Jay’s Checked Day








The wind was blowing over the Northumberland hills as Ophelia Chapel looked out from the windows of her main room.  She was 65 years old, with snowy white hair, and was wearing a red and black checked blouse over a white top, blue jeans and black knee length riding style boots.


“Any sign of any of them yet?”


“Not yet, George,” Ophelia said as she turned to look at her husband.  George was the same age as her, and was also wearing a red and black checked shirt - his check a broader band than that of his wife.  He had short white hair round a balding head, a white t-shirt under his shirt, as well as jeans and brown walking shoes.  “Anyway, we’ve got plenty of time.”


“True, very true,” George said as he walked over and put his arms round his wife, kissing her head as they both looked out of the window.  “Come on – let’s go and make some coffee.”


“Why not,” Ophelia said as they turned and walked out of the room – meaning they did not see the grey transit van as it came up the driveway and went round to the side of the house.




“Ah – that’s good coffee,” George said with a smile as he sat at the table – only to stare at the door that led to the back yard as it suddenly opened inwards, and a group of masked men came in.  They were identically dressed – blue boiler shits, black boots and gloves, and black balaclavas, one of them grabbing Ophelia as George slowly stood up.


“What the…”


“Remain calm, George,” one of the men said as he spoke in a light Geordie accent, “We are going to be in charge today, but so long as you, your wife and the family do as we say, everyone gets a different but fun day.”


“Jay speeks the trufff,” a masked woman said in a broad Scots accent as she came in, and put two bags on the floor.


“Jay…  Jay Edwards?  But I’m retired…”


“True, George,” Jay Edwards said with a smile, “but your son in law is not, and we know this is a day your family come here – so I think we ae in the right place at the right time.  You two – disconnect the telephones and make sure all laptops are where we can see them.”


As two of the masked men walked off, Ophelia whispered “Oh God, please, don’t hurt us…”


“Dinnae worry,” the masked woman said as she opened one of the bags, took out a length of white rope and walked over, guiding the other woman’s wrists behind her back, “Mah name is Mrs McPhee – trust me, ye’ll be jus fine…”


“We just need to make sure you are both ready,” Jay said as the other masked man took more rope, and took George’s hands behind his back.


“What for?”


“The arrivals…”




“Do we all have to have the same type of top?”


“Your grandparents expect it,” Grace Harkness said as she turned and looked to the rear of the Jeep.  Her twelve year old son Tommy was wearing a red checked shirt over a white t0shirt, jeans and brown walking boots, his brown hair cut short.  His six year old sister Bobbie was wearing a red checked smock top with a square neckline, a matching bow tied in her hair, and black leggings tucked into mid-calf tan leather boots.


“Yeah, but – we’re not exactly going to chop down trees are we?”


Grace just smiled as she turned and looked at her husband.  Tom Harkness was forty years old, the same age as Grace, and was dressed in the same clothes as his son, although his head was bald and he had a full beard.  Grace herself was wearing a similar top to Bobbie, with black jeans and knee length tan leather boots.


“He does have a point, you know?”


“Look, this one day a year we all dress in a way Dad likes,” Grace said quietly, “so let’s just do it.  And just be grateful we don’t have to drive back tonight.”


Tom simply nodded as they turned up the farm track, and drove to the large stone building.  Parking in the front of the building, they all got out and walked to the front door.  Grace opened it, calling out “Hey Mum – we’re here” as the others came in, Tom closing the door behind himself.


“Hey Granny,” Tommy said as he and Bobbie went into the front room, Grace looking round as she said “wonder why she didn’t shoot back…”




Grace and Tom looked at each other before they both walked quickly into the front room – stopping as they saw her mother and father sitting on the couch.  They both had their hands behind their backs, and Grace could see the rope round their ankles and legs, the rolled up white scarves pulled between their lips and getting darker at the corners of their mouths.


“Oh my god…”


“You must be Grace and Tom – please, don’t make any sudden moves…”


Tom turned to see a masked man standing in front of the closed door, smiling as Grace saw Tommy and Bobbie standing in front of a masked woman, her gloved hands on their shoulders. 


“Dinnae panic – yer ahl gonna be jus fihn,” she said as their parents noticed the other masked men in the room.


“Oh shit,” Tom finally said, “who are you?”


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


Tom slowly nodded as he looked at the woman, and said “Mrs McPhee?”


“Aye – cum wi me kids, ah’ll gie ye boff a drink ahn explain wha’s gonna happen.”




