Jay on the Farm
“And that,” Yvonne Williamson said as she put her bag on the kitchen table, “is the end of term for the Whitsun holidays!”
“And there was much rejoicing,” Mark said as he came through from his office. “A whole week off?”
“Oh yes – and I need that time off,” Yvonne said as she slipped her jacket off, and put it on the back of the chair. “With Charlie away on that school trip, and Lisa staying over at Wissenden for the week, we get a week just to ourselves.”
“Well now,” Mark said with a smile as he put his arms round his wife’s neck, and how do you propose we spend the week?”
“Oh I’m sure you can think of a way, you naughty…”
The sound of the telephone ringing made Mark shake his head, as he said “hold that thought” and kissed Yvonne gently on the lips. Walking into the hallway, he watched Yvonne pick the kettle up as he answered the phone.
“Mark Williamson speaking.”
He looked at the kitchen as he said “yeah, we have some time free from the kids. Why?
“Okay – I understand. We’ll see you tomorrow – the kids are away by then. Safe flight.”
“What’s up,” Yvonne said as she stood in the kitchen door.
“Brian – he’s flying over tonight,” Mark said as he looked at her. “I have this horrible feeling we are not going to have a quiet weekend after all.”
“Hey – sorry to drop in like this.”
Yvonne looked at the tall, broad shouldered Australians sitting at her kitchen table, and said “We’re getting used to it by now – but why this week?”
“Let’s just say I’m glad the kids are away,” Brian Holderness-Carter said with a smile. “First things first – do you think you can get a couple of willing volunteers together for a three day trip away?”
“Where to,” Mark said as he sat at the other side of the table.
“The Lake District,” Brian said quietly as he put his coffee mug down, “and we’d need to be ready to move out tomorrow.”
“Who will we be visiting,” Yvonne asked quietly. They watched as Brian typed on his tablet, and then let them see a photo with four people in it.
“This is Derek Fowlds,” Brian said as they looked at the middle aged man, with short brown hair and wearing a smart suit. “He’s the regional director for one of the major banks – although he works in Carlisle, he lives with his family at a farmhouse near Lake Windermere.”
“So who do we have in the photograph?”
Brian pointed to the younger of the two women, and said “this is his wife Xandra. In her early thirties.” Yvonne looked at the brown haired woman, who was wearing a black silk gown, stilettos and dark hose. “The young girl standing in front of her is the youngest of her three daughters, Chloe. She’s seven years old.”
“Okay,” Yvonne said as she looked at the young girl, wearing a black dress, her light brown hair was pulled back into a ponytail. “The older woman?”
“Derek’s mother, Fiona – she lives with them, helps to look after the family while he’s at work during the week.” Mark looked at the woman, her short blonde hair tinged with grey, in her black gown, and nodded. “You said Chloe is the younger daughter?”
“Indeed – her older twin sisters did not attend this function, but here they are – Jane and Elaine, both eleven.”
Mark and Yvonne looked at the picture, and then said “okay – why there?”
“There are dual objectives from my perspective – first, we want to slip something into their systems while you make a withdrawal.”
“That bit’s classified – but suffice to say, we need control of their home in two days’ time. So, the question is, can Jay and Mrs McPhee help out?”
“What can you tell me about him and his business,” Mark said as he smiled.
It may have been the last week in May, but for Xandra Fowlds it was a typical Lake District day – grey with the cloud starting to break.
“All right you two – are you ready yet,” she called up the stairs, and then stood back as Jane and Elaine ran down. The two girls had bows tied in their hair, and both were wearing peach coloured Jersey dresses. Jane’s had long sleeves, and a V-necked opening at the neck, while she was also wearing dark tights and knee length chocolate brown leather boots with a strap at the top.
Elaine’s dress had short sleeves and a round neckline, and she was wearing white tights under her matching boots, as the two girls grabbed their bags and ran out to the car.
Fiona Fowlds watched from the doorway of the office at the front of the house as Xandra put on her leather jacket. She was wearing a black jersey dress, and stack heeled black sandals.
“I should be back from the photographer with Chloe by twelve,” she said as her younger daughter ran down the stairs, wearing a black short sleeved dress with white polka dots, grey ankle socks and black Mary Jane shoes. Xandra helped her to put on a long black duffle coat, as Fiona said “don’t worry – I’ll get some lunch ready for you when you get back, and then we get the things ready for later.”
“Thanks,” Xandra said as she and Chloe went out to the car, Fiona waving them off before she made her way to the kitchen. The older woman was wearing a grey and brown print top with a grey undershirt, a knee length dark grey skirt and mid-calf black leather boots.
She put on the coffee machine and smiled as she looked out over the hills and mountains behind the farmhouse. Her son was due home later that night for a short break, and she knew the girls were looking forward to seeing him.
The sound of the coffee machine meant she did not hear the grey transit van pull up outside the farmhouse, or the people getting out. It was only when she heard the knock on the door that she looked round, and then walked to the front door, wondering what was been delivered.
“How can I help you,” she said as she opened the door, only to back up as the four men and one woman walked in. All five were wearing blue boiler suits, black trainers, black leather gloves, and black balaclavas covering their heads so that only their eyes and mouths were visible.
“Good morning, Mrs Fowlds,” one of them said in a Geordie accent, “My name is Jay Edwards, and these are my associates. Please, remain calm – we’re going to be spending some time here today…”
Fiona stared at the quintet, and at the pistol in the hand of the man who called himself Jay. “What… What are you doing here?”
