Jay at the Stables
“All right you two,” Yvonne said as she called up the stairs, “Dinner will be ready in ten minutes.”
“Thanks mum,” she heard both Charlie and Louise call down as she smiled, and went back into the kitchen, looking to the side door as Mark Williamson came back in.
“Hey there,” he said as he kissed his wife on the cheek, “how was the school today?”
“Busy as always,” Yvonne said with a smile, “and the finance world?”
“Can do without me this weekend, that is for certain,” Mark said as he took the freshly made mug of coffee. “I need some down time, pursuing my own thing.”
“Yeah, I can imagine,” Yvonne said with a smile. “Want to tell me what you’re thinking of doing when the kids go to bed?”
Mark nodded as he said “First things first – changed, and then homework help...”
“Good night Dad,” Charlie said as Mark hugged him and Lisa, watching as his wife took them up the stairs. Heading into the kitchen, he took a file from his briefcase, and spread out a number of photos on the table.
“So,” Yvonne said as she came in and opened a bottle of Rioja, pouring some into two glasses, “who are you looking at?”
“This,” Mark said as he pointed to a picture of a tall, grey haired man in a Saville Row suit, “is Edgar de Winters.”
“Indeed – but he has a considerable fortune of his own, and has access to several business accounts.”
“Okay – on an ordinary day, that makes him interesting,” Yvonne said as she sipped her wine, “but why did Brian call about him?”
“Because,” Mark said, “some of the clients he represents are persons of interest. So the task from him is to slip some monitoring software into his legal offices. Of course, it means we use that to get some money...”
“Okay,” Yvonne said, “so the family?”
“Wife and two daughters,” Mark said as he showed her the family portrait. “Helena is in her late forties, but looks younger, while Portia is thirteen and Electra ten. They live at a working stable with a live-in au pair, Helga, and Helena’s mother, Olivia.”
“And we are going to visit, at a working stable, on a Saturday?”
“Well, if our research is right, at the weekend it is only family and friends – so we go prepared for surprises, and use all the facilities they have.”
“Good thing the kids are at your mother’s this weekend then – no chance of them getting involved.”
“Any of them – after the last few times, I’ve made doubly sure none of them are going to be there...”
“Okay – so when do we meet the others?”
“Eight on Saturday morning – at the usual pickup point...”
“Helga? Are you in the kitchen?”
“Yes,” the young Swede said as she stood at the sink, washing the breakfast dishes. She was wearing a white long sleeved top, blue leggings with a red floral print, and brown knee length leather boots, her long blonde hair falling over the shoulders.
She turned and smiled as Electra de Winters came in, wearing a yellow long sleeved top with a picture of a horse and cat on the front, brown leggings and mid-calf black leather boots. A white Alice band held her light brown hair back.
“Have your friends arrived yet,” Helga said as she dried her hands.
“That will be them now,” Electra said as a jeep pulled up outside, and two more ten year old girls got out. One wore a long sleeved pale blue top with a picture of horses on it, taupe leggings and short black boots like Electra, a band holding her dark hair away from her face. The second girl had a Stetson on, and wore a white t-shirt over a long sleeved purple top – again with a picture of horses on the t-shirt – black leggings and knee length black riding boots.
“There you are Annie,” Electra said as he hugged the dark skinned girl, “and you Bobby.”
The girl with the Stetson smiled as she said “so can we go and see the horses?”
“On you go,” Helga said, “just be back in here for lunch. Your sister and grandmother will be back just after that.”
“We’ll be back,” Electra said as the three girls left the kitchen, and went across the courtyard to the stables. Helga smiled as she dried the last of the dishes and put them away, before hanging the dishcloth up.
Hearing the front doorbell, she walked down the corridor, looking at the blurred figures through the frosted glass in the front door itself. “Must be a delivery,” she thought to herself as she opened the door, and said “yes, now may I...”
“Not a word lass,” the man said as he pushed Helga back in, his gloved hand covering her mouth as she looked at him. He was wearing a dark boiler suit, with a black balaclava covering his head, so that she could only see his blue eyes and his mouth. As she watched, six more people came in – five men and a woman – all dressed the same way, with gloved hands.
As the woman closed the door, the man said in a soft North of England accent “now, remain calm, do not panic – so long as you do as we say, nobody is going to get hurt, and everybody gets to have a very special Saturday. Do you understand?”
“Ysss,” Helga said as she nodded.
“Good – first things first. We know everyone except young Electra is out at the moment. Where is she?”
“If I remove my hand, will you talk quietly?”
Helga slowly nodded, as the man removed his hand. “All right – my name is Jay Edwards, and I and my friends are going to be staying here for a while. Do as we say, and nobody gets hurt. You said Electra has some friends here?”