Tom looked at Grace, before he said “go with Mrs McPhee, kids – we’ll see you soon.”


“Tom, what’s going on?”


“I’m afraid we’re all going to be hostages,” Tom said, “and I will be going back to the office later tonight – right?”


“Very astute, Tom – but we know the rest of the family are coming, so we need to make sure none of you can raise the alarm.  So kindly give my friend here your mobile phones, and then put your hands behind your back.”


“Are you all right, Mum, Dad?”


George and Ophelia both nodded as they held their phones out, and then felt their wrists being crossed behind their back by two of the masked men, then the rope rubbing no their wrists as they were secured together.


“I’ve read about Jay Edwards,” Grace said quietly, “he’s going to tie all of us up and keep us to force you to do something for him?”


“Yeah,” Tom said before he felt the rope suddenly tighten round his wrists, “but they won’t harm anyone if everyone stays calm, and does what they say.  I believe him.”


“So do I – I wonder why,” Grace said as Jay helped George and Ophelia to move to one end of the long couch, and they were guided over to sit down at the other end.


“How long,” Grace said as she looked at her mother.


“Hrrhhsh,” Ophelia as Grace heard the squeak of rope on leather, and glanced down to see the masked man securing her ankles together.  The second one was doing the same to George, before both of them had their legs secured together below their knees as well.


“What’s going to happen to Tommy and Bobbie?”


“Oh Mrs McPhee is taking good care of them,” Jay said with a smile, “and they will come in later, once your sister and her children have arrived.  For now, Grace, I need you to do something for me.”


“And that is?”


“Open your mouth wide…”




“Nearly there,” Sally Chapel said as she looked in her rear-view mirror.  Like her sister, she had long dark brown hair, and her red checked shirt was over a black vest.  Dark pants and short black ankle boots completed her outfit.


“I hope Tommy’s there,” ten-year-old Kelly said as she looked out of the window.  She had long blonde hair, and was wearing a checked blouse, with jeans tucked into short brown Ugg boots – but her blouse was blue.


“Kelly and Tommy, sitting in a tree…”


“Shut it, squirt,” Kelly said as she looked at her little brother.  Frank was eight years old, and was wearing the red checked shirt, blue jeans and brown walking boots.


Sally just shook her head – it was the first time they had met with her family since the divorce, and she hoped her mother was not going to rake over the still smouldering embers of that experience.  “Right, here we are,” she said as she drove up to the front of the house, seeing the jeep there as she stopped and turned the engine off.  “You two run in ahead – I’ll bring the bags in.”


“Okay, mummy,” Kelly and Frank said as they jumped out, slamming the car doors shut before they ran into the house.  Sally shook her head and got out, walking to the rear of the car and removing three overnight bags before she closed the boot lid and locked the car.  Walking to the open door, she walked in and said “hey – where is everyone?




There was no reply, as she walked into the front room and said “oh my god…”



“Oh my god!”

“As ye can see, yer cousins ahr all safe,” the masked woman said as Kelly and Frank looked at Tommy and Bobbie.  They were sat on bean bags in the back room, their wrists bound together with white ropes that ran down to their knees, and then their ankles, rolled up white scarves pulled between their lips and tied round their head.


“Uhrtthrn,” Tommy said as he nodded his head, “Lhsshnthmhssmhcfh.”


“To whom?”


“Ah’m Mrs McPhee,” the masked woman said, “ahn mah friend Jay is telling yer mammy what is happening.  Noo, we need tae make sure ye boff are like yer cousins – but it disnae hurt, and when ye are ready, we’ll all play a game.”


“So we have to be tied up as well?”


“Aye – so get comfy on thae bags.”


Frank and Kelly looked at each other, and then sat down, Frank watching as the masked woman took a length of rope and then bound his sister’s wrists together in front of her.


“Does it really not hurt?”


“No – no. it doesn’t”, Kelly said quietly as Mrs McPhee took the rope down and secured her legs together above her knees, and then her ankles as well, before she took the rope backup and round her wrists.  Smiling, she took another length of rope from a bag and said to Frank “yer turn, son – hands togefer.”


“You talk funny?”


“Nah – ah’m just frae up north, more north than mah friend Jay,” Mrs McPhee said with a smile as she wrapped the rope round his wrists, and he watched her tie him up like the others.,


“So are we hostages all day, Tommy?”