“Well, if we can take a seat somewhere where you will be comfortable,” Jay said in his soft Geordie accent, “I will explain everything. If you would lead the way?”
As the older woman slowly nodded, Jay looked at the tallest of the masked men and said “would you please ensure there is nobody else currently resident?” As he moved off, the woman took Fiona’s arm and said in a broad Scottish accent “cum wif me, and we’ll hae a wee sitdoon.”
They walked into the front room, the other two men walking to the windows and drawing the curtains as she helped Fiona to take a seat. “As I said,” Jay said as he sat and looked at her, “my name is Jay Edwards, and my colleagues and I wish to conduct some business with your son when he returns. In order to make sure that passes without incidence, I am afraid you and the rest of the family will have to act as insurance that he does nothing to raise the alarm, but I promise you, nobody will come to any lasting harm.
“So long as you all do as we say. Mrs McPhee,” Jay continued as Fiona looked at the masked woman, “will help ensure the children in particular are kept calm, but all of you have a part to play. It also means that we will be staying for the night, and that you will at some points be kept secured and silenced to some degree.”
“Well, in your case,” Jay said with a smile as one of the men opened a large duffle bag, and took a length of rope out, “right now…”
“I enjoyed that Mummy,” Chloe said as Xandra drove them both back to the farmhouse, “do you think Daddy will like the picture?”
“I’m sure he will,” Xandra said with a smile.
“When are Jane and Elaine going to get home?”
“Later this afternoon – you don’t mind their friends coming to tea, do you?”
“No Mummy – we can all play a game together later,” Chloe smiled as she looked out of the window. The sky was definitely clearing, and as they turned into the driveway, Chloe said “what do you think Granny will have made for us to eat?”
“Sandwiches – you like cheese sandwiches, don’t you?”
Chloe nodded as her mother pulled up outside the house, and the two of them got out, talking to each other as they walked to the front door. Xandra noticed the curtains were draw over the windows, but thought nothing of it as she opened the front door and they walked in.
“We’re back Mum,” Xandra said as she took her coat off and put it on the rack, but there was no reply. As she saw Chloe walk to the front room, she called out “Mum?”
“What is it dear,” Chloe said as she walked to the door – and saw Fiona sitting in the armchair. Her wrists and ankles were secured with ropes, and a length of rope held her wrists to a final length of rope that was tied around her legs below her knees. A length of white tape was pressed firmly over her mouth, as she looked at her daughter and granddaughter through her glasses, and said “msreeeee.”
“Good afternoon Xandra – and this must be Chloe.”
They both turned to see a man standing there, wearing a blue boiler suit, gloves and a balaclava over his head, smiling as he said “don’t be afraid – Fiona is fine, and so long as everyone does what we say, and remains calm, you’re going to have a very interesting day.”
“Who are you,” Chloe said as she looked at him.
“My name is Jay Edwards – these are my friends, and this lady is my very special friend Mrs McPhee.”
“Hey there,” the masked woman said as she squatted and looked at Chloe, “I know we look a wee bit scary, but dinnae worry – I’m gonna make sure you dinnae get hurt. Now, are ye hungry?”
Chloe nodded as she said “well, while mae friend Jay takes yer mammy to make some sandwiches, you come wi me, and ah’ll show ye what ah did tae yer gran.”
“She’ll be safe with Mrs McPhee,” Jay said as he stood to one side, “so why don’t you come with me, and while you prepare some lunch for all three of you, I’ll explain what is going to happen today…”
“You want my husband to steal from his own firm for you?”
“Well, yes,” Jay said with a smile as he watched Xandra making some cheese sandwiches. A tray was already laid out, with three glasses of milk on it. “And we will stay with you and your family. I’m sure he will understand the importance of doing as I say when the time comes.”
“I’ve heard of you – seen the reports in the papers,” Xandra said quietly as she put a plate on the tray, “do you promise we won’t be hurt?”
“So long as you do as we say, the worst that will happen is you cannot move or speak for a while, and the kids get to impress their friends with the story. Now, is everything ready?”
Xandra nodded as she picked up the tray, and Jay stood to open the kitchen door. He smiled as she carried the tray into the front room, placing it on the coffee table as Chloe said “look at what Mrs McPhee did Mummy!”
“I see she made you a bit like granny,” Xandra said as her younger daughter held up her arms, secured together palm to palm around her wrists, and also swung her legs to and fro. She could see the white band on top of her grey socks, and also the band around her legs below her knees.
“She’s nice,” Chloe said as Fiona nodded, Jay smiling as he said “why don’t you sit next to Chloe, and let Mrs McPhee do the same to you while I allow Fiona to have some lunch as well.”
Xandra nodded as she sat down and held her hands out, watching as the masked woman tied her wrists firmly together with a length of cord. She then knelt down, wrapping w further length around her ankles and securing them tightly, as well as her legs below her knees.
“It really doesn’t hurt, does it Mummy,” Chloe said as Mrs McPhee stood up.
“No it doesn’t – does it mum,” Xandra said quietly as she watched Jay release her mother’s wrists from her legs, and then gently remove the length of white tape from over her mouth.
“No it doesn’t,” Fiona said after a minute, “and I’m sorry I didn’t get the chance to make the sandwiches before, but we can all have them now – can’t we Mister Edwards?”
