me today are excellent cooks – and they will ensure you are well fed.  Please, sit down and get comfortable.”

 

“Phllhsdhnyhrtthm,” Irena said, her eyes wide.

 

“I assure you, they are safe and unharmed,” Jay said as another masked man knelt by Nora, and crossed her ankles before he wrapped white rope round them and secured them together.  He took the rope around and between her legs, the hems of her trousers flaring out under the tight bands, and secured the ends together before he made sure her legs were held together below her knees.

 

“So I imagine the girls have a different sleepover?”

 

“Well,” Jay said as he peeled a length of tape from the roll, “let us say some mother-daughter time is likely.  Go and fetch he bags in from both cars, and we will take it from there.”

 

“On it, Jay,” the man said as he stood up and walked from the room, Jay pressing the white tape down over Nora’s mouth. 

 

“Now, let me talk quietly to all of you, explain what will happen later…”

 

 

Daniel grunted as the last rope was tied off, Stefan and Robert nodding as the masked man placed a tape recorder next to them, and pressed the record button.

 

“Well, we seem to have some time on our hands,” Stefan said, “and this is being recorded.  Let us discuss the business we need to do…”

 

 

Sue looked up as Mrs McPhee pressed the white tape down over her mouth, and then brushed her hair away from her eyes.  She and Elaine were now bound and gagged in the same way as the other four, as the masked man put a disc into the Blu-ray player under the television set.

 

“Jus relax, ahn ye’ll be fine,” Mrs McPhee aid with a smile as the player started to work, and they all started to watch Matilda…

 

 

6 pm

 

Astrid looked over from the table as her husband, Robert and Daniel were walked into the dining room.  She, her daughter, Irena and Nora were sat on the high backed chairs, their waists secured to the chair backs with ropes, their ankles secured together and to the front leg of each chair.

 

“Are you all right,” Stefan aid as he sat next to Astrid, and then looked at Eva as well.

 

“Given everything that has happened,” Eva whispered, “I’m surprised we are not all more terrified.  It’s as if that man,” she said as she looked at Jay, “has removed all our fears.”

 

“I agree – I know the children are safe, and I have no idea why,” Irena said, Nora nodding in agreement as their husbands were secured in the chairs next to them.

 

“Cum alohn noo…”

 

They all looked to the door as Kurt jumped in, his wrists still secured in front of him and his mouth covered with white tape, the girls jumping in one by one behind them as the masked man helped them to take aa seat each, securing their waists to the chair back before they untied their wrists.

 

“Nhhh?”

 

“Aye, noo,” Mrs McPhee said as they all reached up and removed the tape over their mouths, the masked woman collecting the lengths from them.

 

“Hi Mum, Grandpa, Grandma,” Kurt said, “I have kept the girls safe today.”

 

“We kept him safe,” Elaine said with a laugh, “but seriously – we were scared at first, but we all kept calm.”

 

“So what did you do,” Irena asked.

 

“Played Mario Kart, then watched Matilda,” Fiona said in reply as plates of food were carried through.

 

“Thank you for keeping them all safe,” Astrid said, Mrs McPhee nodding as the plates were placed down.

 

“Now, I want you all to enjoy the meal,” Jay said as he stood by the table, “once you have all eaten, we’ll take everyone into the front room and the kids can play a game of Monopoly while their mothers watch.”

 

“And us,” Robert said after he swallowed a mouthful of food.

 

“Ah – I will be briefing the three of you on what we want you to do – and the consequences if you do not do as we ask.  I trust I make myself clear without further explanation?”

 

Stefan, Robert and Daniel looked at the others, and nodded to show they understood.

 

“Excellent.  Now, as I said, enjoy the food…”

 

 

8.30 pm

 

“You understand what you have to do?”

 

The masked men nodded as Jay handed one of them a memory stick, before walking the two men out to Daniel’s jeep, a third masked man waiting behind the wheel.  Stefan, Robert and Daniel were already on the back seats, their wrists bound behind their backs as one oof the men got in with them, the other sitting next to the driver.

 

“Remember, check in at regular intervals,” Jay said, the man nodding as he started the jeep and then drove off into the darkening road.  Smiling, he walked back into the house and said “All right – Mrs McPhee, if you are fine watching the children, I want the ladies to come upstairs with me and two of the men.”

 

“Aye, we’ll be fine,” the masked woman said as Fiona rolled a six, and landed on Park Lane.  “Mine,” she said as she handed the money over to Mrs McPhee, and got the title deed back.

 

“Shall we,” Astrid said, Eva nodding as she and her mother stood up.  Irena and Nora also stood and went with Jay, two masked men following ss they made their way up the stairs.

 

“Your bags have been placed in that room,” Jay said to Irena as he pointed to one door, “and yours in this other room.  I want to compliment both of you – you and your daughters are going to be the same in every way.”

 

“You didn’t,” Eva said as she looked at Irena.

 

“Oh we did.”

