Jay Spends the Day
As Jacquie Christie slowly opened her eyes, she turned her head to see the green digits on the alarm clock showing it was seven am. Normally, she would be getting up now, and starting to make some coffee for her and her mother before her two daughters, Emma and Janna, woke up. But today – today was going to be a very different day, and she knew that as she looked at each side of her.
Emma was on her left, wearing her black and white stiped pyjamas, her eyes closed as she snuggled in with her head. Looking to her right, she saw Janna with her longer, darker hair, wearing her leopard print pyjamas. She too was asleep, and she was glad of that, given what had happened in the early hours of the morning.
The signs of which were clear on all three of them – the white rope that held their crossed wrists together in front of them, and then ran down to the second band holding their legs together below their knees, and then their ankles. She could also see the white tape over the mouths of both her daughters, and feel a strip of the same tape tugging at her own mouth.
As she tried to speak, the memory of that wake up was still fresh in her mind…
“Mummy, will we all be the same?”
“Ai ye will,” the masked woman with a Scottish accent had said as she smoothed the tape over Emma’s mouth, and then tore a second strip off as she walked over. “Mah friend Jay is talking to yer Grannie, and when ye wake up in the morning ye’ll all hae a very special day, ain’t that right Mummy?”
Jacquie had nodded as she kissed her older daughter’s head, and then Janna’s after the tape had been pressed over her young lips. “I promise you, nothing bad is going to happen,” she said before her own mouth was covered in tape, and the light was turned off, the two girls snuggling into her sides as she hummed a lullaby…
Looking up at the ceiling, she wondered if Gerry would be in bed yet. Her husband was on a business trip in the US, but if this was indeed Jay Edwards in their house, was he expecting Gerry to do something in Seattle for their safety?
The door opened to her room as Jacquie looked up, and saw the black balaclava masked head of Jay Edwards look in. He put a gloved finger to his lips, smiled and nodded before he closed the door again, Jacquie wondering where he was going now…
Amanda Christie opened her eyes, looked at the masked man standing there with another behind him, and groaned as she said “Hmhhghhddhtwhssnthdrhm.”
“No, it wasn’t” the masked man said in his Geordie accent, “and it’s time to start a very special day Mrs Christie.”
Amanda nodded as she twisted round, the ropes above and below her chest stretching her red nightgown over it. She had been the one to open the door at one that morning, to be confronted by the masked and armed intruders as they made their way in. Their leader – the one who was speaking now in his soft Geordie accent – had made her go into the bedrooms of her granddaughters with the one woman with the group, wake them, and then take them into the master bedroom, while she had been brought back to her own room. There, they had bound and gagged her, and now as the ropes were removed from her legs and she was allowed to sit up, she wondered what was going to happen.
“In a minute,” their leader – she had heard him called Jay – said, “you may go and shower, and then come and dress before we take you down to have breakfast. Your family will join you when they are ready. Remember what we said – any phone calls, make them short, and nobody knows we are here.”
Amanda nodded again as her arms were released, and she stood up, rubbing her arms and wrists to get the circulation going again as she was escorted to the bathroom, her dressing gown on her arm. As she walked in, she peeled the tape from her mouth and looked at herself, remembering what she had been told…
“In the morning, you will all make calls to cancel most of your appointments for the day. We know you are expecting guests – they will join all of you, and you must not give any indication to them of what is happening.
“If anyone calls, and they ask for the man of the house, you give the phone to me. If it is your son, you give the phone to me. Anyone else, you apologise and say they will be called back.
“If you are expecting any deliveries, tell us in the morning, and we will handle them. Otherwise, you do as we say, and remember – we are in charge.”
“Oh, they are in charge all right,” she whispered to herself before she started the shower, stripped off, and got in…
“Yshhstsssmme,” Jacquie said as she looked at Emma, the young girl’s eyes wide open as she twisted on the bed.
Jacquie nodded as the door opened, and the masked women came in with one of the men. “Guid murnin,” she said in her broad accent, “we’re gonna untie wee Emma here first, and let her go to the toilet an things, then take her doonstaers. Ye and Janna will cum doon later.”
Jacquie nodded as the woman untied her older daughter, the ten year old waiting until she as free before she was helped to stand up, and held the woman’s leather gloved hand as she walked out. On the other side, Janna opened her eyes slowly and said “Ghddmhrrnnnmmee.”