“That’s right, you can,” Jay said as Mrs McPhee took a plate and placed it on each of their laps, the three captives picking a sandwich up in their hands and starting to eat it.
“Will Jane and Elaine be like this as well when they get back,” Chloe asked after a few minutes.
“Yes they will be – it’s all sae that your daddy gets a big surprise on whits happenin,” Mrs McPhee said.
“And Soo and Lou?”
“Soo and Lou?”
“Their friends – Mummy said they could come and play for a while after they had been to the show.”
Jay and Mrs McPhee looked at the three masked men, and then at Xandra as she said “they’re friends of the twins – twin sisters as well. Oh god – will they…”
“We will cross that bridge when we come to it,” Jay said quietly, “will they be coming straight here from where they are?”
Xandra nodded as Mrs McPhee looked at Chloe. “Awl five o ye will be playing oor games,” she said with a smile, “as soon as they git here. Wuld ye like a drink o milk?”
Chloe nodded as she put her sandwich down, and took the glass in her hands, carefully putting it to her lips as she took a sip. Jay handed the other glasses to Xandra and Fiona, as he said “now, when you’ve finished eating, I need to make sure the rest of the family get a big surprise, so all three of you will be like Fiona was when you arrived. Don’t worry – once they’re here, and they know what’s going to happen, you’ll all get a chance to move around, but for now, finish your lunch.”
“So we’ll all have the funny white tape on our mouths?”
“That’s right Chloe,” Fiona said quietly, “we all will…”
“Thanks Mum – we’ll call you later!”
The young Chinese girl waved as the SUV drove away, and then looked at Jane and Elaine. “So, what are we going to do now?”
“Go in, get some drinks from Gran and some snacks, then go to our room,” Elaine said with a smile as she looked at her friends. Soo was wearing a short sleeved dress, with a pink and grey tiger print top and a long pink skirt with an extra tier at the hem, and short black leather boots. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail, unlike Lou who had her dark hair loose.
Her twin sister was wearing a white silk top, fastened over one shoulder, and with large black polka dots on the material, and black leggings with white dots. The legs were tucked into short black felt boots.
“so what do you want to do,” Jane said as she opened the front door, and the four girls came in.
“We could watch a movie,” Lou said as she closed the door, and they put their bags on the floor. “What do you think?”
“Let’s go and see what Mum says,” Elaine said as she walked into the front room – and stared at her sister, mother and grandmother as they sat on the chairs.
“Cum in lassies,” the woman they saw standing behind the couch said, “cum awa in – dinnae be scared.”
“Dssshsss,” Xandra mumbled, the two sets of twins watching as her lips moved under the white tape that covered them. Chloe nodded as the girls came in – and then they saw the two men inside the room, holding guns, only their lips and eyes visible.
“Noo then,” the woman said, “mah name is Mrs McPhee, and my friends and I are here tae hae a wee chat wi yer father. As ye can see, the rest of yer family are been kept quiet and cannae move, sae that we can surprise him – and ye need tae be the same.”
“Oh my god,” Soo said quietly, “I’ve heard of you – some friends of mine were held hostage by you as well.”
“Oh were they? Ahn did they say they were scared?”
“No – I mean, they were at first, but they said it was fun.”
“Guid,” Mrs McPhee said as she walked round, “so can ye all hold yer hands oot?”
“Why,” Jane asked quietly.
“Hawd these,” Mrs McPhee said as she handed them each a piece of cord. The four girls looked at each other as Chloe giggled, and Mrs McPhee said “Dae they scare ye?”
“No,” Soo said quietly.
“Guid – now haw dyer arms oot. Ah’m gonna tie yer wrists togefer wi these cords – so that ye cannot muv them.”
The girls all nodded, watching as one by one she took the rope from their hands, doubled it over and tied their wrists snugly together. As he secured Lou’s wrists, two men came back in.
“Ah – I see the rest of the girls have arrived,” one of them said in a Geordie accent. “I’m Jay Edwards – don’t be afraid girls. We need to keep you this way for a while, but when your father gets here, you’ll all eat together and then spend the night together. On which note – Mrs McPhee, would you look in the bags of these two young ladies,” he continued as he looked at Soo and Lou, “and find their mobile phone?”
“Why,” Soo asked.
“Well, you and your sister will be having a sleepover here,” Jay said with a smile, “and at the appropriate moment, we will need you to call your mother and get her permission. But that is for later.”
As he spoke, Elaine looked at Chloe. Her wrists were tied together, and to a band of rope that held her legs together below her knees, and she had a band of rope holding her ankles together as well.
“Noo then,” Mrs McPhee said as she went to a bag, and drew out more lengths of rope, “ah’m gonna tie yer ankles together, and yer legs below yer knees, like young Chloe there. Then we’re all gonna go and watch a film togefer – yer choice.”
“Will our mouths be covered as well?”
“Aye – but ye can sign and danse alogn if ye wanna – noo stay still fer a few minutes.”
“Urbnnfrrbrf,” Fiona said as she wriggled round, watching the four girls as one by one they had their ankles secured together, and then their legs tied together below their knees, while Jay walked over and released Chloe’s wrists from her legs, before helping her to stand up.
“So – to the television room,” Mrs McPhee said as Chloe jumped over, the other four girls looking at each other before they jumped after her, the sound of leather squeaking on leather making both of the older women look at each other as they went alogn the corridor.