 

“I want you all to go into your bedrooms and get ready for bed – and leave the door open.  We already have your mobile phones, and the internet is disconnected, but if we hear any attempt to raise the alarm…”

 

“We said we would do as you asked,” Astrid said, the other three nodding as they made their way into the designated bedrooms.  A few minutes later, Eva came out, wearing a long cream coloured nightdress with frilled cuffs on the sleeves and a deep round neckline.

 

Astrid came out soon after, also wearing a long cream nightdress, but hers was with a less deep neckline.

 

“I suppose you are going to start tying us up now,” the older woman said as she saw one of the men laying ropes out.

 

“Once we have you ready,” Jay said as he looked at them, “as in making sure you cannot use your hands.  Please gold these and make fists.”  He handed them each two half sponges, watching as they gripped them in their hands and then using silver ape to cover their fists. 

 

“Now, both of you, put your hands behind your back,” he said quietly, Eva and Astrid looking at each other before they moved their arms behind them, Jay smiling as the two men took ropes and walked behind them.

 

As they felt the ropes holding their wrists together, Irena came out of the bedroom.  She was also wearing a nightgown, but hers was ivory with a ribbed bodice and pleated low skirt.  It was held up by two straps with a bow at each shoulder.

 

“I see we are first,” she said, Eva nodding as the rope was pulled between her arms and then tied off.  Each of the masked men then took a longer rope and wrapped it round their bodies, forcing their arms against their sides and framing their chests as Jay started to cover Irena’s wrists.

 

“Well, this is different,” Eva said, Astrid nodding in agreement as the ropes were pulled tighter.

 

“A little tighter than before as well,” Astrid said as the man tied the ropes off, and then walked behind Irena, taking her silver covered hands behind her back as Nora came out.

 

“Ploughing your own line?”

 

“As always,” Nora said as she stood in her one piece red sleepsuit, the neck open and the white Nordic design visible.  “But I suspect I am going to be the same as well.”

 

“Indeed,” Jay said as he held out two more half sponges, “shall we?”

 

 

 

“Wow,” Kurt said as the four older women came back in, “Gramma, you look…”

 

“Clean thoughts,” Eva said with a smile as they all sat down.  The rope bands that framed her chest had been cinched between their arms and body with shorter lengths, as they all sat down.

 

“Mrs McPhee,” Jay said with a smile, “I see Kurt and Ilsa are out, and are yawning.  Will you please take them both upstairs and ensure they are comfortable before they go to sleep?”

 

“Cum wi me,” the Scottish woman said as the two young children stood up, Kurt saying “Good luck” to the other four as they went up to his bedroom.  As they went in, they saw what was on the bed, and nodded as Mrs McPhee said “ye get changed, ahn then we tie ye bof up.”

 

The two siblings nodded as they stripped off, Kurt putting on the pyjamas while Ilsa put on the cap sleeved nightdress which came to her knees.  Both sets of nightclothes were pale blue with darker blue trim, the Frozen design clearly printed.

 

“Noo, huld these,” Mrs McPhee said as she handed each of them two half sponges, Erik making fists a Ilsa watched the masked woman covering them with the silver tape.  He then watched as Ilsa’s hands were covered in the same way, and then said “turn roond, hans behind yer backs.”

 

“How are you feeling,” Kurt said to Ilsa as Mrs McPhee started to bind his sister’s wrists together behind her back.  He then felt the gloved hands bringing his own wrists together.

 

“I don’t know – is it wrong to say I’m actually excited after seeing the other girls just like me?”

 

Kurt nodded as the rope was pulled tighter round her wrists.  “I know – you all looked so different – and Mamma and Grandma…”

 

Ilsa nodded as she felt Mrs McPhee then pass a longer rope around her body and pull it tight.  “Maybe we’re both discovering something…”

 

“Anyway – I know what you mean,” Kurt said as she saw Mr McPhee form two bands of rope, and then pass the rope under one arm, up and around the back of her sister’s neck, and under the other side.

 

She twisted round as her brother was secured in the same way, before they both sat on the edge of his large bed, watching as the masked man knelt down and bound their ankles together, and then their legs below their knees.

 

“Time tae be quiet,” Mrs McPhee then said as she held two folded cloths in her hands, “open nice ahn wide.”

 

“Well, here we go,” Kurt said as he opened his mouth, and he felt the folded cloth on his tongue as Mrs McPhee pushed it in.  A knotted strip of towelling was then pushed between his teeth and tied tightly round his head, before the white tap was wound round his head as well to keep that in place.

 

Ilsa was then gagged in the same way, before they were helped to lie facing each other on the bed, their ankles pulled back and tied loosely to the ropes round their upper body.

 

“Guid nicht.”

 

“Fhknuh,” Erik said as the light was turned off, and the door was closed, Mrs McPhee smiling as she saw Jay bring up Irena with Fiona and Gail. 

 

“Kurt and Ilsa?”

 

“Ach, the bairns are tired,” Mrs McPhee said as she walked down the stairs, Jay taking Irena and the family into the bedroom she had changed in earlier.  As Irena sat on the bed, Jay put down the bag he was carrying, and then took out four half sponges as the girls changed.  They both put on nightdresses that were just like their mother – and then, just like their mother, their hands were turned into silver boxing gloves.

