Jay’s Doll House
“Come and have a look at this Mum.”
Yvonne walked over to where Lisa was looking into a glass case, inside which sat a variety of girl’s dolls through the years. As she read the labels, she said “have you seen how old some of these are? They are worth a lot of money now, especially in such good condition.”
“I imagine so,” Lisa said quietly, “but people really collect these?”
“Oh yes they do – like antiques, the right ones can be a sound investment, as your father would say,” Yvonne said quietly as they made their way around the Childhood through the Ages exhibition. The family had decided to spend the day in London, but for Mark and his son Charlie that meant going to a rugby match in the afternoon, while they visited the Victoria and Albert Museum.
“I wonder if they played our games in those days as well,” Lisa said as she looked at the ornate costumes.
“Well, I imagine some of them would have, and some of them would not have, just like today,” Yvonne said as she looked at her watch, “anyway, we need to get going – the game will be finishing soon, and we’re meeting your father and brother at Leicester Square. You still fancy some Mexican food?”
“Oh yes – gotta have my nachos…”
“I take it Saracens won?”
“Yeah – beat the mighty Quinns,” Mark Williamson said as he sat in the armchair, holding a mug of coffee, “more’s the pity. The kids?”
“Both asleep,” she said as she sat down, “I meant to ask how Andrew took the news?”
“Of his bonus and pay rise? He was saying something about replacing his plough with it,” Mark said with a smile, “so, ready to hear my idea for our next visit?”
“Why not – I take it this is purely for our own pleasure?”
“Oh yes – but I let Brian and Sarah know,” Mark said as he picked up a manila wallet, and took out a picture of a grey haired man in a tuxedo, standing with an older woman with sandy blonde hair, wearing a silver dress.
“This is Lord and Lady Montfort,” Mark said quietly, “Lord Montfort is the head of Montfort Investments.”
“We’ve met them haven’t we?”
“At a charity dinner – but I have been looking into their accounts, and I think we can make a fair profit from a visit to their home.”
“They live in a large house near Oxford don’t they?”
“Yup – it’s called an taigh babog.”
“Is that Gaelic?”
“With a name like Montfort, what do you think,” Mark said with a smile. “Anyway, they live there with their daughter, Morag, and her three daughters, April, May and June.”
“Let me guess – born in those months?”
“Nope – April is eleven, and born in June – May is ten and her birthday is in October – and nine year old June has hers in January.”
“Fair enough,” Yvonne laughed as she looked at the picture of the brown haired mother, and the three dark haired girls. “Where’s the dad?”
“America – long divorced,” Mark said as he took a drink of his coffee. “There is a live-in nanny come au pair, a twenty two year old Australian girl called Danni. That’s the main contingent we need to plan for.”
“Okay – so we need how many friends? Five?”
“I think so to ensure we are prepared for unexpected surprises. The plan is to make our move on Friday – the local schools are having a holiday, and Agnes – sorry, Lady Montfort – and Morag are at a charity event that afternoon. Gives us plenty of time to get ready…”
“Girls! Remember lunch will be ready in a few minutes!”
“All right Danni,” a young voice called down as the nanny smiled, and made her way back into the kitchen. She had already laid out four plates with some cold meat, and some sliced bread was on the table with butter in a dish. Walking back to the work area, she chopped some cucumber, tomato and lettuce, and put them on the plates as well. The twenty two year old had long dark hair, which fell over her shoulders and the pink vest top she was wearing, the legs of her blue jeans tucked into a pair of short brown leather boots.
Laying the plates on the mats, she called up and said “right girls – come on down.” She watched as June came in first, wearing a black cardigan over a white top, crimson red jeans and black suede ankle boots with three studs on the side. She was carrying a brown hared doll, which was dressed in a blue dress with a black ribbon round the waist, tied with a bow at the back, and brown booties, and she had a black bow in her long brown hair.
April came next, a white Alice band holding her hair back, wearing a grey top with black diagonal stripes over a black vest, black pants with white star dots, and black felt boots. She also had a doll, which was wearing a tartan sleeveless dress and black short boots, the brown hair platted into two pigtails with blue ribbons.
May was last, skipping into the kitchen. Her top had elbow length sleeves, and black and white stripes of various widths, while her black jeans were tucked into the same style of felt boots as April. Like the other two, she had a doll, hers with the hair tied in a ribbon at the back, and wearing a red cardigan over a floral dress, black shoes and white ankle socks.
“I see the girls are hungry as well,” Danni said with a smile, “well, sit yourselves down and we can have lunch. What are you planning to do this afternoon?”
“Play some more upstairs,” April said, “we want the girls to have a tea party.”
“That sounds like fun,” Danni said as she sat down, “well, I will be clearing up downstairs, so stay out of my way for an hour or two, all right?”
“Yes, Danni,” the three girls chorused as they ate, pretending to feed their dolls as well. Smiling, she took a drink from her glass, and started to eat, when she heard the doorbell.
“Funny – not expecting anything,” she said as she stood up, “wait there girls.”
She made her way to the hall, the three girls talking as they heard her talking to someone. As they looked up when she came back in, they saw the worried look on her face – and then the two people with her, wearing black boiler suits, black leather gloves and masks over their heads, only allowing their eyes and mouths to be seen.
“Hallo gahls,” one of them said, a woman with a Scottish accent, “Dianne worry or fret – I’m Mrs McPhee, and this is mah freend Jay Edwards.”
“Hello girls,” the man said in a Geordie accent, “I hope you don’t mind, but I and my friends will be staying a while. Don’t worry – we’re not going to hurt you, but you need to do what we say, isn’t that right Danni?”
“That’s right,” Danni said as she sat down, “so finish your food girls – I think we’re going to be doing something different this afternoon…”
“So what are you going to do,” June said as she ate her lunch.