“Really, really,” Mrs McPhee said as she tied the ropes holding Frank bound off, and then stood up, taking a white scarf and rolling it into a band as she said “Open wide, lassie.”







“I am, Sally,” Jay said as she tied the ends of the scarf together at the base of her neck.  She was sat in an armchair, looking at her sister, her brother in law, her parents – all dressed in similar clothes, and all bound and gagged.  “Now, why don’t we put a film no for all of you to watch.”




“MY friend Mrs McPhee is taking very good care of them,” Jay said as he selected a film and put the television on.




“Nope,” Jay said with a smile as Bandits started to play.




“Fhknuhhh,” Bobbie said as Mrs McPhee led her back in, and let her sit back down before she re-secured her legs.


“Noo then - wanna watch a film?”


All four children nodded as she switched on the wall mounted television, and they watched Willy Wonka, the cloths getting wetter in their mouths…










“Hllgghrhdnmh,” Tommy said as he led the four children into the room, Mrs McPhee smiling as she looked at the masked guards.


“Will ye untie the ladies, please – the kiddies chan stay wi their pa ahnd grandpa while we prepare sum food.”


 “Of course, Mrs McPhee,” one of them said as they knelt down and released the legs of Ophelia, Grace and Sally.  As they stood up, the children sat on the floor as Jay knelt down and re-secured their legs with the rope that was hanging down from their wrists.


“Once the food has been prepared, and you have eaten,” Jay said, “the children can be taken upstairs.  My men have placed their bags in the bedrooms, so they can get changed for bed before we take Tom for a drive.”




Kelly nodded as she watched the room start to get darker.



“Uh cahn remove the gahgs,” Mrs McPhee said as she finished untying Ophelia, the older woman nodding as she pulled the scarf from her mouth.   She looked at the very dark patch, before she said “I’m so sorry girls.”


“It’s all right mum,” Grace said, “although I’m surprised I am not more scared.”


“Me neither Mum,” Sally said as she rubbed her wrists.  “So we cook supper?”


“Aye – ye can decide whit,” Mrs McPhee said as she looked at Ophelia.


“Let’s make it simple – raid the freezer for finger food.  No knives – acceptable?”


“Guid idea.”


“Why?  Why do you do this?”


“Ach, tha would take tae long – suffice tae say Jay ahnd ah are really, really guid at this.”


“So we have to be your – hosts?”


“Aye – let’s git started…”




It was dark outside as Ophelia felt the rope tied tightly round her waist; her family sat round the table as Jay pushed her chair in.


“Go on – eat.  You must be all hungry.”


“I’m starving Grandma,” Frank said, Bobbie nodding as she drank from a glass.


“So what are you going to do after this, Mister Edwards?”


Jay smiled as he said “well, I will be honest with you Bobbie – we are going to let you all put on some nightclothes, and then we are going to tie you all up and gag you again, so that you cannot raise the alarm.  But here’s the thing – your parents and grandparents will also be in the same situation, ready for bed, tightly bound in the same way, and gagged in the same way – except for your father.  I need him to do something while we look after the rest of you.”




“I’ll be all right,” Tom said as he looked round the table, “I need you all to do whatever you are told to do, and I’ll see you all when this is over.”


“Okay Daddy.” Tommy said quietly.


“If that is going to happen,” Sally said quietly, “I want to be with my children.”


“Me too,” Grace said as she looked at Tommy and Bobbie.”


“Not a problem – but they will be prepared before you are…”


The children looked at each other and grinned as George said “Well, let us just be grateful we can be together, and get through this together, agreed?”






“Now, you promise you will not make any noise or try to raise the alarm?”


“We promise,” Ophelia said as she hugged Frank and Kelly.


“Guid – cum wi me,” Mrs McPhee said as she looked at Tommy and Bobbie, Grace and Tom nodding as they walked behind them with one of the masked men.  He had a canvas bag in his hands, and Grace could see the ropes in the open top.


They walked up the stairs, and stopped outside the bathroom.  “Yer clothes fer bed are in there,” she said as she opened the bathroom door, “go in ahn get ready.”


“Remember to brush your teeth,” Grace said as her children walked in, Tom putting his arm round her as she whispered “are you going to be all right?”


“I will be,” Tom said, “but it will be easier knowing you and they are safe as well.”


Grace slowly nodded as her children came back out.  Tommy was now wearing a blue t-shirt and shorts, with a red and white stripe at his chest, while Bobbie was wearing a one piece purple and white striped sleepsuit with long arms, her feet covered.