“Now then,” Jay said as they went into the large room, “we need to tie your wrists to your waists with more rope, and then keep you young ladies quiet, before we start the film.” He took more ropes, and tied it round the waists of all five girls, making sure their crossed and bound wrists were secured to their bodies.
“Noo, close yer moofs,” Mrs McPhee said, taking a roll of white tape and tearing long strips off before pressing them firmly over the lips of the older girls. “Sseetsnss,” Chloe said, the other four looking at each other and nodding as Mrs McPhee turned on the television.
“Ah hope ye like thes,” she said as High School Musical started, the girls looking at each other before they all collapsed onto some large bean bag chairs and watched the film. Jay nodded at her and then left, closing the door as he saw the tallest of his masked associates waiting there.
“Let’s go upstairs,” he said quietly as they went up the staircase, the other two men sitting and watching both Xandra and Fiona.
“So far so good,” Mark said as they went into one of the bedrooms, and he closed the door, “everything good from your end?”
“Yeah,” Brian said with a smile, “we have the house under control. When it gets dark, I’ll have to slip out for a little while, but I’ll be back for when the family need to be taken care of.”
“What else do you have to do here?”
Brian glanced out of the window and said “without letting yourself be seen, do you see the farmhouse over there?” Mark glanced over and nodded, as Brian said “someone very special is staying there at the moment, and they need to be kept safe from an identified risk. Beyond that, do you want to know any more?”
“Probably not,” Mark said quietly, “so, I need to go down and talk to the women of the house. You?”
“I need to make some preparations – when is he due home?”
“According to your research, about seven.”
“Good – we have time then.” Brian nodded as they walked back down the stairs, and Jay walked into the front room.
“Allow them to speak,” he said, the other two men nodding as they peeled the white tape away from the mouths of both women.
“Watching a film – and by the sound of things, trying to sing along as well,” Jay said quietly. “Now, in a short while I’m going to untie your legs, and we will take you both into the kitchen so that you can start to prepare the evening meal for everyone.”
“I need to visit a place first,” Fiona said quietly.
“Of course – but your wrists remain tied,” Jay said quietly, “and you use the facilities downstairs. The girls will be happy watching the film for a while.”
“and when that stops,” Xandra said as she glared at him.
“Be assured, Mrs McPhee will keep them amused. Shall we?”
“We have a choice,” Xandra said as the two men released their legs, and they stood slowly up, walking to the doorway as one of them led Fiona to the downstairs toilet. Jay and the other man walked Xandra to the kitchen, releasing her wrists as Jay said “please, carry on – we will be watching.”
Mrs McPhee looked at the doorway as the tall masked man opened the door, and nodded.
“Awlreet,” she said with a smile, “time fer yer tea. All o ye, line up, and ye can jump in togeffeer.”
The girls all giggled as they were helped to stand up, and then nodded to each other as they started to jump to the door, their legs rubbing against each other as they went into the hallway, and into the dining room.
“There you are,” Fiona said as she saw Chloe leading the way in, “are you all right?”
“Ysgrrnneee,” Chloe said as she jumped to one of the chairs, waiting as the masked man lifted her onto the chair and tied rope around her waist to keep her in place. He then took each of the older girls in turn, making sure they were sitting in a chair and their waist secured to the chair back, before he and Mrs McPhee went round and released the wrists of the girls, and removed the tape from their mouths.
“Wow,” Soo said as soon as she could, “my friend was right, that was very different.”
“But you’re all okay, not afraid?”
“No granny,” Jane said, “it’s a big adventure isn’t it?”
“that’s right – a big adventure,” the man said in his Australian voice as Jay came in, helping Xandra to carry in the plates of fish fingers, chips and peas.
“There we go,” he said as he put the plates in front of the twins, Xandra doing the same for Soo and Lou, and then the two left the room, Jay bringing a plate for Chloe as Mrs McPhee waited for Xandra to sit down, and secured her waist to her chair back. Jay then went off, and returned with two plates of vegetable sticks and dips for the two older women.
“So what are we going to do later,” Lou said as she looked at the masked people.
“Well, you are going to be at a sleepover,” Jay said, “so you do sleepover things – you just be tied up while you do it, and eventually we need to make sure you are unable to move or speak. As for you young lady,” he said as he looked at Chloe, “all the family will be together to begin with, but we need to make sure you cannot move or speak first. Don’t worry – it’s just because you may fall asleep.”
“Can I sleep with mummy,” Chloe said as she looked at Xandra.
“Of course ye can,” Mrs McPhee said, “but you get a bath and get really ready first, awl reet?”
“Okay,” Chloe said with a smile as they all started to eat – and then they heard the front door opening and closing.
“Not a word,” Jay whispered as Mrs McPhee stood behind Xandra, and they all looked to the dining room door…
“Hey – I’m back,” a male voice called out, “where is everyone?”
Jay nodded to Xandra, who said “we’re in the dining room Derek – can you come in for a minute?”
“Sure,” the voice said, and as they all looked the door opened and Derek Fowlds walked in. He took one look round the room, at the young girls tied to the chairs, and at his wife and mother, before he said “Oh sh…”
“Manners, Derek – there are young children in the room,” Jay said as he stood behind him. “I hope you don’t mind that my friends and I have dropped in to see you and spend some time with them. You’ve all been having fun today, haven’t you girls?”
“Yeah – we sang along to a film with tape over our mouths,” Chloe said as Xandra looked at her husband. “Derek… They’ve been here all day. Please, listen to what Jay says.”