“Heluuumyprnsesss,” Jacquie said as she pressed her tape covered lips on the eight year old’s head. Whatever was going to happen, she would be brave…
“Are you all right Emma,” Amanda said as she saw her older granddaughter come into the kitchen. She had changed into a long sleeved black jumper, a long black leather skirt and high black leather boots.
“I’m all right Granny,” the girl said as she sat in a chair, raising her arms as the masked man tied some rope round her waist to make sure she stayed there, and then walked round, wrapping some rope round her ankles as the soft brown fabric of her Ugg boots compressed under the tight binding. She was also wearing a mustard coloured t-shirt with a grey shrug cardigan, a faded denim skirt and dark tights.
“Well, I’m cooking a hot breakfast for all of us,” her grandmother said as she stood at the stove, “so have some juice and some cereal – perhaps the man will pass it to you?”
The masked guard nodded as Emma asked for a glass of orange juice and some cork flakes, pushing her into the chair and giving her the food as Janna came in. Like her older sister, she was wearing brown Ugg boots, a pair of dark tights and a denim skirt, but she had on a pink t-shirt with a black cat on the front.
“Mummy will be down soon,” she said as she was tied to the chair, and her ankles secured, “may I have some juice as well please?”
“Of course,” the man said as Emma and Janna started to eat. As they did, the Scottish woman came in and said “Ye need tae see Jay.”
“Of course, Mrs McPhee,” he said as he went off, Amanda looking at her and saying “do you get some sort of pleasure out of terrorising families.”
“It’s our way,” Mrs McPhee said with a smile, “although I grant ye, we normally arrive during the day and stay awl night. This is a wee bit different.”
“So what will you do today?”
“Awl in good time,” she said with a smile as Jay Edwards came in with Jacquie. She had also showered and dressed, in her case in a black cardigan over a round necked top, a faded denim skirt, and black knee length leather boots. She sat in a chair, raising her arms as Jay tied her waist to the chair back, then watching as he knelt and tied her ankles to the front legs of the chair.
“Are you all right, Mum,” she said as she poured herself some juice.
“I’m fine – and the girls seem fine as well,” Amanda replied as she put plates of sausages, bacon and potato scones on the table, then handed her daughter in law some coffee and put a cup down herself before she was tied to her chair in the same way as Jacquie.
“There now,” Jay said in his soft accent, “so far, so good. You all got some more sleep, and are having a good breakfast. You’ll need it for today.”
“But you haven’t said yet why you’re doing this,” Jacquie said quietly as she sipped her coffee, “so why?”
“Oh, for a number of reasons – you’ll see soon enough…”
“Arrive in the night and leave during the day?”
“I know, I know,” Brian Holderness-Carter said as he sat opposite Mark and Yvonne Williamson, “but there are a number of reasons why we need you to take the Christie hostage in this way – and any guests that arrive that day. I promise, none of the Kidnap Gang know them.”
“For which we are grateful – but they’re in Australia or the US, and the kids are with their grandmother for a fortnight,” Mark said as he looked at the files. “The man of the house will be in Seattle – I know, I asked him to do something for me out there.”
“And he will do again,” Brian said with a smile, “but we need all parties in one place, secure. Ready for the challenge?”
As they finished their cooked breakfast, Mrs McPhee collected the plates and put them in the dishwasher, while one of the men went round, taking the wrists of each of them behind their backs and tying them together, as Jay looked at them.
“Now – what’s going to happen is that we will release the girls from the chairs, and they will go with Mrs McPhee to the front room. As for you ladies, you will remain here a moment while we have a chat.”
“How will we go through to the main room,” Janna asked as she swung her legs up and down.
“Why, we’re gonna jump through,” Mrs McPhee said with a smile as they were both released from the chairs and helped to stand, Emma taking a moment to get her balance as she did so. “And in thair…”
“What’s going on? Jacquie?”
“All right Brian,” Yvonne said as she looked at the family picture, “so we have the Christie family, and the three sets of guests your intel says will arrive while we are there. Anything else we need to worry about?”
As Brian sat back, he rubbed his chin and said “one possible unknown – the two girls are good friends with the next door girl – she’s the same age as Janna. She does have a habit of popping in unannounced, as does her mother – she gets on well with Jacquie. I would be prepared for that.”
“Any other family?”