“I put these on as well,” Tommy said as he pointed to the white sports socks on his feet, “but why were these two pairs in there as well?”


“Ah’ll show ye,” Mrs McPhee said, “if ye hold these in yer hands ahn make fists.”  She gave each of them a half sponge to hold in their hands, Tommy and Bobbie looking at each other as she took a roll of silver tape, and covered their hands so they looked as if they had boxing gloves on.


“We’re…  We’re not going to get free easily, are we?”


“Tha’s the idee,” the masked woman said as she pulled thew white socks up over their arms, Grace and Tom holding each other as she took white tape and taped the tops of the socks to their arms.  “Noo, out yer hahns behind yer backs, ahn stand still.”


“Here they go,” Grace whispered as Mrs McPhee took lengths of rope from the bag, and then crossed Bobbie’s wrists behind her back before she secured them together over the socks.  She did the same to Tommy, her children looking at each other as she then tied rope round their waists to keep their wrists against their backs.


She then took a longer length of rope, doubled it over, and passed it round Tommy, forcing his arms against his sides as she formed one band round his stomach, and another round his upper arms.  She tied the rope off, and then did the same to Bobbie as she said “it feels as if I’m being hugged.”


“Don’t be scared…”


“I’m not, mummy – I’m excited,” Bobbie said, Tommy nodding as Mrs McPhee looked at them.


“No, time fer ye tae be quiet – open yer moofs.”


As their parents watched Tommy and Bobbie each had a folded cloth put into their mouths, before Mrs McPhee put the knotted part of a towelling strip in their mouths and tied it round their heads, pulling back the corners of their mouths.  She then wrapped white tape round their heads, covering their mouths and the cleave gag, and then silver tape over the top of that.”


“Can ye say sumfin?”


“Shmmhffnn,” Tommy said, Bobbie smiling as Jay Edwards came up the stairs.


“Excellent – Mrs McPhee, would you take the children down and bring Sally and her children up, while I take care of Grace here?”


“Go with her,” Tom said as the bound and gagged children walked down the stairs, Jay looking at Grace as he said “you also have a nightgown in there – please, go and get changed.”


“All right,” Grace said as she went into the bathroom, Tom waiting until she came out wearing a sleeveless white nightie which came down over her knees.


“Excellent,” Jay said with a smile, “now, hold these for me…”







As Sally brought Kelly and Frank up, she stopped as she saw Jay tucking the rope under her sister’s left arm and pulling it back.  Grace had her wrists secured behind her back, and bands of rope framing her chest, holding her arms against her sides and cinched between her arms and body.


“I saw the kids…  So that is what is going to happen to us?”


“Yeah – think Dad is going to like this?”


Sally burst out laughing as Mrs McPhee said “gae in ahn get changed, kids,” and ushered Frank and Kelly into the bathroom.


“Take Tom to his office,” Jay said as he looked at his partner, “check in every thirty minutes, make sure he does what we ask him to do.”


“Stay safe,” Tom said as he kissed his bound wife, and then walked down the stairs as Jay looked at Grace.


“Time for you to be quiet.”


“What does he – oh…




When Frank and Kelly came out, they saw their aunt walking down the stairs with a silver band round the lower half of her face, trapping her hair against the back of her neck.  The older girl was wearing a grey short sleeved top and a pair of pink shorts, while her brother was wearing…


“Well, one of us has to be the same,” Frank said as he stood there in his red and black checked pyjamas, the socks pulled up over the bottom of the legs.


“Aye, quite richt,” Mrs McPhee said with a smile as Jay said “you can go and change as well, Sally – I believe you have your own choice of outfit in there.”


“Not that, Mummy!”


“You’ll see,” Sally said as she went into the bathroom, closing the door as she heard the masked woman say “huld these fer me.”  She stood for a moment, shaking, before she pulled herself together and started to remove her own clothing, adding them to the pile on the floor.


When she came out, she was wearing a onesie – a white one, with a cat’s face on the front and yellow trim and booties.  There were pictures of butterflies on it, her children shaking their heads as Jay pated the silver tape down on Kelly’s head.


“Ah’ll take them doon,” Mrs McPhee said as Jay looked  at Sally, then gave her two half sponges to hold and said “shall we?”


“I have a choice?”


“No.”  He smiled as he wrapped the silver tape round her wrists, and then covered them with the socks which he pulled up her arms, and taped the tops to her sleeves with white tape.  She allowed him to take her covered hands behind her back, and felt the rope on her wrists as they were bound tightly together.