“Well, I’ll be honest with you girls,” Jay said quietly, “we want your granddad to do something for us later, and to make sure he does it, Mrs McPhee and my friends will help me to look after you, Danni, and your mother and grandmother.”
“And how will you do that,” May asked as she looked at them.
“One moment, my dear – make sure the communications are cut off,” Jay said to someone outside.
“We’ll all play a game – are they yer babies,” Mrs McPhee said as she looked at the three dolls.
“Yeah – we have a lot upstairs,” April said with a smile.
“Well,” Mrs McPhee said with a smile, “do ye have a TV room?”
“In the cellar,” May said.
“Finish yer food – then we’ll all go doon and play a wee game before yer ma and grandma cum hame.”
“Don’t worry girls – I’ll come and play with you. The washing can wait,” Danni said as she looked at the masked intruders.
“This is a very nice room,” Jay said as he walked in, Danni and the girls following as they held their dolls, and Mrs McPhee closing the door before she put a large bag on the floor.
“Noo then,” she said as the girls sat on a long couch, “the fing is, we need tae make sure yer ma and grandma have nae idea whits going on, so we need to keep all three oye doon here, and make sure ye cannae tell them.”
“How will you do that,” April asked. Mrs McPhee smiled and said “I’ll show ye on yer doll. What’s her name?”
“Well, can Mary put her hands together in front of herself?” As she watched, April moved her doll’s arms so the wrists were together, allowing Mrs McPhee to take a length of string from the bag, and tie the wrists together. “See – she canae move her wrists now, can she?”
All three girls looked and nodded as she cut another length of string from the roll, ad wrapped it around Mary’s arms and body, holding them in place. “Oh my – she can’t move now,” April said as she talked to Mary, “but she says she’s all right. What else do you do?”
She watched as Mrs McPhee took two more lengths of string, tying one over the short boots the doll was wearing to hold her ankles together, and around the legs just below the skirt of the pinafore dress. “Is she afraid now,” she said with a smile as she stroked the doll’s hair.
“No – she’s surprised she cannot move though,” April said.
“So if I do the same to your dolls?”
May and June both nodded, and a few minutes later their dolls were also tied up.
“Is this… Is this what you are going to do to us to stop us letting Mum and Grandma know,” June said as she looked at her doll.
“Yes I am – but you can look after yer babies as well,” Mrs McPhee said as she took some lengths of thicker cord form the bag. “Ah’ll start wif yer ankles an’ legs.”
April watched as the masked woman crossed her ankles, and then tied them tightly together, the rope going round and between her legs. “Does it hurt,” May said as she watched, but April shook her head and said “no – it’s actually quite nice.”
“Yer turn,” she said as he moved over to May, crossing and tying her ankles as well, and then June.
“My legs sound funny,” she said as she tried to move her ankles.
“Now Ah’ll tie yer legs,” Mrs McPhee said as she secured the legs together of each of the girls below their knees. They grinned as she stood up, and said “now then – can ye all cross yer wrists in front of yerselves?”
“While they do that,” Jay said quietly to Danni as Mrs McPhee began to bid their wrists together, “put your hands behind your back – you won’t be looking after a doll, but you will also be secured.”
She nodded as she felt the rope holding her wrists behind her, watching as the Scottish woman used longer lengths of rope to bind the arms of the girls to their sides.
“There we go – yer babies and you are the same,” she said as she tied the rope off around June’s arms. “Comfy?”
“Yeah,” June said with a grin, “so we can’t move. What about Danni?”
“I’m going to be right here,” the nanny said as Jay pulled the rope tightly round her chest, and then tied it off.
“Why are her hands behind her back,” May said.
“Because she disnae haf a baby tae look efter – on which note, we need ye to be quiet as well. Watch how we do it,” Mrs McPhee said as she tore a strip from a roll of white tape, and pressed it gently over Mary’s mouth – and then put one on the mouths of the other two dolls.
“Oh wow – like the films,” April said as Jay secured Danni’s legs and ankles.
“That’s right – jes like the films, an now its yer turn. Ready?”
She had used white electrical tape for the dolls, but as April said “me first” she took from the bag a roll of micropore tape, tearing a long length off and then smoothing it firmly over the oldest daughter’s mouth and chin, the shape of her lips visible underneath.
“Dsstwrk – y stddss,” she said as she tried to speak, the other two nodding as they too had their mouths covered with the tape.
“Are you ready, Mister Edwards,” Mrs McPhee said as she passed the roll of tape over.
“Thank you, my dear,” he said as he tore a mong strip off, and gagged Danni as she struggled in the chair. “Perhaps we can give them something to watch until Mum and their Grandmother return home?”
“Of course,” she said as she turned the television on, and two more masked men came in.
“Make sure they are not uncomfortable – inform us if they need help,” Jay said as the girls nodded, holding their bound and gagged dolls as the Barbie movie started. Mrs McPhee then followed him as they left the house, and went back to the kitchen.
“House is secure,” one of the two men there said with a smile.
“Good – let me know if you hear they are on their way back. Mrs McPhee and I are going to look upstairs.” The men nodded as the two leaders walked to the first floor of the house, and opened the door.
“My goodness,” Yvonne whispered in her normal voice, “look at this collection?”
“Yeah,” Mark said quietly as they looked at the shelves of dolls, “someone here is a collector of taste. Explains why the girls each have their own – to keep them out of here.”
“Not a chance – it’s a fairly exclusive market, we’d never sell them on,” Mark said quietly, “best stick to what we do best. Let’s go and check the bedrooms – any safes can wait until the older family members are home.”
“This is our story, what’s yours?”
“Wrreebeenhledhstj” April giggled under the tape, Danni and the other two laughing as they heard a noise, and looking up saw a jeep through the high windows.
“Mmmshmm,” May said, “wnttshbsprsd?”