“Nope – we checked their background. Shona Harper is in her late thirties, her daughter Kerry is eight – in the same class as Janna at school. She’s a single mother – so if that does happen, they join in…”
“Oh my god,” Jacqui whispered as she saw the mother and daughter who had come into the kitchen, “no…”
“Mummy, why do Emma and Janna have their hands behind their backs, and rope on their legs?”
Shona Harper stood behind her daughter, her hands on the young girl’s shoulders as she tried to comprehend what was happening. She had long dark brown hair, and was wearing a short sleeved blue blouse, jeans with the cuffs of her legs turned up, and flat blue shoes. Kerry Harper had a hairband holding back her wavy brown hair, her eyes wide behind her glasses, and was wearing a pink vest top, blue denim Capri pants and brown Ugg boots.
“Hi Kerry,” Janna said with a smile, “we’re hostages – are you going to join us?”
“I think she might,” Shona heard a man say in a Geordie accent as she turned and looked at the balaclava masked speaker. “May I know your name?”
“Shona… Jacquie, is this a robbery?”
“It is,” Jacquie said as she nodded. “I’m so sorry Shona, but I think you’re going to be kept here as well.”
“Hello Kerry,” the masked woman said, “I’m Mrs McPhee.”
“You talk funny,” Kerry said as she looked at her with her friends.
“Aye – cum over here lassie, let’s get you the same as them and we’ll go and play in the front room.”
“Please,” Jay said as he pulled a chair back, “have a seat Shona. You need to stay here with Jacquie and Amanda for a short while.” As she sat down, he took a length of rope and pulled her arms round the chair back, securing her wrists together and to the chair back while Mrs McPhee tied Kerry’s wrists together behind erhu back.
“That’s snug,” Kerry said as she wriggled round, while Mrs McPhee knelt down and tied her ankles together, and her legs below her knees.
“Now you’re like us,” Emma said with a smile, “ready to jump.”
Kerry nodded as Mrs McPhee opened the door, as Jay stood up from securing her mother legs together and to the chair leg. “Are you coming Mummy?”
“In a few minutes – you go first,” she said with a smile as Jay took her handbag, removing a set of door keys and handing them to another masked man. “Go next door – make sure everything is switched off and the house is secured, and then come back.”
“Jacquie, who is this?”
“His name’s Jay Edwards – he and his – friends – hold family hostages while they make the husband…”
“The wife at times,” Jay said with a smile. “We conduct some business with them in return for the safety of their family, Shona. Mrs McPhee will make sure the girls are safe, secure, quiet, but unafraid – so remain calm yourself. Amanda – I understand a delivery is due soon?”
Amanda looked at the clock and said “yes – some groceries in half an hour. Why?”
“Inform Mrs McPhee,” Jay said as another man nodded and walked off. “So, we stay here while that happens – but we need to ensure you cannot raise the alarm either…”
Mrs McPhee put her finger to her lips as the three girls looked at her and nodded, wriggling round as the white tape that covered their mouths crinkled when they giggled.
Amanda looked in and smiled at the three girls as she walked to the front door, opening it and smiling as the delivery man said “Morning Mrs C – got your weekly order here.”
“Thanks Jack – can you leave the bags in the hallway for me? I have some work been done in the kitchen today.”
“Nothing serious I hope?”
“No – fitting a new dishwasher,” Amanda said as he placed a number of bags in the hallway, as well as a bottle carrier with wine bottles, and then watched as she signed for the receipt.
“Well, have a good day,” he said quietly as he went to the van, Amanda waving as she closed the door – and saw Jay smiling behind it.
“Well done, Amanda – let’s get these into the kitchen, shall we, and then you can join the others.”
Two of the masked men collected the bags as they walked into the kitchen, Jacquie and Shona watching as Amanda was sat back down, and her wrists secured together behind her back. Both of the other women were no longer tied to the chair, but had their arms secured to their sides with bands of rope framing their chests.
“He didn’t suspect a thing,” Amanda said as the other two nodded, the white tape keeping folded cloths in their mouths as gags. She watched as her legs were secured, and her arms, before she opened her mouth and was silenced in the same way.
“Swhhthpnnsnww,” Jacquie said as she wriggled round.
“We join the girls,” Jay said as the three women were helped to stand up, and jumped through from the kitchen, entering the front room as Emma said “Wrrwsshnnnscubbedeeemmmee.”