“Yes,” Helga whispered, “Annie and Bobby. They went to see the horses...”
“Good – Mrs McPhee, take one of the other associates and make sure the girls understand what is going to happen today.”
“Nae problem,” the woman said in a Scottish accent as she and a second man, carrying a bag, went through the house.
“Now,” Jay said as he looked at Helga and smiled, “we need to make sure you cannot spoil the surprise for anyone else. Shall we make you comfortable?”
“She’s a real beauty,” Bobby said as she stroked the nose of the smaller horse.
“Yeah – Mum and Dad say I may get to ride her soon,” Electra said as she looked round, and saw the grey van that had parked to the side of the house.
“I wonder who that belongs to,” she said as Annie looked in the next stable.
“So when does the new horse arrive,” she said as she looked at Electra.
“Two weeks time,” she said as both Annie and Bobby looked in, a number of straw bales already inside.
“Well, I bet she looks very nice in there, Electra.
As the two girls turned round, they gasped as they saw two adults there, a man and a woman, the woman holding her leather gloved hand over Electra’s mouth as she smiled.
“Hello lassies,” she said in a Scottish accent, “why don’t ye go inside, and then I’ll tell ye why ahm doing this?”
“Oh god,” Bobby said as they slowly walked into the empty stall, the woman walking Electra with her as the man came last.
“Now, stay calm,” the woman said, “you can call me Mrs McPhee, lassies. My friend Jay Edwards is talking to yer au per now, explaining what I am going to tell ye. We need tae talk to yer dad when he gets hame, and get him tae do somefing fer us. To help him, we’ll be keeping all of ye safe and make sure ye come to nae harm – but ye need to do what we tell ye, all right?”
“Are you... Are you robbers,” Alice said as she tried not to cry.
“Aye – bur we’re gonna make this a big game fer all of ye,” Mrs McPhee said, “so if ye do as ah say, ye’ll all hae fun. Now, hae ye ever read the Pony Club books?”
As the two girls nodded, Mrs McPhee allowed Electra to go and join Alice and Bobby.
“Well,” the Scottish woman said, “in ane ae them, the girls get kidnapped – so this morning, I want ye to be the kidnapped girls. Now, that means we need to make sure ye cannae raise the alarm, or spoil the surprise fer anyone else – but do as ae say, and it’ll be fine.”
“What do you want us to do,” Electra said quietly.
“Well, all three o ye,” Mrs McPhee said as the man put the bag he was carrying down, and took out some long strips of leather, “sit on the bales there, and hold yer hands out, palms together.”
As the girls did so, they watched as Mrs McPhee used the thongs to tie their wrists together, wondering what she was going to do next.
“There – now that dasenae hurt, does it?”
The three girls looked at each other and shook their heads, as Mrs McPhee took a wide roll of white tape from the bag.
“Good – now, I’m gonna put this over yer mouths tae keep ye quiet, and then we’ll go back into the house, all right?”
“What happens after that,” Alice asked.
Mrs McPhee tore a strip of tape free, and said “we hae fun. Now, lips together lassie...”
“I do not understand, what is happening,” Helga said as she sat in the front room of the house, watching as Jay knelt down and bound her legs together below her knees. She already had her ankles secured, and her wrists bound together in front of her.
“What is happening,” Jay said as he pulled the rope between her legs, and tied it off, before securing her wrists to the new band, “is my friends and I are going to be spending the day and part of the night here, but we do not wish the rest of the family to do know we are here in advance. So, with regret, you will stay here.”
“And Electra and her friends?”
She watched as Electra, Alice and Bobby walked in, their wrists crossed and tied together with leather strips in front of themselves, and wide strips of white tape covering their mouths. Mrs McPhee followed them in, and directed them to sit on a long couch, before she started to bind their booted legs together with more leather strips.
“As you can see, they are perfectly safe,” Jay said as he tore a long strip from a second roll of tape, “so, lips together, and then you can all watch a film together.”
“We’ve disconnected the phones and the internet,” one of the masked men said as Jay pressed the tape firmly over Helga’s mouth and jaw.
“Excellent,” Jay said as Mrs McPhee stood up
“There now – tha daesnae hurt, des it?”
The three girls shook their heads as she turned the television on, and then looked at the rack of films.
“National Velvet? A real classic – shall we?”
She put the film in and started it, the three girls watching as the black and white picture started...
“Thank you,” Electra said as the tape was peeled away from her mouth, and she looked across the table at her friends. All three had jumped through and sat on the chairs, the masked men tying some rope around their waists to make sure they could not get up, before their wrists had been untied and the tape taken from their mouths.