“Well, all seems quiet,” Morag Montfort said as she got down from the driver’s seat. Hr long grey-brown hair blew in the slight breeze, as she stood in her orange and grey striped top, blue jeans and mid-calf brown leather boots.
“IT does indeed,” Agnes Montfort said as the heels of her black patent leather boots crunched on the gravel. The boots were on over a pair of black tights, a black and white floral print skirt covering her knees, and a red twinset the upper body. Her greying brown hair was cut in a bob. “Let’s go in and see what they are up to.”
The two women walked to the front door, Agnes opening it as Morag went in first.
“Danni? Where are you and the girls?”
There was no response, as Morag said “I’ll go and put the kettle on.” Agnes nodded as she walked into the front room – and a leather gloved hand clamped over her mouth as she was pulled backwards.
“Tea or coffee mum?
Morag looked to the door to see a tall man, wearing a black boiler suit, black gloves and a black balaclava, smiling at her through the mouth hole as his eyes sparkled.
“Hello Morag – my name’s Jay Edwards, and we’ve come to visit with you and your family a while,” he said in his soft Geordie accent as Morag stared at him.
“Jay…. Jay Edwards… Oh my god,” Morag whispered, and then she shouted “MUM!!!”
“Relax,” Jay said in his calm, quiet voice, “my associates will bring your mother into this room in a minute, so please sit down. So long as you do as I and my friends say, everyone remains happy, and nobody gets hurt.”
As she looked to the door, she saw her mother walk in, her arms behind her back as two similarly dressed and masked men came with her. She took a seat, then looked at Jay before she whispered “what’s going on?”
“Good afternoon Lady Montfort – my name is Jay Edwards, and these are my associates.” Agnes looked at him, and then whispered “I have heard of you – where are the girls?”
“At this moment in time, they are in the television room downstairs, watching a film with their nanny. Be assured, they are unhurt, but they – and their own little ones – are unable to come and talk to you at the moment. I need a few minutes with both of you to explain what is going to happen, and to make sure you are both secure, before Mrs McPhee and I bring them up.”
“What have you done to them,” Morag said as she looked at Jay.
“Kept them secure and happy – on which note, my dear, I must ask you to put your hands behind your back, so that we can ensure your wrists are bound as my friends have done to your mother.”
Morag looked at Agnes, who nodded as she twisted round, before she moved her hands behind her back. One of the two masked men walked behind her, and then crossed her wrists before using soft cord to secure them together, the rope going around and between her limbs as she asked “so what is your intention?”
“For now, to keep your family together,” Jay said quietly. “Once Lord Montfort returns, and you have all eaten dinner, one of my friends will take him to conduct some business at his place of work. All the rest of you will remain here with Mrs McPhee, my friends and I, to ensure he does what I want him to do.”
“So we are hostages?”
“Think of it, Lady Montfort, as an insurance policy,” Jay said with a smile as the second man took a long length of rope, and started to bind her arms to her sides, her cardigan forced open as the ropes tightened above and below her chest.
“And we are the surety?”
“Precisely – but I assure you, we have no intention of causing you harm, so long as everyone does what we ask them to do.”
“But you are tying us up,” Morag said as her arms were also bound to her sides.
“Indeed – a necessary precaution, but we want you to assure the girls there is nothing to fear – and one way is to show you are just like them. At this time, the only difference is that their hands are bound in front, not behind, so that they may care for their babies as well.”
“Their… Oh my lord,” Agnes said quietly as the ropes were tied off, “you tied up their dolls as well?”
“and kept them quiet – but it helped the girls to relax and accept what was happening, so that served a purpose,” Jay said quietly, “so, shall we go into the front room?”
“Do we have a choice,” Agnes said as she stood up, the ropes holding firm as she and Morag walked into the front room. Jay indicated two large leather armchairs, the two women taking a seat and watching as the two men crossed and bound their ankles tightly together. They then secured their legs below their knees, the leather of their boots squeaking as their legs rubbed together.
“Now,” Jay said quietly, “I am afraid I need to make sure you both remain quiet, but after this I will bring the girls up to join you, as well as Danni. Remain calm, do not struggle.”
“And you will not hurt us?”
“And we will not hurt you – please purse your lips, Lady Montfort.”
Morag watched as Jay tore a strip of white tape from a roll, and then pressed it firmly over her mother’s mouth and chin, covering her lips as he did so. Tearing a second strip off, he pressed it firmly over her own mouth, the tape tugging slightly on her skin as he smoothed it into place.
“Ensure we have their mobile phones disconnected,” Jay said as he placed the roll of tape into a bag, and then left the room for a few minutes.
“Reullrrhtmm,” Morag said as she twisted round, trying to get comfortable. She saw her mother nod, but Agnes remained quiet as she twisted slightly round. She looked at her mother, wondering what was going through her mind, but she was soon distracted by a call of “Hhhlmmm… Hlllwgrnneee…”
“Lady Montfort, Morag,” Jay said as he carried June in, her doll resting on her lap as she stayed in her arms “my friend and partner, Mrs McPhee.”
“A reel pleasure tae meet bof o’ ye,” Mrs McPhee said as she placed May on the long couch next to June, both of them smiling under their tape gags.
“Rygrrlssslrht,” Agnes said as she looked at them.
“Wwwsshddbrrbbee” May said as Jay and Mrs McPhee left the room for a few minutes, and then came back, Mrs McPhee sitting April next to her two sisters while Jay placed Danni in a third armchair.
“Now then,” Jay said as he turned the television on in the main room, “I think you can all watch something up here. In a little while, I will allow Danni to start to prepare supper for all of you, but for the moment, relax, and enjoy singing along.”
“Snngglng,” Danni said as she raised an eyebrow, before Mamma Mia started to play…
“I hope you have a good evening, your lordship,” the driver said as he opened the rear door of the car, allowing Lord Montfort to get out. The grey haired man collected his briefcase, and said “I hope so as well – I have a quiet evening planned with the grandchildren. I’ll see you in the morning Benson.”