“Seehseee,” she said as she saw the three girls sitting side by side on the couch, their wrists tied behind their backs, their legs and ankles secured, and white tape over their mouths as they watched the cartoons, Mrs McPhee smiling as she sat in another chair. The girls watched as their mothers and grandmother were helped to the other couch and sat down together.
“Ah’ll sort oot the shopping,” Mrs McPhee said as she stood up and walked out of the room, the girls giggling as they twisted round and looked at the other women.
“Hwmmsshlngrrr,” Jacquie said as she looked at Jay.
“Oh,” he said with a smile, “we’re only just getting started…”
“Well, on their own,” Mark said quietly, “the Christie family are worth visiting, but it’s you asking us Brian – so what else is going on?”
“Fair question – it’s more about who regularly calls to the Christie house on those afternoons – and why only those visitors…”
“Thar ye go,” Mrs McPhee said as she put a tray on the low table, with three glasses of milk and a plate of cookies, and then untied the arms and wrists of the three girls, before removing their tape gags. “Drink and eat up.”
“Thank you,” Kerry said as she picked up a biscuit, “so what else will happen today?”
“Wehl, ye gihrls will play a game of Sorry before lunch, and then later a game o Hide and Seek is in order.”
“All three of us?”
“Not just ye three…”
Jacquie’s eyes opened wide as she looked at the clock, and mumbled “hmmmghdd…”
“Indeed,” Jay said as he started to untie her, “a toilet break for you, and then – if you three can keep quiet when the time comes – our next guests will arrive…”
“Do I really have to come today?”
Hilary James sighed as she turned the corner in her Jaguar. The brunette was in her early forties, and wearing a blue blazer with white piping over a blue top, grey leggings and black mid-calf leather biker boots. “It won’t take too long Edie,” she said to her fourteen year old daughter who was in the front beside her, “and then we can hit the shops. But I promised Jacquie I’d pick up the figures from her today.”
Edie James sighed as she looked out of the window. Her hair was a darker brown than her mothers, and was wearing a short black jacket over a long sleeved black top, jeans and short black Doc Marten boots. She knew her mother’s work was important, but when it encroached on her weekend…
The car turned up the driveway and came to a stop outside the house, Edie getting out as her mother did so on the other side, and walking up to the front door. “Smile Edie,” Hilary said as the door opened, and she saw Jacquie there.
“Hey – got those figures for me?”
Jacquie nodded, and said “yeah – why don’t you and Edie come in for a coffee? I need to get the file from upstairs.”
“Are you okay, Jac? You look tired,” Hilary said as they walked in – and then she saw the two masked men, one of them holding a gun as she said “oh my god – EDIE! RUN!!!”
She turned to see a third man behind her daughter, his gloved hand over her mouth as Jacquie said “we’re hostages Hilary – and I’m afraid you and Edie are going to join us. Isn’t that right Mister Edwards?”
“Yes it is,” Jay said as Edie tried to talk into his gloved hand, her eyes wide open. “So, remain calm, stay quiet, and slowly raise your hands in the air…”
“We don’t have a choice, do we – Edie, we are going to do what they tell us to do, understand?”
As her daughter nodded, Jay smiled and said “Excellent – please, dear lady, put your hands behind your back.”
Edie watched as Hilary turned to look at Jacquie, while one of the masked men took a length of rope and crossed her wrists behind her back, securing them tightly together. “The girls and your mother – are they all right?”
“Yeah – they’re in the front room,” Jacquie said quietly, “will they be joining them?”
“While Mrs McPhee and you prepare some lunch, yes,” Jay said with a smile, “as for you, young lady, will you remain quiet?” Edie nodded as Jay removed his hand, and then took her hands behind her back as well, before he started to bind them together.
“It’s all right Edie,” Hilary said as she turned round, and a masked woman came in. “just do whatever they say.”
“Ahnd this is…”
“Mrs McPhee, meet Edie James. Would you take her to join the others please?”
“How… How do you know our names?”
Jay smiled at Hilary as the man wound the rope tightly round her arms and chest, and said “all in good time. When her arms are secured, take her and Mrs Christie into the kitchen – Mrs McPhee will join you shortly.”
“It’ll be all right Edie,” the young girl heard her mother say as Jay walked her into the front room, where Mrs McPhee was sitting with the other three girls – their wrists were tied together in front of them, and fresh strips of tape covered their mouths.
“Hehhllleedeee – wrplhnnnsrreee,” Emma said as she looked up, and Janna took a card, moving a counter as Edie was sat in a chair. She watched as Jay knelt down and secured her ankles together, and then pressed a strip of white tape over her mouth.