“You’re welcome,” Jay said as Helga put some plats of sandwiches and fruit out, as well as some cold drinks, before she sat herself down and she was also secured with rope around her waist.
“I hope you girls were not too scared,” she said as she looked at Jay, Mrs McPhee and the masked men.
“We’re fine,” Bobby said, “it’s quite exciting in a way. But are we going to stay here all day and night.”
“I am afraid you are,” Jay said, “so after you eat, I want you both to call your mothers and say you have been invited to stay the night. Make it clear Electra will loan you some pyjamas, and they don’t need to bring anything.”
Bobby and Annie looked at each other and nodded before they started to eat.
“What will happen when the others return home,” Helga asked quietly.
“I do not think they will blame you, but you will find out when the time comes,”
Helga nodded as the girls talked about the film. “It may have been an old film,” Electra said, “but it was good.”
“Oh yeah – imagine riding the big race like that...”
“I want you,” Jay whispered to two of the men, “to watch for the rest of the family to arrive. Mrs McPhee – I know it is early, but would you ensure the nightwear for the three young ladies is laid out, along with some socks?”
Mrs McPhee nodded as she and the other two left the room, Jay and the others watching as they continued to have their lunch...
“Thanks for giving me and Angelica a lift home, Granny,” Portia de Winters said as she sat in the back of the Range Rover. The dark haired girl was wearing a blue denim jacket over a black t-shirt, jeans and short burgundy coloured cowboy boots. “It means we can get some work done before she heads home.”
“That’s all right,” Olivia Cranford said as she drove along the road. She was in her early sixties, with dark chestnut brown hair that had been permed. She wore a black leather jacket over a white blouse, a pleated knee length black skirt, and over the knee black leather boots.
Angelica MacKay grinned as she looked out of the window. She had long strawberry blonde hair, and wore a white fleece over a grey striped t-shirt, tight jeans and short fawn leather boots. “So an afternoon doing maths, and then we can go to the pictures tonight?”
“Yup,” Portia said, “Dad can run us there and pick us up. I’m glad your mum said you could stay overnight as well.”
Angelica looked at the bag at her feet, and nodded as Olivia pulled off the road, making her way up the long drive before she stopped outside the house.
“Right,” she said as she got out from behind the wheel, the two girls leaving the car as Angelica picked her bag up. “Let’s go in and see what mayhem your sister and her friends have got up to.”
“Whatever it is,” Portia said, “I’m sure we’ll be able to cope with it.”
“Let’s hope so,” her grandmother said as she opened the door, and the three of them walked in.
“Not a sound,” Portia said as her friend put her bag down, “maybe they are all in the stables.”
“Whatever,” Olivia said, “you girls go into the front room, and I’ll see what Helga is doing.
As she walked into the kitchen, she saw the young Swede standing at the window as she was washing the dishes.
“Hello Helga,” she said as she put her handbag on the table, “how are things?”
As Helga turned round and looked at her, her eyes opened wide, both in surprise at the strip of tape covering the young woman’s mouth – and the leather gloved hand that was covering her own.
“Good afternoon Portia,” a man said behind her with a soft Geordie accent, “as you can see, you have some unexpected guests.”
Olivia nodded as she saw the two masked and armed men standing by Helga.
“Now,” the voice said again, “my name is Jay Edwards, and I have some business to conduct with your son in law later. So that that business may go smoothly, it is necessary for you and your family, and their friends, to stay here under our watchful eye.”
“Hmmggdd – thgrrlsss...”
“They will be safe, if regrettably we need to keep you all secured and silenced. Helga will confirm the three younger girls and herself have not been harmed – is that not right?”
“Msreeemdmmmm,” Helga said as one of the men guided her wrists behind her back, and Olivia caught a glimpse of a length of white rope.
“Now,” Jay continued, “very slowly, take your jacket off and hand it to me. Then put your hands behind your back.”
As the gloved hand was taken away, Olivia removed her jacket, folding it and putting it over the back of a chair before she put her hands behind her. She felt the man crossing them, and then the pressure of rope as it was used to bind them securely together. She could feel the rope around and between her arms, before it was tugged and she realised she could not move them.
“Now then,” Jay said as he turned Olivia round, and she got her first look at the masked man, who smiled as he said “your job is to remain calm, while we wait for your daughter and her husband to return.”
“I want to see the girls,” she said as she looked at him.
“Of course – continue to secure the young lady, and then bring her through to the front room,” Jay said as he took Olivia by the arm, and walked her through to the main room.