“Very good your lordship,” the driver said as he closed the door, and then got behind the wheel of the Jaguar, Lord Montfort watching as it went down the driveway. Smiling, he saw the light on behind the curtains in the front room, and let himself in through the front door.
“I’m home,” he called out as he put his briefcase on the floor, and closed the door, “who wants to come and give me a hug?”
There was no reply, but he could hear what sounded like muffled laughter coming from the front room. “The girls must be planning to surprise me,” he thought to himself as he walked into the front room, saying out loud “so where are…”
Lord Montfort stared at April, May and June as they looked over from the couch, their wrists tied together in front of their bodies as they held their dolls, ropes around their arms, ankles and legs, and tape covering their mouths. As he looked to one side, he saw Danni in a chair, also bound and gagged with her arms behind her back, and then on the other side his wife and daughter also silenced.
“Good evening Lord Montfort.”
As he turned round, he saw Jay standing behind him, he and the two other masked men smiling as he said “My name is Jay Edwards, and we are taking very, very good care of your family at the moment. If you wish us to continue to take good care of them, you will do as we say, understand?”
“I understand,” he said quietly as he looked back in, and saw a similarly clad and masked woman with two other men. “Mrs McPhee, would you release Lady Montfort’s legs please, and escort her into the kitchen while I have a word with both of them.
“O course ae can,” the masked woman said as Jay took Lord Montfort’s arm, and walked him into the kitchen.
“Please, take a seat,” he said as his host sat down, one of the other two men taking his wrists behind his back and securing them as Mrs McPhee brought his wife through. She helped her to sit down, then peeled the tape away from her mouth before she said “Alan, we are all safe and they have not harmed us – but this is Jay Edwards, and I think he’s going to make you do something for him later.”
“My reputation precedes me,” Jay said as he sat on the opposite side of the table, “but your wife is correct. You will eat dinner together – on which note… Mrs McPhee, instruct our friends to release Danni and Morag, and to bring them in here, then keep the girls entertained for the moment.”
As the masked woman nodded and walked off, Lord Montfort said “I have heard of you, so I know what you will do, and I know you keep your word. Please, do not hurt them if I do what you want me to do.”
“Be assured, I have no intention of doing so,” Jay said with a smile, “but they will remain here with us while one of my associates goes with you. He will check in regularly, and ensure your cooperation.”
“I am so sorry, your Lordship,” Danni said as she came in, “they surprised me at lunchtime, and held me and the girls hostage until Her Ladyship and their mother came home.”
“It is not your fault Danni,” Agnes said, “I know it must have been a scare for you as well, but all three of us will face this together now. After all, this is not the first time I have faced this situation.”
“It’s not?” Morag looked at her mother, as she said “no – may my husband and I go back to the girls, I wish to tell them a story.”
“Mrs McPhee, will you remain with our friend here, while Morag and Danni prepare the evening meal?”
As the masked woman nodded, Agnes stood up, her and her husband coming back into the room.
“Please, remove the tape from them – I wish to tell them a story, and give them the chance to ask questions.”
“Do it,” Jay said quietly, one of the men peeling the tape away as April said “Hello Granny, Grandad – are you tied up as well?”
“Well, our arms are,” Agnes said, “and I wanted to tell you that you are all very brave girls. But I want to tell you about something that happened when I was your age…”
“What happened,” April said as she cuddled Mary, the tape still over the mouths of all three dolls.
“Well – when I was about the same age as you, May, I went to a big event with my mother and my grandmother. It was a charity fashion show.”
“Was Great-Grandma a model,” June asked as she kissed the forehead of her doll.
“No – she was a writer for a fashion magazine, and her mother was an actress. Anyway – I always remember what they were wearing. I had on a blue pinafore dress with a knee length skirt, and a long sleeved white blouse under that with a little collar. I was also wearing a pair of white leather boots that came up to just below my knees, and my frizzy hair was in a little bunch at the back of my head, tied with a ribbon.”
“You must have looked really pretty,” May said quietly.
“Well, I think I did. My mother was wearing a purple blouse, and a pair of purple and white striped shorts with a high waist. She had a long waistcoat of the same design on, dark hose, and a pair of knee length white boots which zipped up the front. My grandmother had on a brown dress, with elbow length sleeves and a long skirt, and a white jumper under her dress, the top open to show it. She was also wearing a pair of white boots – baggy ones in her case.”
“White boots on all three of you?”
“Well, it was the fashion at the time,” Agnes said with a smile. “Anyway, I sat through the show, and if I was honest, I was bored. Things got exciting when we got home, however.”
“Why – what happened,” April asked as she looked at her grandparents.
“We got home, and walked into the front room – and that was when someone grabbed me, and I smelt the strong scent of leather from the gloved hand that was pressed firmly over my mouth. I remember screaming, and my mother and grandmother turning round, before they slowly put their hands in the air. I heard a man with a rough voice say ‘very good – just keep those hands in the air, and tell the kid to keep quiet.’”
“Agnes,” my mother said quietly, “please, do not shout or struggle. We have some unexpected guests, and we need to do as they say, do you understand?”
“I nodded as whoever was holding me let me go, and I ran into my mother’s arms. Looking over, I saw three men, wearing smart suits, white shirts, ties – and stockings pulled down over their heads. One of them was smiling, as the other two held what looked like shotguns, with the barrels cut right down.
“’All right,’ the man said ‘everyone stays quiet and behaves, we get along just fine.’ My mother looked at them as she hugged me, and then said ‘tell us what you want, and you can have it – just don’t hurt us.’
“’Then do what we say,’ the man said as he looked at me. ‘You – go and sit on the couch over there, and don’t move.’ I looked at my mother, who nodded as I walked over and sat down, while the man walked over and pulled her hands behind her back.”