“Mrs McPhee, would you please go and assist Jacquie with the preparation of lunch,” he said as Amanda and Shona twisted round, seated next to each other on the two seater couch.
“So she will call, as usual, that morning,” Mark said as he looked at the file Brian had handed him, “but what about the other two?”
“Well, that may need a little creative thinking,” Brian said with a smile, “on your part Yvonne. The daughter of one of them is a class mate of Emma’s – perhaps you can persuade her to invite Miss Masterson to come over, and if she does, her loving mother will be sure to accompany her…”
“So Emma invited you round for the afternoon, just to watch movies?”
“And talk about boys,” Blossom Masterson said as her mother looked at her.
“You’re only ten!”
“And we like to talk about boys,” Blossom grinned. The young girl had long brown hair, held back by a yellow hairband, and was wearing a dark blue t-shirt, faded knee length denim jeans and a pair of grey trainers with white ankle socks.
Joy Masterson just smiled and shook her head. Her long brown hair was flecked with grey, and she was wearing a taupe kaftan style dress with blue trim, a long length of blue silk tied round her waist like a belt as the skirt reached the floor, and open toed brown sandals.
“Well, with your father at the golf club all day, at least it means you’re not stuck in the house doing nothing,” she said as she pulled up outside the front of the Christie house. “Hmmm – Hilary’s here as well. I hope this doesn’t mean I get into a business discussion.”
“It’s your day off Mum – work isn’t going to be discussed,” Blossom said as they walked up to the front door, knocked and walked in.
“Hey Emma,” Blossom called out, “where are you?”
“We’re in the dining room,” she heard her friend reply, “come and join us – I’ve got a big surprise to show you.”
“Oh – what sort…” Blossom walked in and stared at the dining table, the four girls and five women sat in the chairs, ropes around their waists. The younger girls had their ankles and legs tied, the women their ankles tied to the front legs of the chairs.
“Hi Jacquie, what’s…” Joy came in behind her daughter, and whispered “oh my god” as a woman in a boiler suit and black balaclava came forward.
“And ye whuld be wee Blossom – cum and sit here, dearie, and we’ll get you secure next to Emma and your mummy.”
“I’m sorry, Joy,” Jacquie said as the masked men put plates in front of each of them, “we’re been held hostage, and you’re going to have to do as they say.”
“Miss Masterson – Jay Edwards – a pleasure, but please, be seated, the food will be getting cold.”
“Is he getting your husband to do something at his company? In Seattle?”
“I think so,” Jacquie said quietly as Joy watched the masked woman tie her daughter to the chair, then secure her legs, before she pushed her in. “We just have to do what they tell us to do.”
“quite right,” Jay said as one of the other men tied Joy to her chair, “after lunch the kids will go and play a special game of hide and seek, while we retire to the main room and make sure none of you - none of you – can raise the alarm.”
“How long have they been here,” Joy said to Jacquie.
“They came in the early hours – tied Mum, me and the girls up in bed, and they’ve had us as hostages ever since. And they just keep adding – but I can’t call him for another four hours at least.”
“We’ll just have to be brave for each other,” Hilary said, “it’s going to be a long day…”
“That hurts,” Joy said quietly as the ropes were pulled tight round her arms and chest. The older women were in the front room, having finished their lunch, Jacquie and Amanda sitting next to each other on the smaller couch, while Shona and Hilary were on opposite ends of the longer couch. They all had their wrists tied behind their backs, and their arms lashed to their sides with bands of rope above and below their chest, while their crossed ankles and their legs below their knees were also secured. Joy was made to sit between them, and watch as Jay crossed her bare ankles and tied them tightly together.
“Forgive me,” he said then as he folded her skirt back, and secured her legs together below her knees. Strangely, Joy wasn’t afraid – he had explained what was going to happen, while the masked woman – Mrs McPhee – had taken the younger girls one by one up the stairs.
“We will not gag you at this stage,” Jay said as he stood up, “if you all promise to remain quiet.”
“And what are the girls doing,” Amanda said as Mrs McPhee brought Blossom in. the young girl had her wrists tied behind her back, with a length of rope round her waist to keep them there, her ankles tied together side by side, and her legs tied together below her knees. A rolled up white scarf was tied between her lips as she looked at the others.