As she walked in, she saw Electra sitting with her two friends. All three girls had their arms pulled behind their backs, and she could see the bands of white rope holding their ankles together, as well as their legs below their knees. They also had a band of rope around their arms and body, holding them tightly to their sides.
She turned to see Portia and Angelica standing there, as a masked woman stood behind them, passing some rope around Portia’s arms to force them against her sides. The rope had already been used to secure Angelica’s arms to her body, as she stood looking at the three younger girls.
“May I introduce Mrs McPhee,” Jay said as Olivia watched the woman bind her granddaughter’s arms to her body. “She has taken very good care of young Electra and her friends, and will take good care of her sister and the other young lady as well.”
“Are you three all right,” Olivia said, the three girls nodding as they looked at each other. She barely noticed as Jay started to bind her own arms to her sides, the rope in her case sitting above and below her chest.
“Sit doon lassies,” Mrs McPhee said as she indicated a two seat couch, the two girls walking over and sitting down as Mrs McPhee took several lengths of rope from a bag. She knelt in front of the two young teenagers, crossing their ankles before she used the ropes to secure them together, and then their legs below their knees.
“If you would take a seat as well,” Jay said as he indicated one of the armchairs, while Helga was brought in, her arms secured with bands above and below her chest before she was helped to sit in another chair. Soon, both women had their ankles secured as well as their legs below their knees, the ropes squeaking on the leather as they tried to get comfortable and looked at each other.
“Now, we need to make sure you keep quiet,” Jay said as he took a sponge ball and compressed it in his gloved hand, looking at Olivia.
“Oh no – I promise we will be quiet.”
“The other girls and Helga are been treated in the same way.”
The three younger girls nodded as Mrs McPhee pushed a compressed sponge ball into the mouths of the two older children, and then covered their lips and jaw with a strip of the white tape.
“Would you be any different?”
Olivia slowly shook her head as she opened her mouth, feeling the sponge expanding in her mouth and pressing her tongue down as she watched Jay tear a strip of white tape from the roll. As he pressed it over her lips, she felt the soft tugging on her skin, and then the pressure as he smoothed it down to form to the contours of her face.
“Wllwrlsthsmmnw,” she said, surprised at how much her voice and words were muffled.
“Now than,” Mrs McPhee said as she looked at Portia and Angelica, “ye can stay here or go to yer ain room. Which will it be?”
The two older girls looked at each other, before Portia said “wllstyhhhrr.”
“Good,” Jay said as Mrs McPhee turned on the games console, “now, I noticed earlier ye had a game on here. Why don’t you all play Monopoly on here – my friends here will make the moves for you, and you tell them your decisions.”
As Olivia watched, the game started on the big screen, the girls nodding as two of the masked men took the controllers. One by one, they selected their playing pieces, Electra going first as the game began.
“Escort Helga to a room upstairs,” Jay said quietly to two of his associates, “ensure she is kept comfortable up there. I am sure the grandmother will be able to keep an eye on the kids.”
“Tsrrlltege, gefftthm,” Olivia said, Helga nodding as she was helped to stand up and half-jumped, half-shuffled to the door and up the stairs.
Helena de Winters pulled up outside her home, the tyres crunching on the gravel as she brought her Mazda to a halt. She had spent the majority of the Saturday so far with friends, but now she was glad to be home.
Her priorities were clear – see that the girls were all right, get some coffee, discuss dinner with Helga, and then chill out for the rest of the evening. She was a tall blonde, and was wearing a taupe coloured long sleeved top and matching tight pants, a pair of dark brown knee length suede boots over her legs as well.
Walking into the house, she put the car keys into the bowl by the door, and listened to the quiet sounds coming from the front room. “Are you in there girls,” she called out, but there was no reply.
“So what are you doing,” Helena said as she came in – and then stood still, raising her hand to her mouth as she saw her mother and the five girls, their mouths covered in white tape, and tightly tied in their chairs as the two masked men controlled the game.
“hllmm,” Electra said as Helena watched her lips move under the tape, “wrpplenmeneepli.”
“Hello Helena,” she heard a man say in a soft North of England accent as she felt a hand placed on her shoulder, “please, allow my friend Mrs McPhee to take your handbag for you.”
“What’s going on,” she whispered as she turned to look at the masked man.
“A robbery – so please,” he said as he slipped his hand under the strap of her handbag, removing it from her and handing it to a masked woman who was standing there. “Now, Mummy is going to rest upstairs until your father gets home. Later, you can all sit together – I think there is something on tonight that you will all enjoy watching.”
As the girls looked at each other, Helena was dimly aware of her wrists been taken behind her back, and then some rope as it was used to secure them together, Jay working with practised hands to make sure they stayed together.