“Oh wow – did he tie her up,” April said quietly.
“He did – I could not see what he did, but I saw Mother bite her lower lip, and then he walked behind my grandmother. She said nothing as he made her put her hands behind her back as well, and then did whatever he was doing.
“Disconnect the phone,” he said to one of the two men with the phone, before he was handed by the other man two more long lengths of rope. I watched as he then used it to tie my mother and my grandmother’s arms to their bodies – the same way your mother and Danni had their arms tied today.”
“Oh my,” May said, “do you think they will do that to us later?”
Agnes glanced at Jay, who had been standing listening, and saw him slowly nod.
“We will see,” she said with a smile. “Anyway, once their arms were tied, the masked man made them sit in two armchairs, and then came over and stood behind me. The other man then put the funny gun down, and knelt before he took more rope, crossed Mother’s ankles, and started to tie them together.
“While he did this, the man said ‘put your hands behind your back, little girl.’ I nodded and did as he said, and then I felt him crossing my wrists before he used some rope to tie them tightly together as well.”
“Did it hurt, Grandma,” June said quietly.
“Not really – just like today, he did it in a way that did not hurt, but meant I cold not move my hands apart. He then tied my arms to my body in the same way as my mother and grandmother, while the man tied Mother’s legs together below her knees. He then moved over and tied my grandmother’s ankles together, and then her legs below her knees, folding her skirt back to do it, and then folding it back so that you could not see the band of rope.”
The girls all lifted their legs and looked at them, as Jay chuckled behind them.”
“He then came over and smiled at me, before he crossed and tied my ankles together, and then secured my legs together below my knees. The man behind me then asked Mother to tell her where her jewels and any other valuables were.
“I got the feeling from the look on her face he implied something would happen to me if she did not tell, so she told him where her jewellery boxes were. I heard him walk out, as the man picked up the gun again, and sat on the other end of the couch from me, the funny gun on his lap.
“Mother looked over and asked if I was all right, and I nodded. Oh, I was scared, but with Mother and Grandmother remaining calm, I managed to do so as well.”
“What happened next – did they stop you talking as well,” April said as she looked at her grandmother wriggling round.
“Yes they did – a little while later, the man came back in, and he had in his hand a wide roll of brown sticking plaster. He tore a length off, and stuck it over Mother’s mouth, covering her lips and some of her chin as she sat and looked at him. Grandmother was next, and then he pressed a length of the tape over my mouth. I remember how it tugged on the skin round my mouth…”
“The tape they used on us was nice,” May said with a grin, Lord Montrose shaking his head.
“Well, this was much stickier, and I really could not move my mouth or lips,” Agnes said quietly. “He then made my lie on my side on the couch, before the three men left, turning on the radio and leaving it playing before they walked out.”
“I watched as Mother and my grandmother looked at each other, and they started to struggle, trying to get free. I was too scared to do anything but lie still, as I saw them start to sweat, and eventually they gave up, looking at each other.”
“So what happened in the end,” April said.
“Well, a couple of hours later my father came home and found us, called the police, and then untied us. I remember going to the toilet, and seeing the glue around my mouth from the sticking plaster, before I washed it off. A nice policewoman came and talked to all of us.”
“Did they catch the men?”
“Eventually yes – after they robbed some more houses. The point is, girls, I know how what has happened today may feel, but I am very impressed with how brave all three of you are – and I want you to know whatever happens tonight, we all are.”
“Thanks Granny,” June said as Jay looked at all three of them.
“Dinner will be ready soon,” Mrs McPhee said as she came in, “who needs tae go to the toilet?”
“I do,” June said, the other three nodding. She came over and untied the youngest of the three girls, taking her by the hand as she left the room.
“So what does happen now,” Lord Montrose said as he looked at Jay.
“We will take the girls to the toilets, get them settled in the dining room, and then you can join them,” he said with a smile, “and thank you Lady Montrose. I think your story has made them feel very good about what is happening.”
“It has Grandma,” May said as Mrs McPhee came back and untied her, returning a few minutes later and taking April.
“And now that they are out of the room,” Agnes said, “just what will you do when my husband is taken to do whatever you want him to do?”
“Family time together, then you will prepare for bed,” Jay said, “and we will make sure all of you stay there, quiet, sleeping…”
Lord and Lady Montfort looked at each other, before Jay said “but before then, shall we join the others for supper?” He and one of the masked men helped them both to stand, and then escorted them to the dining room. Inside, they saw three other masked men, as April said “sit down, Grandma, Grandpa – we’re all going to be staying in the seats.”
“So I see,” Agnes said as a chair was pulled out for her, and as she sat down a length of rope was passed round her waist to secure her to the chair back. She watched as her husband was also tied in place, before Mrs McPhee, Morag and Danni started to bring through the dinner plates.
“Burgers and chips for the girl, Pasta Bolognese for us,” Morag said as she gave her parents a plate. “We’ll bring through some drinks in a minute.”
“What did you do with the girls,” Agnes said as she looked at April.
“Well, Mrs McPhee told us when we go to bed we’re going to be tied up and unable to speak again,” she said as the rest of the plates were brought through, “so we left them in our rooms, and we’ll join them later.”
“Ah wanted tae ask,” Mrs McPhee said as she poured drinks into the glasses, “who owns the dolls?”
“Actually, I do,” Agnes said, “I’ve collected them over the years.”
“You have a very fine collection,” Jay said with a smile, “which I assure you is perfectly safe. The babies will play a part later, but that is all.”
“I don’t think even you would find a buyer for them, Mister Edwards,” Lord Montfort said with a smile.
“Oh I would not be so sure – but that is not what my associates and I are here for,” Jay said with a smile. “I suggest you eat up – you have a busy night ahead.”
“Are the burgers good girls,” Danni asked as she looked over.