“Jay… Jay Edwards?” Derek looked at the masked man and said “I have our word – if I do as you say, they will be unharmed?”
“You have our word,” Jay said with a smile, “so please, be seated, and join your family for supper. When they have eaten, and the girls go into the front room with my friend Mrs McPhee, we can discuss the plans for tonight…”
“Yes, Derek,” Jay said with a smile as he sat down, “for tonight.” He looked to the tallest of the three masked men in the room with him, who nodded as he slipped out of the back door.
“So – what’s for dinner,” he eventually said as he looked round.
As Fiona gathered up the dirty plates, Derek watched the masked woman as she walked round the table, guiding the wrists of his daughters and their friends behind their back and securing them together with rope before she pressed a wide strip of white tape over their mouths.
“Noo then,” she said in her Scottish accent, “all o ye follow me intae the front room, and we’ll all play a wee game there.” The girls all nodded as they shuffled off the chairs and started to jump back into the front room, the leather of the boots of the older girls squeaking as they did so.
“Are they going to be all right,” he said as he looked at Xandra.
“Yeah – we’re treating it as a great big adventure,” his wife said as Jay brought her mobile phone in.
“now, Xandra,” he said with a smile, “I need you to call the parents of Soo and Lou, and inform them they will be having a sleepover with your girls. Tell them not to worry, you have spare pyjamas, and that you will call them in the morning.
“And, naturally, do not make any reference to who else may be here,” he finished as he handed her the phone. She nodded as she took the phone, and dialled a number.
“Ellen? It’s Xandra. The girls have asked if they can stay for a sleepover, and I’ve agreed. I just wanted to check that was all right with you.
“No, I have spare pyjamas, and they’ve already eaten anyway. I guess they’ll just sit round and talk about boys as they always seem to do.
“Okay then – I’ll call you in the morning when they finally get up, and arrange to drop them off. Thanks again Ellen.” Ending the call, she handed the phone back to Jay, who smiled as he removed the battery.
“So – to the events of this evening,” Jay said with a smile. “Derek, in a short while one of my associates will be taking you back to your office in Carlisle, and there he is going to ask you, very nicely, to conduct some business on my behalf. A withdrawal, if you will. Do this, and I assure you that your family will all be safe and secure.”
“Emphasis on the secure?”
“Emphasis on the safe, actually,” Jay said with a smile, “but most definitely secure. But we have a little while, so who don’t you finish your meal, and we can talk after that.”
Derek looked at his wife and mother, who nodded as she said “we’ll be in the same position Derek – so don’t worry.”
“I have one request – Chloe stays with me when you are finished,” Xandra said as she looked round.
“Of course – now then, let’s talk about how this will work…”
“I need to go now,” Derek said as he looked in at the girls, “Do what they say, and I’ll see you all in the morning.”
“Lllrhttdedd,” Elaine said through the tape as they sat watching Scooby Doo, Jay coming in with Fiona and Xandra. Fiona had her wrists tied behind her back, and tape over her mouth, but Xandra smiled as she said “Chloe, it’s bath time. You are going to come with me and Mister Edwards, and we’re both going to get ready for bed at the same time.”
“There ye go,” Mrs McPhee said as she untied the youngest girl’s wrists and legs, and peeled the tape away from her mouth, “ah’ll see ye boff leter.”
“What are we going to put on mummy,” Chloe said as she took Xandra’s hand.
“You’ll see – why don’t we both wear matching pyjamas,” her mother said as they walked up, Jay following them up. As they reached the bathroom, Jay said “you stay with me Chloe, while your mum goes and fetches the pyjamas, and then you can both go into the bathroom.”
“Okay Mister Edwards,” Chloe said as Xandra went into her room, and then into the master bedroom, returning with two sets of red pyjamas with a white cup pattern. She also brought out a Raggedy Ann doll, wearing the same pyjamas.
“I think Casey needs to be the same as me and mummy for tonight,” Chloe said as she hugged the doll, “if you can do that Mister Edwards.”
“Of course we can – now, both of you go in, and I’ll keep the door open a little just so that I know what you are doing,” Jay said with a smile as they went in, nodding to one of his associates as they did so.
As they came back out, Chloe was hugging Casey, the two of them smiling as Jay said “right then – we’re going to go back downstairs, and then Mrs McPhee will bring your sisters and their friends up so that they can get ready for their sleepover.”
“Are you going to stop us from moving,” Chloe said quietly.
“Not yet, no – I think I can trust you, your mother and your grandmother to behave when the girls go upstairs. We’ll even make sure you can all sit together for a while, all right?”
“Thank you,” Xandra said as they walked down the stairs, to find Elaine, Jane, Soo and Lou standing up, their legs free but their wrists still secured, and their mouths taped over.
“Let’s go lassies,” Mrs McPhee said as she and the other masked man walked out of the room, Fiona watching as Chloe sat down with her arms round Casey and Xandra sitting next to her. Jay walked over and untied her, then peeled the tape away as Fiona said “thank you – may I join them?”
“Of course,” Jay said as Fiona walked over and sat on the other side of Chloe. Taking the seat himself, he smiled as he said “I can see you’re getting tired.”
“Not as tired as Casey,” Chloe said, “so what are you going to do to us?”
“Do you want to see now? Well, the first thing we do is make your hands look like Casey’s, but if I do that, you won’t be able to have your supper, so with that, shall I show you?”