“Wllbllrttmm –tsscshlllfn,” Portia said, Helena slowly nodding as Jay took her by the arm and led her up the staircase.
“Who are you? Why are you holding the girls and my mother hostage? What are you...”
“Questions questions Helena,” Jay said with a smile as he entered the master bedroom. “So let me answer them. My name is Jay Edwards, my lady friend is Mrs McPhee, and we are making sure you and your family are kept safe while we arrange for your husband to do some business on my behalf. If he does as we ask, and you all cooperate, you will be left unharmed.”
Helena looked at the masked man, before she said “and now?”
“Now – I invite you to have a rest. Please, stand still.”
As Helena stood there, Jay took some rope from a bag by the bed, and began to lash her arms tightly to her sides, taking the rope above and below her chest, and then between her arms and her bodies to hold them even more tightly to her side.
“Please – sit down,” Jay said, Helena nodding as she lowered herself onto the bed, watching as Jay knelt down. He crossed her ankles, using more rope to bind her ankles tightly together, the cords going around and between them. She felt them being drawn firmly together, Jay tying the ends off before he did the same around her legs below her knees.
“So what will I be doing?”
“Waiting here,” Jay said as he helped her to lie on the bed, bending her legs back and securing her ankles to the chest ropes, “until your husband returns. I must, however, ensure you cannot warn him. Remain calm, breath normally.”
Helena watched as he compressed a sponge ball in his hand, smiled and said “Open wide now – this will not hurt.”
As he closed the door, he looked at the masked man and said “ensure you check her every fifteen minutes as well. How is the other woman?”
“Sleeping,” he said as Jay looked in the other room, smiling as he saw Helga lying on her side, her eyes closed, her chest gently rising and falling.
“Excellent,” Jay said as he looked at his watch, “then we now merely await the arrival of the man of the house.”
It was approaching five when Edgar de Winters finally pulled into the drive that led up to his house, having spent the morning in his offices, and the afternoon at the golf course. Stepping out of his Bentley, he looked round and smiled at the workers in the stables. As they were housed elsewhere, they kept to themselves, and never ventured into the main house.
So when he opened the front door and walked in, the first thing that caught his attention was the lack of children laughing and talking loudly. He could hear some low mumbles coming from the front room, but no other noise.
“So what is going on in here,” he said as he walked in – and then stared in shock at the sight of his daughters, their friends, and his mother-in-law, bound with ropes and tape gagged as two masked men were controlling a game of Monopoly on the games centre.
“What the f...”
“Language, Mister de Winters,” Jay Edwards said as he put his gloved hand on the barrister’s shoulder. “There are, after all, children in the room. Be assured, despite the fact they are secured and silenced, no harm has come to them or the rest of the residents of your home.”
“Is he telling the truth Olivia?”
The older woman nodded as Edgar felt his arms been taken behind his back, and then the rope around his wrists.
“Why don’t we go and see your wife? Mrs McPhee, kindly release Olivia, and one of you ask for Helga to come down. They will need to start preparing dinner for everyone.”
“Aye,” a masked woman said as she stepped forward, the girls watching as Edgar was turned round to face the masked man.
“Mrs McPhee? Good lord – you’re Jay Edwards?”
“Guilty as charged – shall we?”
“So this is a robbery?”
“Precisely – and so long as you remain calm, I am sure the others will do so as well,” Jay said as they walked up the stairs, and into the master bedroom. He looked at Helena on the bed, and said “Are... Are you all right?”
“Mfnnn,” Helena said as Jay nodded to one of his associates, who walked round and started to untie her. As she stretched her legs out, Jay helped her to sit up and removed the tape from her mouth, before he eased the wet sponge from her mouth.
“Edgar I’m sorry – apparently they arrived this morning. Are the girls all right? Is Mum all right?”
“They seemed to be fine – I’m just glad he hasn’t hurt any of you,” he said as she sat next to his wife, smiling as she placed her head on his shoulder.
“So what happens now?”
“Well, your mother in law and the au pair will be released, and they will start to prepare some dinner,” Jay said, “while my friend Mrs McPhee will make sure the girls all have the chance to go to the toilet. The you may eat together.”
“And after that?”
“And after that,” Jay said with a smile, “I will ask two of my friends to go with you and you will transact some business on our behalf. We will make sure everyone here is made comfortable.”
“Has nobody from the stables seen anything?”
“Why would they? Your instructions to them are very clear, especially when it comes to a Saturday. And there have been no dire emergencies amongst the horses to report. So all is well as far as they are concerned – and so it will remain.”
“And just what is this business you want me to conduct for you?”
“I am so glad you asked...”