“They’re delicious, thank you Danni,” June said with a smile. “Really filling me up.”
“Well remember to take your time and chew,” Morag said, “we don’t want you to have hiccups or be sick later.”
“No indeed we do not,” Jay said with a smile, “we do not…”
“So what will we do after dinner,” May said as she looked across the table. “Can we play a game together?”
“Och ae fink we can,” Mrs McPhee said, “although we mae hae tae do fings a wee bit differently…”
“Oh no,” June said as she moved the dog along the board, “that’s me out of the game.”
“Sorry sis,” April said with a smile, “but you are out.” She smiled as June sat back, raising her bound hands to her head and covered her face. The others laughed as Morag picked up the die in her own bound wrists, and then threw them onto the Monopoly board.
“Well then,” Mrs McPhee said as she stood with Danni, “Ah fink ye should come up wif us an’ get ready for bed.”
“Before she goes,” Jay said as he appeared in the doorway, “I believe their grandfather would like a word.”
“Is it time,” Agnes said as she looked up.
“It is,” her husband said as he stood in the doorway, a jacket over his upper body as a masked associate stood behind him. “Girls, Morag, Agnes – and Danni – I want you to do whatever they say, and I will see you when this is all over.”
“We will,” Agnes said with a smile, “but you keep safe as well.”
Nodding, he left the room, Jay whispering “regular updates and inform me when all is completed” to the masked associate before they left the house. “I hope you do not mind the fact they borrowed your car,” she said as she looked at Morag.
“I have a choice?”
“No – no not really,” he said as Mrs McPhee took June by the hand, and walked up the stairs with her and Danni. “Oh, and Mrs McPhee?”
“Afford young Danni the opportunity to prepare for bed as well.”
The Scottish woman nodded as all three of them went upstairs, Morag looking at Jay as she said “so who goes next?”
“Whoever loses – please, continue the game.”
A short while later, both Danni and June came in. Danni was wearing a blue nightdress, while June had on a light blue long sleeved top and purple and blue checked bottoms. Both Morag and Agnes also noticed that June’s hands were covered in a pair of socks, which were taped to the sleeves of her top, and it looked as if her hands were balled into fists.
“What have you done to her,” Morag asked as June sat down.
“You will find out later,” Danni said as April moved her piece, before saying “I’m out.”
“And so ye ken come upstairs.” Mrs McPhee removed the binding on her wrists and ankles, and then took her upstairs with Danni. June waved her hands around, saying “we aren’t going to be able to use our hands” as she did so.
“That’s a given,” Agnes said quietly as they continued the game.
When April came back, she was wearing a pair of tartan pyjamas, again with her hands covered and the white socks covering the lower sleeves of her pyjama jacket. As she sat down, Agnes sighed and said “I guess I am going to be going upstairs now.”
“Please come wi me,” Mrs McPhee said as she released their grandmother, “Danni ye can stay here until May is out.”
As the nanny sat down, Agnes went up the staircase with Mrs McPhee.
“If we can go to yer room,” the masked woman said, “ye can choose what you will ear to bed, and then change in the bathroom.”
Nodding, Agnes went into the master bedroom, and selected a light blue nightdress. Looking at Mrs McPhee, she also said “do I need socks as well?”
“Not yet no – we will cross tha bridge later. Now, go and change in the bathroom.”
As she walked into the bathroom, Agnes paused and looked at herself in the mirror, before she sat down and removed her boots. She could see the pile of clothes on the laundry basket, so she slowly removed her own clothing, keeping her underwear on before she slipped on the nightdress.
“All right,” she said as she came out of the bathroom, and saw May there with Danni and Jay Edwards.
“If you will come with me,” Jay said, “I want you to prepare some drinks for the younger girls before they go to bed.”
“But they cannot hold a glass…”
“Now who said they would be holding the glasses?”
Agnes looked at the masked man, and then went down the stairs with her as she heard Mrs McPhee say “take these lassie an change in there…”
“Hey Grandma – you’re ready for bed… But why are your hands uncovered?”
“I’m going to get drinks for all three of you,” she said as she looked at the others, “so be patient. I’m sure we will all be the same by the time we go to bed.”
“Okay,” April said as Jay took Agnes into the kitchen, watching as she poured some milk into three glasses.
“If I were you, I’d put straws into those glasses,” he said, Agnes nodding as she put the full glasses and straws onto a tray, and then carried it into the front room. As she put the tray down, May came in, the white socks pulled up over the sleeves of her purple top, and a pair of blue pants with red and white spots.
“Now, before we start to get you ready for bed,” Jay said, “one of the adults is going to hold the glass so that you can drink the milk through the straw. June, who would you like to hold the glass for you?”
“Grandma,” June said quietly, as she walked over and sat on Agnes’s lap as she held the glass.
“I want Mummy,” May said, Morag nodding as her daughter walked over and sat next to her, putting her arm round May as she took a drink.
“Please let me have a drink Danni,” April said as the nanny held the glass for her, while all three drank as much as they wanted. As the glasses were put back on the tray, Mrs McPhee said “ahl riht lassies – it’s time to get ye ready for bed, and that means ye cannae move or speak. So, put yer hands behind yer back please.”
The older women watched as Mrs McPhee took three lengths of cord, and secured the wrists of the girls behind their backs, taking the ropes around and between their sock covered wrists. She then picked up a longer length of rope, and stood behind June, wrapping it around her arms and body in two bands as her upper body was tightly bound.
“Wow,” she whispered as Mrs McPhee took the rope under one arm, up and around the back of her neck, and then under the other arm, “this is really tight – and really nice.”
“Good,” she said in her soft Scottish accent as she tied the ropes off, and then started to do the same to May, “in ae minute, we’ll take ahl three of ye upstairs – do ye all want tae be in the same room?”
The three girls looked at each other and nodded as Morag said “use April’s room – it has a large bed and a couch.”