Chloe nodded as Jay went to a bag, and took out a length of white cord. As she watched, he crossed the arms of the doll as she held it, and then tied her wrists together, before taking the cord around the doll’s waist and tying it off.
“Now, that’s the first thing we’ll do to you,” Jay said. “When we take care of your mummy and granny, we may put their hands behind their back, but for you and Casey, we’ll do it in front.”
She nodded as he took another, longer length of cord, and then wrapped it round Casey’s arms and body, making sure they were fixed to her sides as he made two bands.
“Oh wow – we really won’t be able to move,” Chloe said as Jay then took two more lengths of the cord, and secured Casey’s ankles and legs, taking the cord between the doll’s limbs as he did so.
“There,” he said as he looked at Chloe, “that’s very much what we will do to you later, but we’ll also make sure she can’t talk?”
“Oh,” Chloe said as she looked at Jay, “how?”
“I’ll show you later…”
Mrs McPhee smiled as she looked at the four girls, standing in Elaine and Jane’s bedroom. Elaine was wearing a pair of pink pyjamas, with a Tigger print, and a tiger print headband holding her hair back, while Jane had on a white vest top, and pink bottoms with white polka dots. Soo had been given a yellow t-shirt and green pants with a large floral print, and Lou a nightdress with a pink front and sleeves, and a pale blue back.
“Noo then,” she said as she looked at Soo and Lou, “Ah want ye to sit doon on the flair.” As the two girls sat down, she looked at Elaine and Jane, and said “You gerls are gonna tie their legs oop fer me…”
“We are – how?”
“Tek these,” Mrs McPhee said as she handed them each a length of rope, “dooble it ofer, then kneel in front o their ankles. Then wrap it roond, put the ends through the loop, an pull back.”
Soo and Lou watched as their friends pulled the rope around their ankles, giggling as they followed the instructions of the masked Scottish woman, wrapping the rope round a couple of times and keeping it tight, then tucking the ends through the top band, separating them, and then taking the ropes between their legs to make it tighter.
“Very guid,” Mrs McPhee said as Elaine and Jane smiled, “noo, dae the same tae their legs below their knees, and then I want you al tae sit back to back.”
She watched as the girls secured the Chinese girls as instructed, and then they sat in a circle, watching as Mrs McPhee secured their legs as well.
“Noo then,” she said as she took two bath robe belts, tied them together, and then used them to secure all four girls together at their waists, “ah know ae game ye call all play. It’s called gag karaoke.”
“How do you play that,” Jane asked as Mrs McPhee went to a drawer, and took out two pairs of sport socks.
“Furst, ah dae this tae ye,” she said as she rolled each sock up, and then put one in the mouth of each of the girls. “then ae put on the music system – and ye hae tae sing aling wifoot takin them oot. Ah’ll be back in a few minutes tae let ye play anoofer game later.”
The girls nodded as she put the music centre on, then started trying to sing to One Direction as she nodded at the masked man, and walked downstairs.
“Mister Edwards showed me how I will be,” Chloe said as she held up Casey, a band of white tape round the Ragged Ann doll’s head.
“That’s right,” Jay said as he looked over, “now, I think it’s time your grandmother went and changed for bed. Mrs McPhee, Chloe wants her hands to be like her baby’s – could you do that for me please?”
“Okay,” Mrs McPhee said as Jay took Fiona by the arm and walked her up the stairs. “We need tae make yer hands like hers, so ah’ll gie ye twa spinges tae hold, an then we cover them wi tape.”
“Okay,” Chloe said as Mrs McPhee opened a bag, took out two half sponges and gave them to her, waiting as she made two fists before she took a roll of silver tape and covered them. She then took a pair of white socks out, pulled them up her arms and taped the tops to the sleeves of her pyjamas.
“Oh wow, Mum – my hands are just like those of Casey,” the little girl said as she waved them in front of Xandra. “so are you going to tie me like her?”
“Ai Ah am,” Mrs McPhee said as she took a length of rope from the bag, crossed Chloe’s wrists in front of her, and then tied them tightly together, the rope sitting on top of the white socks as it went around and between her arms. She then passed some rope round Chloe’s waist and secured her wrists to her body, before taking a longer length and securing her arms to her aides, making two bands around her stomach and her upper body.
“I’m going to be a wriggly worm like Casey,” she said with a grin as Mrs McPhee tied the ropes off, and then said “sit next tae yer mammy whilst ah tie yer legs.” Chiloe nodded as she sat down, Mrs McPhee nodding as she knelt down, and then tied her ankles tightly together, taking the rope around and between her legs, before she did the same below her knees as Casey rested in her own arms.
“Noo then,” the Scottish woman said as she stood up, “ye need tae be kept really, really quiet, so Ah’m going to make sure ye dae. Dinnae struggle or panic – breath through yer nose, and ye’ll be fine. First, open yer moof.”
As Chloe did so, Mrs McPhee folded a white cloth, and then tied a length of towelling around it. She then pushed the cloth into the young girl’s mouth, and tied the strip round her head, before she picked up a roll of white tape, and wrapped it around her, covering her mouth and pressing her hair to the back of her neck.
“are you all right,” Xandra asked her younger daughter, Chloe nodding as Mrs McPhee then wrapped silver tape round her head, and finally tied a folded red scarf over everything. She then helped Chloe to lie down with her head on her mother’s lap, looking to the door as Fiona came in.