As Edgar and Helena came into the dining room, they saw the five girls already sat in their seats. Their arms had been freed, but as he looked at Electra, he could see the ropes that still held her legs together at her ankles and knees, as well as the band tied round her waist.
“They will remove their gags once everyone is seated,” Jay said as he held a chair out for Helena, waiting until she sat and then tying her waist to the chair before he released her arms. Once Edgar was secured in the same way, he said “I hope you girls have all managed to cope with today.”
“Weehffddee,” Portia said as Olivia and Helga brought the serving dishes through, and then took their own seats, waiting as their waists were tied to the chair backs.
“Very well,” Mrs McPhee said, “ye may remove the gags now.”
As Helena watched, the girls all peeled the white tape away from their mouths and took the sponge balls out, before as one they took a glass of water each and drank from it.
“We’re all right, Daddy,” Electra said as she looked at Bobby and Annie, “We just pretended we had been kidnapped, like Mrs McPhee suggested.”
“How are you felling Angelica,” Portia whispered to her friend.
“Not as scared as I was earlier,” Angelica whispered back, “but I wonder what else is going to happen tonight.”
“Well,” Jay said, “what is going to happen right now is you are all going to have your dinner. Once that is done, we need to ask Portia and Electra’s father to go with two of my friends, while we make sure you all enjoy the evening.”
“And how are you going to do that,” Helena asked as she put some food on her plate.
“Well, we picked a good day to visit you all,” Jay said with a smile. “We can all watch and enjoy a television program together.”
“What – oh no,” Olivia said, “not that!”
“Oh yes – Eurovision!”
“Eat up girls,” Helga said, “I suspect it is going to be a long night...”
“It is time – go with my associates,” Jay said as he untied Edgar from the chair.
“Girls, you have all been very brave so far,” he said as he looked round the table, “be brave for a little while longer please, and I will see all of you later.”
“Stay safe,” Helena said as he leaned over and kissed her.
“Oh look – mum and dad getting all mushy...”
Nobody at the table could stop themselves laughing at Electra’s comment, while Edgar slipped on a jacket.
“You have your instructions,” Jay said quietly to the two masked me, “check in at regular intervals, and let me know when the transactions are completed.”
Both nodded as he said to Edgar “Remember, we are here – do as they ask you to do, and all will be well.”
The man nodded as he was escorted out, and Jay turned back to the table. “Now, we need to make arrangements for the rest of this evening. First things first – Helga and Olivia, if you would clear the table with the help of Mrs McPhee?”
Portia watched as her grandmother and the au-pair stood up, and started to collect the plates. “So what happens now,” she said as she looked at Jay.
“Now – we make sure you all get a chance to clean up and change for bed. After that, we need to ensure you all are at least partially secured for the evening, but – well, you will see how after that.”
“So who goes first,” Helena asked.
“As the three younger girls already have some nightwear sorted, we will take care of them first,” Jay said quietly, “with your assistance, Mrs de Winters, and that of Mrs McPhee. The two older girls will be taken care of then, along with the delightful Helga, and then you and your mother.
“And with that in mind,” he said as Mrs McPhee returned with Helga and Olivia, “the washing up?”
“All in the machine.”
“Good – Helga, Olivia, take a seat please.”
As they sat down, both of the women allowed their wrists to be taken behind the chair and tied together, and their ankles to be secured to the front legs of the chairs, before Portia and Angelica had their wrists secured behind the chair back as well. Helena, Electra, Annie and Bobby were released from their ropes.
“Come with us, lassies,” Mrs McPhee said as the three younger girls stood up, and followed her and Helena up the stairs to Electra’s bedroom, one of the masked men walking up with them. As he waited outside, Mrs McPhee said “Noo then – Booby and Annie, sit on the bed for a few minutes. Electra, yer mother will give you something to wear, and then I want you to go wi the man outside and wash yerself.”
Helena noticed the large canvas bag on the bedroom floor as she handed her daughter a set of blue cotton pyjamas, watching as she was escorted to the bathroom. When she returned a few minutes later, Mrs McPhee was holding two sponge balls in her hands.
“Now, we need tae make sure yer arms and hands are secured,” she said with a smile, “so I want ye to take these, Electra, and then make a fist wi yer hands.”
“Like this,” the blonde haired girl said.
“That’s right,” the masked Scottish woman said as she picked up a roll of duct tape, the others watching as she made Electra’s fists into silver gloved balls. She then pulled a pair of white sports socks up over her hands, and taped the tops to the sleeves of her pyjamas.
“Now then,” she said as she looked at Bobby, and Helena handed her a pair of light green pyjamas, “you go and get washed noo, while I make sure Electra here cannae move her arms.”