“SLUMBER PARTY!” April called out, the other girls nodding as May felt the ropes tighten on her body, and then looked at her younger sister as they wriggled round.
“If ye want,” Mrs McPhee said as she bound April tightly as well, “Wh’ll sit wi ye for a while.”
“If this is been done to them,” Danni said quietly, “I want to be in the room with them as well.”
Mrs McPhee looked at Jay who nodded as he took some rope, guided Danni’s wrists behind her back, and stated to bind them tightly together as well. He then wrapped the rope around her arms and chest, the bands forcing her chest up and out as the girls watched.
Mrs McPhee led the way, the girls following with Danni, as Jay walked behind Morag and Agnes. As they entered April’s room, Jay noticed a small television on a shelf opposite the bed, and a DVD player attached to it. Mrs McPhee said “Ahl reet – two o ye on the bed, and one on the couch.”
“And where will Danni go,” May said as she looked at their nanny.
“I’ll be on the floor, if I can have a cushion.”
“Och, ae almost forgot,” Mrs McPhee said with a smile. “Sit doon lassies and we’ll fix yer legs first.”
May and June went to sit on the as she took four lengths of cord, crossing and binding their ankles before she bound their legs together below their knees, and then she took care of April as Jay helped Danni to sit on the floor and bound her ankles as well. As he looped the rope around her legs, having folded the skirt back of her nightdress, Mrs McPhee said “lie doon lassies – Ah got a wee surprise fer ye.”
“Wonder where’s she’s going,” April said as she wriggled round, watching as Jay put a cushion on the floor and helped Danni to lie down – then pulled her ankles back and tied them to her chest ropes.
“Are you going to do that to us,” June asked quietly.
“No – but I do need you all to lie down now,” Jay said as she and May settled on their sides, and April lay on the couch. Taking more ropes, he secured the ankles of the two younger girls to the foot of the bed, and those of April to a leg on the couch, while Mrs McPhee came in with three presents.
“While ye were playing, ah made shure yer babies were secured,” she said as she placed a doll next to each of them, changed into nightclothes and with ropes around their bodies – and a strip of white electrical tape over their mouths.
“Are we going to be taped again,” May asked as Jay took the roll of electrical tape, and taped Danni’s fingers together.
“Aye – wi a little sumfing else,” Mrs McPhee said as she took a sponge ball from a plastic bag, and compressed it in her hand, “who wans tae be first?”
“It’s all right girls,” Morag said, “I think we will all be like this.”
“I’ll go first,” April said, opening her mouth as Mrs McPhee pushed the sponge into her mouth and behind her teeth. She felt it expanding and forcing her tongue to the roof of her mouth as she closed her lips, and Jay tore the end of the roll of white micropore tape free, wrapping it round her head and covering her lips before she settled down again.
The other two girls were silenced in the same way, before both Morag and Agnes walked round, kissing them both on the head and telling them they were very brave girls, while Jay gagged Danni in the same way.
“Now then, Ah’ll stay as ye watch a film,” she said as she turned on the television, and selected a film for them to watch, Jay whispering into Agnes’ ear “put your hands behind your back – you’re next to be secured.”
“Tssllrrhtmmdenthrt” April said as she watched the masked man bind her grandmother’s wrists tightly together behind her back, and then wrap more rope around her arms and chest, her nightdress stretching over her chest as the ropes tightened.
“Let’s go,” Jay whispered quietly as he cinched the ropes between her arms and body, and the two older women left the room, the girls laughing quietly as they made their way to Agnes’ bedroom. Once inside, Jay said to one of the masked men “Take Morag to her room, allow her to find some nightclothes, and to change in the bathroom. She knows what might happen if she causes any trouble.”
“I won’t,” Morag said, “I’ll see you in the morning mother.”
“Of course,” Agnes said with a smile as she sat on the bed, another masked man watching as Jay knelt down and crossed her ankles, then tied them tightly together, before her folded the skirt of her nightdress back and tied her legs together.
“I presume I am to be secured in the same way as Danni,” she said as Jay folded back the nightdress and stood up.
“Indeed – but in your case, we will not use a sponge,” Jay said as he went to the wardrobe, and took out a large black square, smiling as he folded it into a wide band and tied a knot in the middle. “Open your mouth please?”
“SO you will not use the tape?”
“Oh I will – but this first. Now, open your mouth please.”
Nodding, she allowed Jay to push the silk knot behind her teeth, tasting the perfume and feeling the soft material on her tongue as he tied the band tightly round her head, and then wrapped the white tape tightly round, covering the cleave gag and further silencing her. As he tore the end free and smoothed it down, she lay down on her side, looking over her shoulder as he pulled her ankles back and secured them to her chest ropes.
“There now,” he said with a smile, “relax, breathe in and out through your nose, you’ll be just fine.” As his mobile phone buzzed, he looked at the message and smiled. “Your husband is proving most cooperative – he would be proud of all of you as well.”
Agnes nodded as Jay said “make sure she is checked every ten minutes,” and left the room, before she wriggled round, trying to get comfortable as the ropes rubbed on her.
“Ah, I see you are ready,” he said with a smile as he saw Morag coming out of the bathroom, wearing a set of pyjamas that matched those April was wearing, “shall we head for your room now?”
“Do I have a choice?”
“Not really, no,” Jay said with a smile as they passed April’s room, Morag looking in to see June sleeping and the others watching the television. Mrs McPhee smiled and nodded as they waked past, and entered her bedroom.
“I’m grateful you kept the girls calm, and us,” Morag said as Jay crossed her wrists behind her back, and lashed them tightly together, before pulling her arms into her sides, the bands forcing her chest out. “How do you do that?”