“Hllbhllrhthtmmmee,” she mumbled as Mrs McPhee said “Good – now, the other girls are all hiding upstairs, so we’re gonna take ye up tae find them. “You be awl rheet doon here, Jay?”
“Of course we will,” Jay said as Blossom started to jump round and out of the door, reaching the bottom of the stairs as Mrs McPhee said “Seet doon and push yerself up.”
Blossom nodded as she sat on the second step, put her tied feet on the first step and pushed herself up, as Jay looked at his watch.
“Please,” Jacquie said quietly, “let me call my husband now…”
“Oh no,” Jay said with a smile, “timing is everything here.
As Blossom managed to get to the top of the stairs, Mrs McPhee smiled as she said “Tak ah moment, and then push yerself onto yer feet.” The young girl nodded as she wriggled back and against the wall, and then pushed herself up as she looked round. She then started to make short jumps along the hallway before she stopped by a partially opened door, and pushed it in with her back as Mrs McPhee watched.
The bathroom seemed to be empty, with the shower curtain closed round, but Blossom could hear muffled giggling behind the curtain. She jumped over and looked at Mrs McPhee, who nodded as she walked in and pulled the curtain back with her gloved hand.
“Hehhlleeddee,” Blossom said as she saw Edie standing there, twisting round as the dark stain on the scarf that was tied between her lips grew larger. She jumped over as Mrs McPhee said “Cum wi us lassie – let’s find the offers.”
Edie nodded as she jumped along, and they went into the next door on the other side of the hallway, which was Amanda’s bedroom. The bed still was unmade, as Edie and Blossom looked at the rumbled covers, and the coils of rope to the side. Both looked at Mrs McPhee, as she said “fer later gahls. Anyone in here?”
As Blossom looked round, Edie sat on the bed and swung her legs to and fro, hitting the base of the bed as she did so, and then she stopped.
Mrs McPhee walked over and knelt down, looking under the high wooden bedstead and smiling as she said “cum on oot Emma.”
Both girls watched as Emma wriggled out and Mrs McPhee helped her to stand up, smiling over the cloth as she said “shssnhxt…”
“What the hell is going on,” Jacquie said as she wriggled round, the other women looking on as Jay quietly chuckled.
“In a little while, all will be clear, and you can make a call,” Jay said quietly, “we just need to wait for one more person.”
“One more…” Jacquie looked round the room as Joy blushed, and said “we were due to meet up anyway, so I told her to come here…”
“You mean if we get the Masterson family there, our final guest will come anyway?”
Brian nodded as he looked at Mark and Yvonne. “Yup – after all, Shannon is her sister. They usually get together on the Saturday, so get Shannon and Blossom to the house…”
“… and Shannon Docherty, and her seven year old daughter April, will join them. Once they are there, and you have them secured, then we can proceed with the full plan. But we really need all four of those women to be there for this to work – and to protect those who need to be protected.”
“So we get Sky and Blossom Masterson involved, and everything else falls into place?”
The jeep pulled up outside the Christie house as a woman in her late thirties opened the driver’s door and jumped out. She was wearing a blue and white striped top, a pair of denim dungarees over the top, the legs tucked into a long pair of black Hunter wellingtons.
She pulled the seat forward and waited as a seven year old girl jumped out, her hair as brown as her mother’s, wearing a pink jacket over a denim blouse and jeans, the legs of her jeans in a pair of short black and brown wellingtons.
“I wonder what they’re up to today, mummy,” she said as they walked to the front door.
“Whatever it is, it’s got to be better than talking work with your aunt,” Shannon Docherty said as she took her felt hat off, and opened the door, “come on April. Joy, are you somewhere with Jacquie?”
“Shannon,” she heard Jacquie call out, “we’re in the front room, can you and April join us for a few minutes?”
“Sure,” Jacquie said as she left her hat on the phone table, not noticing the disconnected wire, and walked in, stopping as she held April and said “oh my god…”
“Mummy – why are there masked men in the room, and why are Aunt Jacquie and the others tied up?”
“I’m sorry,” Jacquie said as she and her mother wriggled on the couch, “you’ve been drawn into our robbery, so please, don’t do anything stupid.”
“Hello April,” the man standing behind Jacquie said, smiling as she stared at his black masked head, “my name is Jay. Why don’t you have a seat with your mummy over there, and both of you keep your hands where I can see them? Now that you are here, we can get to business.”