Her grandmother was wearing a white V-necked top and pants, but her upper body was secured with bands of rope, and her wrists were behind her back. “Ah – how are you feeling Chloe,” Jay Edwards said as he followed the older woman in.
“Mhhlllrht,” Chloe mumbled as Fiona nodded. She sat down and said “well, I guess we’ll all be the same way later” as she looked over.
“I guess so,” Xandra said as she stroked her daughter’s hair, and listened to the sound of muffled singing from upstairs. “Ah’lll go up noo,” Mrs McPhee said as they all heard the sound of banging.
“Nothing to worry about,” Jay said quietly as he took his cell phone out. “this is Jay Edwards.
“Good – call at the next agreed time.” Putting the phone away, he looked at Chloe and said “your dad is doing just fine. Now, these men will stay her, while we get your sisters and their friends ready for bed…”
As the two masked people came into the room, Elaine looked over and said “swhhtdwddnww?”
“Well,” Jay said quietly, “the first thing we’re going to do is make sure you all stay as quiet as possible. So, we’re going to put the socks all the way into your mouths, and then wrap some special tape round your heads to make sure they stay there, all right?”
“O’ course,” Mrs McPhee said as she untied the belts from their waists, the four girls standing and watching as one by one, the socks were eased all the way into their mouths, and then Jay wrapped the white medical tape tightly round their heads, followed by the silver tape, and then a folded white scarf over gag for each of them.
“Lkktsss,” Jane said as the others giggled.
“Right,” Jay said, “next thing – hold your hands out. We’re going to make sure you can’t help each other get free – and you won’t get free.”
“Like this,” he said as he gave them each a sponge to hold in their hands, before Mrs McPhee wrapped the silver tape round their hands.
“We’ll use some of the socks in your drawers to cover your hands,” Jay said as he took four pairs of sports socks and pulled them over the hands of the four girls, and then taped them to their arms, before Mrs McPhee said “noo, we want ye tae put yer hands behind yer back.”
The girls looked at each other as she took four lengths of cord from the bag, and then turned, looking over their shoulders as they crossed their wrists and Jay bound them tightly together. They looked down at their bound legs, as Mrs McPhee took longer lengths of rope, leaving three on the bed as she doubled the fourth one over, and then wrapped it round Jane’s arms and body, making two bands as she secured her arms to the sides of her body.
“Nwwwerllycntmff” she said as Mrs McPhee tied two small lengths of rope between her arms and body, and then helped her to lie on the bed as Jay took care of Elaine…
Jay smiled as he looked at the two older women, Chloe asleep on her mother laps with her bound and gagged doll in her arms.
“They’re fine – Mrs McPhee is staying with them for the moment. Now, I regret to say it is time I…”
He turned and looked at the tall masked man who appeared in the doorway, before saying “in a moment – please, excuse me.” He turned and followed the masked man out – stopping as he saw the woman in the kitchen.
She was wearing a white nightgown, and was as tightly bound as the other women and girls in the house, with ropes around her arms and legs, and white bands around her head covering her mouth and eyes.
Jay looked at her as she sat there, and then indicated to the masked man to follow him. “Well Brian,” he whispered.
“Sorry about that,” the tall man whispered, “the operation meant I had to rescue her, but she could not be found there. She’ll stay in the dining room for now, and come back with us – where I’ll make sure she is delivered to a safe place.”
“Okay – so long as she stays there,” Mark whispered before he went back to the main room. “As I was saying,” he resumed in his Geordie accent as he picked up a length of rope, “we need to make you secure now, Xandra…”
She looked over at her mother, and then at Chloe, before she nodded and held her hands out, watching as Jay gave her two sponges to hold, and then wrapped silver tape around her fists.
“Did he do this to you as well Mum?”
Fiona nodded as she wriggled round, the ropes on her chest rubbing on her. “Yeah – you get used to it,” she said as Jay pulled the socks over Xandra’s hands, and then taped them to the sleeves of her pyjama jacket. “Where are you going to take us?”
“To your bedrooms,” Jay said, “where you can rest. Young Chloe here will stay with you, Xandra, as promised, but you will not be able to leave the room or raise the alarm.”
The young mother nodded as she moved her hands behind her back, Chloe wriggling and mumbling under the tape band as Jay doubled over a length of rope, and moved behind her. She felt him crossing her wrists, and then the pressure of the cords as he secured her wrists tightly together.
“I… I see what you mean,” she said quietly as she looked down, and then felt the pressure on her arms as Jay wrapped the long band of rope tightly round her upper body. As the bands above and below her chest were formed, she saw the way her jacket opened slightly, especially when Jay tightened the bands between her arms and body.
“Time for you both to be quiet,” he then said as he folded a white cloth, “who would like to get first?”
“I will,” Xandra was surprised to hear herself say, and as she opened her mouth she tasted the cotton on her tongue as the cloth was pushed in, filling the gap behind her teeth before Jay took a strip of towelling, tied a knot in the middle and eased that between her teeth, tying the band round her head. He then nodded to the tall masked man, who tore the end free from a roll of white tape and started to wrap it tightly round her head while Jay folded a second cloth, and walked over to Fiona.
“Itssntasbbdrlllemmm,” she mumbled as the band of white encircled her head, pressing in on her cheeks before the man tore the end free, and pressed it to the back of her head. He then took the silver tape, as Jay took the white roll, and wrapped a second layer around Xandra’s head.