 

“I want you both to cross your wrists on front of yourselves,” Jay said, and as the girls did so the other masked man knelt down and started to bind Irena’s bare ankles together with rope.

 

She watched as her daughters were secured, more rope then wrapped round their bare arms and their upper bodies so that they could only twist round – and then shorter lengths of rope used to tighten the bands.

 

Irena felt the gloved hands stoking her legs as they were secured together below her knees, and then opened her mouth to accept the folded cloth and knotted towelling strip.  The girls looked over, their eyes wide as the white tape was wrapped round their mother’s head, covering her mouth before she was helped to lei on her back, and the man used more rope to secure her bound ankles to the foot of the bed.

 

“I am going to make sure you stay quiet first,” Jay said, “and then you can lie either side of your mother…”

 

 

 

“The family?”

 

“Settled for the night,” Jay said as he came back into the room, looking at Astrid as she twisted round.  He smiled as he saw Sue and Elaine with their heads against Nora’s arms, and said “Mrs McPhee – take them upstairs please.”

 

“Cum ohn,” the Scots woman said as they took her hands and walked up the stairs with her, one of the other men helping Nors to stand and then walk out after them.  As they did, Jay took a phone from his pocket and answered it.

 

“This is Jay Edwards.

 

“Excellent – and no problems?

 

“Good – you know what to do now.

 

“Call when you are clear – and thank you.”

 

As he put the phone away,  he saw that Fiona and Gail were now both wearing the same style of onesie as their mother.  Nora sat on the bed as she watched the second man start to bind her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees, before she looked over and watched Mrs McPhee making sur her daughters had their upper bodies secured in the same way as her.

 

“So we’ll all be on this bed?”

 

“Aye,” she said as she pulled the ropes tight around Fiona’s body, “the same way fer all o ye.”

 

“What you said you will do…”

 

“Wee Kurt ahn Ilsa are the same,” Mrs McPhee said as she tied the ropes off round Gail’s body, “they are fihn – so will they be.”

 

Nora nodded as the two girls came over and sat ether side of her, watching as the man and Mrs McPhee made sure their ankles, and then their legs below their knees, were firmly bound.  Nora reached down with her head and kissed them both on the head, as she said “well, ready for an adventure?”

 

“Yes we are Mum,” Gail said, Fiona nodding as one by one the folded cloths were pushed into their mouths, the towelling strip tied tightly round their head, and the white tape wrapped tightly round them.

 

They were then helped to lie on their backs and rolled over, the girls giggling as their legs were bent back and their ankles tied to their chest ropes.  Mrs McPhee smiled as they started to struggle, and turned the light off as they left the room.

 

“Stay oop here, check them ahl every fifhteen mihnets,” she said, the masked man nodding as he went into Kurt’s bedroom.  Mrs McPhee walked down the stairs, and said as she came into the front room “ahl richt?”

 

“All good,” Jay said as he pulled the rope tighter around Eva’s legs, the skirt of her nightdress gathering under the tight band.  Both women were now gagged as well, white bands round their heads as they twisted their legs round.  “The children and the other mothers?”

“Sleeping, the puur wee yins,” Mrs McPhee said.

 

“Whllthbhhlrht?”

 

“Oh yes,” Jay aid as se he stood up and nodded, the other two masked men lifting Astrid and Eva in their arms and carrying them up the stairs, and then into Astrid and Stefan’s bedroom.  The tow women were laid on their sides, facing each other as their bound ankles were pulled back and secured to their chest ropes.

 

“Thank you for your cooperation, ladies,” Jay said as Eva and Astrid twisted on the bed.  He walked out with the others, turning the light off before they closed the door.

 

“Chuuhmhfff?”

 

“Nhh – mhffhrrhwhtddhwhthllthm?”

 

“thhwhdhdwhtthhskhdhshthdhhffe…

 

“Hfeee…”

 

Astrid saw her daughter’s eyes had closed, as she felt her own slowly doing the same…

 

 

 

 

 

7 am

 

As Irena opened her eyes, she saw that both Fiona and Gail were awake, sitting up as they twisted round.

 

“Ghhdmdhrnhhnn.”

 

They both turned and looked at their mother as they said “Ghhddmhrhnhhnmhm.  Chnnushhthp?”

 

Irena nodded as she managed to sit as well.

 

“Hnnlhkghthtnfhrrhh?”

 

The two girls shook their heads as they heard the front door open, the footsteps running up the stairs, and then the door thrown open as Robert stood there.

 

“Oh my god – are you all right?”

 

The girls nodded as the ropes rubbed on their bare arms, two policemen coming in as Irena heard Eva say “oh thank god – where are my children…”

 

 

 

 

11 am

 

“So, a successful night,” Brian said as he took the cup of coffee from Yvonne.

 

“Well, the bank account cannot complain – and the reports I saw on the news seme to confirm everyone was all right,” Mark said as he sat back.  “From your side?”

 

“We can begin to gather the evidence now, so thank you for that.”

 

“We do our best,” Yvonne said with a smile, “we do our best…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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