“Jacquie, where are the girls?”
“Upstairs,” Jacquie said as Shannon sat with April in front of her, Jay nodding as one of the other masked men walked behind her and guided her arms behind her back, “believe it or not, they’re playing a game of hide and seek.”
“Hide and seek? With who – and that hurts.”
“Mummy, will they do that to me as well,” April said as she watched the masked man bind her mother’s wrists behind her back.
“We will, April – but I promise you, despite what your mother says, it will not hurt – once they come down, we’re all going to have some drinks and snacks, and then my friend Mrs McPhee has a very special game for you all to play.”
“Oh yes – and your mummies will be playing as well. Why don’t you take your coat off, and you will see in a little while…”
“Carefully, gahls, carefully,” Mrs McPhee said as she watched the five girls slide down the stairs, one of the other associates waiting at the bottom of the stairs as each one got to the target, then helping them to stand up and jump to the sides as the others came down. They looked at each other and jumped into the front room, Blossom smiling over her damp gag as she said “Hellhhheprhhll.”
“Hey,” April said as she wriggled on her mother’s lap, swinging her bound ankles up and down, “hide and seek?”
“Htwhssfnnn,” Janna said as they sat on the floor in front of the television, Mrs McPhee smiling as she said “Ahnd this is April? I’m Mrs McPhee – do ye want tae watch some cartoons wi the others?”
“Yes please – and can I have one of the cloths in my mouth as well? I don’t want to be different?”
“Allow your daughter to do this Shannon,” Jay said as he rolled up a white cloth and gagged her daughter, before April slipped off her mother’s lap and jumped to be with the others, while Amanda said “now what are you going to do?”
Jay looked at the clock, which showed it was three in the afternoon, as he said “Well, I think you and Jacquie need to accompany me and two of my associates to the dining room, while Jacquie calls her husband, and then you can prepare some food for the girls. As for the other ladies,” he said as he looked at the other men, “one at a time, allow them to be untied and taken to the toilet, and then get them ready for the last event of the day…”
He untied Jacquie and Amanda’s legs as the others watched, and then took them through to the dining room where they sat in two chairs. Jay untied Jacquie’s arms, watching as she rubbed her wrists while he found her mobile phone.
“If we are right, your husband is about to go into a breakfast meeting. Call him, tell him everyone’s all right, but to call you on your mobile if he needs to.”
Nodding, Jacquie took a deep breath and then dialled a number.
“Gerry? It’s Jacquie. Did you get a good night’s sleep?
“That’s good. The girls are busy at the moment, but you can talk to them later.
“Listen – Gerry, there’s a problem with our landline, so if you need to call me, call this number. I’ll have my phone next to me.
“Talk to you soon, darling,” she said as the call was ended, and she looked at Jay. He looked at his watch for a minute or two, then smiled as Jacquie’s phone rang. Swallowing, she picked it up and said “hello?
“Gerry – listen carefully. The man is telling the truth – Amanda, me, the girls, and some others are all been held hostage in our house by the Jay Edwards gang. They haven’t hurt us, but they need you to do something for them.”
She nodded and handed Jay the phone, saying “he wants to talk to you.”
“Mr Christie,” Jay said in his Geordie accent, “your wife is speaking the truth. I am Jay Edwards, and we have you family, your next door neighbour and her daughter, and three of your wife’s colleagues with their daughters in our tender care. I am sure you want them to remain unharmed, yes?
“Good – listen to my colleagues, do as they say, and all will be well. They have instructions to check in at regular intervals – if you try to alert the American authorities, or anyone else, they will contact me and you may regret the consequences.
“Excellent,” Jay said as he handed the phone back.
“Darling, please do as they say – we’ll talk to you later.” As the call ended, Jay said “now – let us prepare some food for the youngsters.”
“This has been an amazing day Mummy,” Janna said as she finished a slice of pizza. All the girls were sat round the dining table, tied to the chairs and their legs secured as Amanda and Jacquie served them food, Mrs McPhee watching with one of the masked men.
“I know – and we’re going to play one more hostage game before Jay and the other leave us – isn’t that right Mrs McPhee,” Jacquie said as she looked over.
“Aye – we need tae mak sure ye all stay and cannae raise the alarm for a while, so ye’ll all be taken to yer mammies and stay in a room with them. They’ll awl be waiting for ye when ye’ve had enough.”
“I think we’re all full,” Emma said as she looked round the table, the others nodding in agreement.