She watched her mother’s expression as the two layers of tape were wrapped round her own head, before Jay took a large red scarf, folded it into a band, and then tied it tightly over the tapes, so that it looked like a gag as seen on television. He then used a white scarf to the same effect on Fiona, as Mrs McPhee came in.
“The gerls er watching a film,” she said, “shall we tak young Chloe here oop?”
“Yes, we shall,” Jay said as she gently lifted the young girl in her arms, while he and the other masked man helped both Xandra and Fiona to stand up, the group making their way slowly up the stairs. At the top of the stairs, Fiona and Xandra looked into the bedroom of the older girls, all four of them lying on the two beds, hogtied and gagged as they watched the television.
“Ahll be back in a wee while,” Mrs McPhee said, Elaine turning and nodding her head as she said “wrfnnmmm.”
“Come along,” he said as Mrs McPhee carried Chloe into the master bedroom, and Jay took Xandra and Fiona into her mother’s bedroom. Once inside, Fiona sat and watched as Jay crossed and tied her ankles tightly together, and then secured her legs together below her knees.
“Uknwwsshtsfnnne,” she said as she looked at Xandra, “mmnttfred?”
“Mnffer,” Xandra said as Jay helped Fiona to lie on her side, and then pulled her ankles up behind her, securing them to the chest ropes with a last length of rope, before he walked to the door.
“Check her every fifteen minutes,” he said to the masked man, taking Xandra by the arm and walking her to her own bedroom. Mrs McPhee looked up as Chloe lay on one side, breathing gently through her nose as she cuddled Casey, and watched as Xandra walked to the other side and sat down.
“We’ll let you sleep,” Jay said as he knelt down, crossed and bound her ankles together, “your husband is doing everything we are asking of him, so you have no cause for alarm on his part or yours.”
Xandra nodded as she felt the rope pulling her legs together below her knees, Jay wrapping it around and between her limbs, and then helping her to lie on her side before he pulled her ankles back and tied them to the chest ropes. She placed a gently kiss on Chloe’s forehead as Jay looked at her, said “sleep well,” and turned the light off.
She looked at him, and then at Chloe, certain there was no way she was going…
“All quiet,” Jay said as he came into the main room, the other man nodding as he drank from a bottle of water.
“How long Jay?”
“Not too long hopefully – excuse me a moment,” he said as he went back to the kitchen, where Brian was sitting with the other captive.
“Who is she,” he whispered.
“Not important – we just need to get her into the van before anyone else. How are the family?”
“Secured – want to move her now?”
Brian nodded as he stood up, and said “we’re going to move you to a vehicle, and then take you to where you can be released. Again, I apologise for the fact I cannot free you yet, but endure a short while longer.”
The woman nodded as Brian lifted her up, Jay going in front and opening the front door, looking out into the darkness before they walked to the side of the house. Opening the side of the van, Brian stepped in and placed her on the floor at the back of the van, covering her with a blanket as he said “I will wait here.”
Nodding, Jay closed the door and walked back in as Mrs McPhee came down. “The wee lambs are all asleep,” she said quietly, “how long now?”
As if in answer to the question, Jay took out his mobile phone and said “this is Jay Edwards.
“Good - secure and silence him, then head off. You’ll get your funds in the usual way.”
“Job done – let’s get cleared up and get out of here.”
“Thanks,” the man said as he jumped out, Brian closing the door before he said “got the place you need to go to?”
“Are you sure?”
“I am – and let me do the talking,” Brian said as Jay drove off, Brian removing the blanket as Yvonne looked at him, raising an eyebrow in silence. He smiled as the van moved off. Half an hour later, he removed his balaclava as the van came to a halt, and he lifted the bound and gagged woman out, Yvonne opening the side door as he stepped out.
She watched from the shadows as Brian carried her to where a black limousine was waiting, a driver opening the door as Brian walked over. She stifled a gasp as she saw the grey haired man who got out, smiling as Jay removed the ropes and gag and embracing the young woman, before they got into the car and it drove off. Brian talked to a second man for a moment, shaking his hand before he got back into the van, and said “let’s go.”
“Yeah – story for later. Let’s head back and then to your place…”
Xandra opened her eyes as she saw Chloe looking at her, and gently kissed her forehead again as she said “twwntblnnnwww….”
She could hear the girls in the other room, and wanted to go and help them, but before she had any chance to think over it she heard the sound of the front door being thrown open, and footsteps running up the stairs.
“Oh my god…”
“Hllddd,” she heard Jane say, and then Derek Fowlds ran in, kneeling by the head and kissing both Xandra and Fiona on the head as two policemen followed him in.
“It’s all right,” one of them said as he started to untie Chloe, “we found your husband, and he said to come straight here. We’ll get you all untied, and then you can tell us what happened.”
Xandra nodded as she heard her mother say “oh thank god – free the girls first…”
“The family were found by police officers, but the gang who had taken control of the house had escaped during the night…”
“So a profitable night,” Brian said as he sat with Yvonne and Mark at the dining table. “And I achieved my objective.”
“They kept that one quiet,” Yvonne said.
“For obvious reasons – if the word got out she had been kidnapped…”
“Of course,” Mark said, “how long?”
“Two weeks – long enough.” He stretched his arms up and said “I need to call Sarah – and then some sleep I think.”
“Sounds good to me,” Yvonne said as she looked at Mark…