“Oh my goodness,” Olivia said as Helena came back into the dining room with the three younger girls, Bobby wearing a pair of red pyjamas with white polka dots. The three girls had their wrists crossed and secured behind their backs, with bands of rope around their waists, stomachs, and above and below their chests, each band cinched between their arms and their bodies. “Are you all right?”
“It’s the tightest so far,” Electra said, “but it really doesn’t hurt granny. See?”
She turned round and showed her the covered hands as Helena was sat in a chair and secured like the others.
“Now then,” Jay said as Portia, Angelica and Helga were released, “you three will go with my friend and Mrs McPhee, and prepare for bed.”
As they left the room, Jay smiled as he said “now I’m afraid we need to make sure all three of you keep quiet, and then we’ll get you settled for the show. You can try and sing along if you want, but it will sound very different. Now,” he continued as he opened a clear bag, and took out three folded cloths, “we start by you having one of these in your mouth – open wide, and don’t panic.”
“I’ll go first,” Electra said as Jay put the cloth in her mouth, and then tied a long thin red chiffon scarf around her head, the band sitting between her lips to keep the cloth in place. He did the same to Bobby and Annie, and then wrapped the white tape tightly round their heads, covering the band of cloth as it further silenced all three girls.
Finally, he took three white headscarves, folded then into bands and tied them tightly round the heads of each of the girls, covering the band as the ends fell down the backs of their necks.
“Are you girls all right,” Olivia asked as she looked at her daughter.
“Ysssmmdndgrrnnee,” Electra said, the other two girls nodding as Jay said “take them into the front room and make them comfortable on the long couch.”
One of the other masked men nodded as the three girls walked through, Helena and Olivia looking at each other.
“Will we all be like that?”
“you will – but as the girls say, if you remain calm, it is not too uncomfortable.”
“I... I have a problem,” Olivia said, “I’m an asthmatic...”
“Ah,” Jay said quietly, “and yet you had a sponge in your mouth earlier.”
“I coped – but I needed to use my inhaler when I was ungagged, as you saw, and if we are to sleep like that...”
“Then we will make sure your mouth has nothing in it, but – and I insist on this – you will be gagged so that it looks the same.”
“Okay,” Olivia said as she nodded quietly, “I need to take my medication when I change then.”
“Of course,” Jay said with a smile.
“The girls are been incredibly brave Mum...”
“I know,” Olivia said, “there’s something about these two that make you – trust them, and accept they will not hurt any of us...”
A short while later, the two older girls came in, Portia wearing a long sleeved white nightdress while Angelica had on a vest top and shorts. Both also had their arms and wrists secured, although Helena noticed that Mrs McPhee had used white tape to secure the socks to the arms of both girls.
As they were silenced by Mrs McPhee, Helga came in, wearing a blue silk pyjama top and knee length cycling shorts. She also had her hands covered and secured behind her back, Helena looking at the way her top was stretched over the young Swede’s chest...
“Come wi me,” Mrs McPhee said as she led Portia and Angelica into the front room.
“Wrreddee,” Electra said as she sat between Bobby and Annie. All three had their legs stretched out in front of them, their ankles crossed and secured together, and their legs secured below their knees. Portia nodded as she saw the rope going between the legs of all three girls in both places, before they were helped to sit on the floor in front of them, the girl moving so that the heads of Portia and Angelica were between their feet.
The masked man soon had their ankles and legs secured in the same way as the young girls, as Helga was escorted in, a black scarf tied tightly round her head before she was helped to sit on one of the armchairs.
She watched as the man crossed her ankles, and secured them tightly together with rope, before he used a second length to secure her legs together below her knees. As she twisted her legs round, Mrs McPhee put the large television on, smiling as the national lottery draw came on.
“Hsstheprgmrmstretedyt,” Olivia said as she came in, wearing a black short sleeved nightdress that came down to below her knees. As the girl shook their heads, she sat in the second armchair, watching as Jay secured her ankles together. He then folded back the skirt of her nightdress and tied her legs together below her knees, cinching the band by taking the ends between her legs and tying the ends off before he folded the skirt back. She looked at the others over the folded black scarf that encircled her head and nodded as she kept quiet. Her mouth was empty – he had wrapped the white tape round her head, and then a band of silver tape over that before applying the scarf – but she kept calm.
She looked at the way the bands of rope sat on all the girls – they had also been cinched, but unlike with her and Helga, the ropes between their arms and chest had been loosely tightened with extra rope. In the case of both of them, the rope had been fed under one arm, pulled up and taken around the back of her neck, and then down and under the other arm before they were tied off behind them. It rubbed and irritated, but she also tried not to show it.