She then watched as thew white rope was passed round her, pulled tight under her chest as her arms were forced against her sides, and then taken round her again at her upper arms, pushing down on her chest as well.


“I’m going to be like this all night?”


“You will get used to it,” Jay said as he took the rope round her again and again, pulling tighter with each pass.  It was the strangest of feelings, as Jay secured the rope behind her back, and then took it under one arm, up and around the back of her neck, and under the other arm.  She felt him tie it off, and then wriggled round.


“Okay – the kids and I are going to be together.”


“Indeed – now, open your mouth…”



As Sally walked into the front room, she saw Grace sitting on one couch, Tommy and Bobbie either side of her.  Kelly and Frank were on the other couch, so she walked over and sat with them, kissing each of them on the head as Ophelia and George slowly stood up.


“They can watch television while you get ready,” Jay said as Mrs McPhee started a run of Scooby Doo cartoons, before he and another man went with them.  Ophelia stopped and turned, saying “you are all very, very brave,” before she and her husband were escorted up to their bedroom.


“Please,” Jay said as he closed the door, “change for bed.”


“Do you have to be in here?”


“Yes – but you are safe with us,” Jay answered with a smile, Ophelia nodding as she sat on the bed and unzipped her boots.


“We’ve been all right so far, George,” she said quietly as she removed her top, “let’s just give thanks we will be together.”


Georg nodded as he changed into a pair of blue and grey checked pyjamas, while Ophelia donned a white nightdress with a floral print on it.  They then stood at the foot of the bed, embracing each other and kissing as Jay and his partner secured their wrists together behind each other’s backs.


He then wound a long rope round both of them, forcing their upper bodies together as they looked into each other’s eyes.


“We’ll talk later, right?”


“Right,” George said as the clothes were pushed into their mouths, and then the knotted towelling stirps pulled between their lips so that the corners of their mouths were pulled back.  The white and silver tap went round next, before Jay and his partner helped them both to lie on the bed and move up.


As their legs and ankles were secured they gag kissed each other, before Jay secured their ankles to the foot of the bed with ropes, and then said “don’t worry – your daughters and their families will be safe in the other bedrooms.”


“Fhnkuh,” Ophelia said as he looked at his partner.  “Fifteen-minute checks,” he said as they both left the room, turning the lights off as he felt his phone vibrating.


“This is Jay.


“Good – execute and keep in touch.”  He walked back down the stairs and into the living room, Mrs McPhee smiling as he saw Tommy and Bobbie resting their heads against their mother.  Their eyes were closed, and they each had rope around their ankles and their legs below their knees, securing them together.


“The poor wee fings are knackered,” Mrs McPhee said.


“Thkkhshp,” Grace mumbled, Sally nodding as she sat with Kelly and Frank.  Jay nodded and lifted Tommy up, Mrs McPhee lifting Bobbie as another masked man helped Grace to stand, and she walked with them out of the room, up a staircase and into a bedroom with a large bed in the centre.


“Sit down,” Jay said as Grace took a  seat, the masked man kneeling and starting to bind her ankles tightly together as he and Mrs McPhee laid the bound, gagged and sleeping children down on one side of the bed on their sides.  They then tied lengths of rope round the rope holding their ankles together, and secured them to the metal frame at the foot of the bed as Grace was helped to lie on her side facing them.


She felt her ankles being drawn back, the rope round her legs below her knees tightening as she was hogtied, and then looked at Jay as she mumbled “fhnkuh.”


“Remain calm – all will be well,” Jay said as he and the other two left, Grace shifting round as the lights went out.




As they walked back down, they saw that Kelly and Frank had also both fallen asleep, but Sally had stood up and was looking at their captors.




“Are ye sure?”


She nodded in response to Mrs McPhee’s question, as Jay and his partner lifted the children up and sat them in the armchairs bending their legs and loosely tying their ankles to their chest ropes as Sally sat back down on the couch.  She then watched as Mrs McPhee secured her ankles together, the white material of her onesie compressed under the tight band, and then round her legs below her knees.  She then helped the bound and gagged woman to lie on her stomach and hogtied her, before Sally rolled onto her side as Jay took his phone out.


“This is Jay,


“Good – secure him, and we will talk tomorrow.”




“He did it – now relax, sleep, this will all be over soon.”


Sally nodded as they turned the lights off, and she slowly closed her eyes…








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