“It’s a gift,” Jay said in hi soft accent as he passed the rope under one arm, up and around the back of her neck, and under the other arm, pulling it tight before he tied it off. As Morag wriggled round, she felt the ropes rubbing on her as he taped her fingers together, and then helped her to sit down.
“So what happens now,” she said as he crossed and tied her ankles together, and then secured her legs below her knees.
“Experience suggests when I turn the lights off, the adrenaline that has kept you going today will fade, and you will have an excellent night’s sleep. Lie down please.”
“I don’t believe you,” Morag said as she lay on her side, and felt her ankles been pulled back, before there was a tug on the chest ropes behind her.
“See how you feel in the morning – your father is doing all we asked him to do, so this is the inconvenience you endure.”
“Fair enough,” Morag said as she moved her fingers up and down, “and to keep me quiet?”
“Open wide,” was Jay’s response as he held a folded white scarf in his hand, Morag nodding before it was gently eased into her mouth, past her teeth and filling the gap behind there. She then raised her head as he wound the white tape tightly round her head, and laid it back down on the pillows.
“Rest now – and thank you for your hospitality,” he said with a smile as he turned the lights off, Morag trying to move.
“Me fall asleep,” she thought to herself, “how does he think I will manaj tefellsleep….”
“How is Lady Montrose,” Jay said as he closed the door.
“All’s well – the kids are falling asleep now as well.”
“Good,” he said to his associate, “begin the clean up here. I’ll be downstairs…”
As Jay walked down the stairs, he heard the muffled attempts to talk in the girls’ room, smiling to himself as he went down. Looking in one of the bags, he took out a bottle of an energy drink and opened it, sitting down as he made sure none spilled onto the furniture or floor.
“Hey – hae ye got ane o them fer me?”
“In the bag,” Jay said as Mrs McPhee found a second bottle and opened it. “The girls?”
“Awl asleep – their nanny is oot as well. Ah left the boys checking them.”
“Good,” Jay said as he looked at his watch, “hopefully we will get the all clear soon, and we can let them sleep the night through.”
Nodding Jay said “well, they were very cooperative – and you gave it a nice touch with the dolls.”
“Aye – well…”
She stopped talking as Jay took his mobile phone from his pocket, and said “this is Jay Edwards.
“Good – and you have made sure His Lordship is secured?
“Excellent – thank you for your help today. You’ll hear from me in due course.”
“All done,” Jay said as he stood up, “time we left…”
“So how was your night,” the taller of the two cleaners said as they made their way along the executive corridor at Montfort Investments, the early dawn beginning to sign through some of the office windows.
“Not bad – he took me to see a movie, and for a meal, but I had to be up at four to come here didn’t I?”
“The life of a cleaner, the other woman laughed as they went into the outer offices of Lord Montfort’s room, and turned the lights on.
“Hey – did you hear that?”
The two cleaners listened until they both heard the muffled calls, and then walked to the door that led to the inner office. Looking at each other, they cautiously opened the door and looked in – to see Lord Montfort lashed to his office chair, his eyes wide over the band of tape that was wrapped round his head as he said “CCCLTTHPLSLSSS!”
As Agnes slowly opened her eyes, she could hear muffled calls coming from the girls’ room, and looked at the clock at the side of the bed. It showed the time as just after seven, and she wondered why she couldn’t move her arms and legs. It took her a few minutes to remember the events of the previous day, and the fact she had been left this way by the masked Jay Edwards.
“Hmmgddd,” she mumbled as she tried to find a way to undo the ropes – but her taped fingers made it next to…
Agnes suddenly looked to the door as she joined in the chorus of calls, and heard the rush of heavy footsteps on the stairs and in the hallway. “Good lord,” she heard one man say, before a uniformed police officer looked in her room.
“I’ve found Lady Montfort,” he called over his shoulder as he came in, and looked at her. “Are you all right your ladyship? Have they hurt you?”
Agnes shook her head as she heard a third voice say “I found their mother – get the ambulances up here, we’re going to need to cut them free.”
“Dear lord – he put sponges in their mouths,” she heard the first voice say before she heard April say “please – I really need to go to the toilet.” She then sighed as she was able to stretch her legs out, the policeman helping her to sit up before he unwound the tape, and eased the scarf from her own mouth.
“He was found at his office – he called the police, and then we were told to come here. Was it Jay Edwards?”
Agnes nodded as she said “please – I want to see my family.”
She looked up to see Morag in the doorway, wrapping a dressing gown around herself as she came in and hugged her.
“A bit stiff, but they’re all right. They’re more worried about their dolls than themselves.” Agnes looked at her daughter, and then laughed as the ropes were untied.
“Your husband will meet you all at the hospital – we need to take you to get checked over,” the officer said, Agnes nodding as she started to shake.
“Are you all right, mum – you look tired.”
“Oh just a bad night’s sleep,” Yvonne said as Lisa came in and sat at the breakfast table. “I’ll get your breakfast sorted out.”
As she went to the hob, Mark came in, stretching and yawning before he said “Hey Lisa – what have you got planned for today?”
“I’m meeting up with Suzie and Cassie in town – we thought we might do a bit of shopping, if I can get some money.”
“All right – but nothing too extravagant,” Yvonne said. “When did Jennifer leave anyway?”
“She let us stay up late – had she gone by the time you got back?”
“She had,” Mark said, “but I think that’s the last time your mother and I have a late Indian meal, given how little sleep we have had. Is there any coffee in the pot?”
“There you go,” Yvonne said as she handed a mug over, and put a cooked breakfast in front of both of them. “Where’s that brother of yours?”
“Oh let him sleep – he looks so cute like that,” Lisa said with a grin as Yvonne turned the radio on.
“And we are getting reports of a daring armed robbery at a city firm. Although police have issued no details, it is rumoured that it is the work of the notorious Jay Edwards gang…”
“Huh – he’s still out there then,” Lisa said with a shrug, Mark and Yvonne looking at each other and smiling…