“Wllmhrrnw,” Helena said as she came in, wearing a long white nightgown and as tightly tied and gagged as the other girls. She sat down, watching as her legs were secured, before the anthem started on the television, and they watched the Eurovision Song Contest begin.
When the UK entry came on, all the family started to sing along...
Lllb, Llb thnswrufbnwetnfr
The girls all looked at each other, realising the situation they were in and how the song sounded, before they carried on
U U Ufllkmdnsnnthskeee
U U Ufllkmdnsnnthskeee
U U Ufllkmdnsnnthskeee
Helena could only shake her head, a smile under all the tape as the family cheered – and they also cheered for the Swedish entry, Helga nodding and saying “fnnku. Llfu” as they did so.
As the last song ended, Mrs McPhee noticed that Electra and her two friends and fallen asleep on the couch. “Will ye twa gentlemen help me,” she said as she lifted Electra, and started to walk out of the room, the other two following.
“She will make sure they are safely secured in Electra’s room,” Jay said quietly, Helena nodding before he helped Portia and Angelica to sit on the long couch.
“Hwwrrudnngrn,” Portia said as she looked at Olivia, the older woman nodding to show she was all right as the voting started.
“Why don’t you vote,” Jay said as he took out a phone, “just grunt for the song you wish a vote to be cast for...”
So as the songs were recapped, they each grunted for one, Jay smiling as he cast the votes for them. Mrs McPhee returned a few minutes later, nodding as they watched the entertainment for the show.
“Hmggddd,” Portia screamed, “JSTNNRMBRLEK!”
“So it is,” Jay said quietly as Justin Timberlake appeared on the screen and started to sing, “you’re glad you watched now, aren’t you?”
The two teenagers nodded as they started to move to the music...
“Well, that was an exciting contest,” Jay said as he turned the television off, “and so to bed. We will untie your ankles, but nothing else, and you will walk up together, understand?”
The five captives nodded as they wriggled their toes, and then were helped to stand up, walking with short steps out of the room and up the stairs. At the top of the staircase, they went first into Portia’s room, the three older women nodding as they lay on her large bed. As Jay secured their ankles again, a second associate took some rope and secured that binding to the foot of the bed.
“Ah’ll stay ere for a few minutes,” Mrs McPhee said as Jay escorted the remaining three captives along the hallway. He showed them Electra’s room, the three girls lying in sleeping bags on the floor of her room, their gagged heads resting on pillows, before they went into Helga’s room.
The au pair was helped to lie on her side on the bed, Helena and Olivia watching as her ankles were crossed and rebound, and then her feet pulled back before her ankles were secured to her chest ropes. She rolled over and nodded to both of them before they were escorted out, each of them taken to their own rooms and hogtied on the bed.
“Fnkkufrlknnftrss,” Helena said as Jay secured her ankles to her back.
“It was our pleasure – and be sure to tell the girls how brave they all were in the morning,” he said, Helena nodding as he turned the light off, and her eyes closed slowly when the adrenaline wore off.
“The girls asleep,” Jay said as Mrs McPhee came out.
“Aye,” she replied, as he smiled. “Check every fifteen minutes until I receive the call,” he said, “meanwhile, we clean up downstairs...”
It was the noise of the doors opening that woke Helena up. As she looked round, she could see the sunlight coming through the closed curtains, and she could feel the damp cloth as it filled her mouth.
“Hfnkgd,” she mumbled to herself as the door was opened to her room, and she saw a uniformed policeman standing there. “Smmehsbndhrrr?”
“He’s with the younger girls,” the officer said as he walked over, carefully removing each layer of the gag and laying it to the side.
“Is he... Is he all right?”
“He is – they left him tied and gagged in his office, and the cleaner discovered him earlier. Let me untie you, and then you can join the others.”
As she walked out a few minutes later, Portia and Electra ran over and embraced her while Edgar stood with the others.
“What did they make you do?”
“They made me transfer some substantial sums from the company – but it was worth it to know you’re all safe...”
“So did you get what you needed Brian,” Mark said as he sat next to Yvonne.
“We sure did – I think he will find some of his clients quietly disappearing, and he will be the better for it. Did you have fun?”
“We did – and by the way, Australia did well in the contest last night.”
“I’ll have to try and watch it on line – but good job both of you. We’ll talk soon.”
“Well,” Yvonne said, “we have a couple of hours before the kids get back. What do you fancy doing?”
“The crossword?” Mark ducked from the slap his wife was aiming at him, before they both laughed. “Seriously, the bank account has been suitable boosted – let’s book a late holiday.”