“Okay then – the first fing we need tae do is make sure none of ye can call out or make a noise, so I want ye all tae take one last drink.”
The girls looked round the table as they took a drink, the masked man taking from a bag clean cloths and strips of white towelling, a knot tied in the middle of each strip.
“Noo then – wan at a time, open yer moofs.”
“I’ll go first,” April said as she opened her mouth, Mrs McPhee putting the folded cloth in her mouth and then easing the knot between her teeth before she tied the towelling strip round her head. She made her way round the table as Amanda said “have you done that to the others?”
“Aye – and we’ll dae it tae ye as well later,” Mrs McPhee said as she started to gag Emma, and then looked round. “Can ye talk?”
“Whhchnntreee,” Kerry said as the others giggled.
“Well, now we dae this,” she said as the man produced a large roll of white micropore tape, and handed it to Mrs McPhee as she wound it tightly round April’s head. He then walked round as Mrs McPhee took a roll of silver duct tape, and wound it round April’s head on top of the white band.
“Oh god – will they be all right,” Jacquie said.
“Och aye – one mair thing,” Mrs McPhee said once she had gone round the other girls, she and the masked man then taking white scarves, folding them and then tying them over the taped mouths of the girls. “Noo then, all o ye – lean forward while we tie yer wrists behind yer backs, and then yer arms tae yer sides one last time.”
“And what’s going to happen to us,” Amanda said as she and her daughter watched all the girls having their wrists and arms tied tightly.
“The same,” Jay Edwards said as he came in, “I just talked to my associate, and your husband is cooperating fully.” Looking at the masked man, he said quietly “bind their wrists and arms, then when the girls are ready, we’ll start the final preparations.”
“And then you will leave us alone,” Jacquie said as she felt the masked man take her hands behind her back, and the all too familiar now feel of the rope as he tied her wrists together.
“When all is completed,” Jay said with a smile as one by the one the girls were released from the chairs and heled to stand up, twisting round as they looked at each other.
“Hmmhghhdd,” Joy said as she saw the room to the front door open, and the girls jump in one by one, Jacquie and Amanda following with Jay and Mrs McPhee. She was sat on the floor, her legs bent and rope clearly visible round her ankles, a band round her waist and her upper legs.
“Sthhtthghrls,” Shannon said as she twisted round, the rope squeaking on her wellington boots. She was sat next to her sister, but facing the other way, and the girls could see the knots on the ropes around her arms and wrists.
“It is,” Jacquie said quietly as Mrs McPhee looked at April and Blossom. “Gahls – jump over and sit behind yer mammies.”
The other girls watched as April jumped over and sat behind Joy, sitting herself down and smiling as the masked man in the room tied some rope round the mother and daughter to hold them together. She felt her mother’s fingers gripping her own as Blossom sat behind Joy, watching as they were tied together as well as she said “huhhlhhrhthntShhhnnn?” The older woman nodded, the white scarf covering her own gag as Jay said “watch them,” and the others left the room.
“Swhhssnxt,” Edie said as she looked at Mrs McPhee, the sound of rope on rubber fading as they jumped along the hallway.
“Oop the stahrs fhrst,” she said as Jay walked up the stairs, watching as one by one the girls pushed themselves up the stairs, Jacquie and Amanda walking up with Mrs McPhee before they opened the door to the first bedroom.
“Hmmhghhddd – ehhddeee!”
“Hhhhmhmm,” Edie said as she saw her mother on the floor. Hilary also had her wrists tied behind her back, and bands of rope round her arms and chest, with her legs tied at the ankles and legs. Her ankles had been pulled back and tied to her chest ropes, and a grey scarf covered the bands around her head, keeping her quiet.
“Sit doon, lass,” Mrs McPhee said to Edie, the young girl nodding as she sat down, looking at the way her mother’s jacket had been pulled to the side by the bands of rope round her chest. The masked woman knelt down and crossed Edie’s ankles, tying them tightly together and then securing her legs below her knees before she was helped to lie on her stomach next to her mother, looking over her shoulder as her own ankles were pulled back and tied to her chest ropes.
“We’re all going to be like this, aren’t we?”
“Yes you are,” Jay said to Amanda, “we need to be sure you are all safe, secure and cannot raise the alarm until we are safely away. Check them every fifteen minutes,” he said to one of his associates as Edie and Hilary rolled onto their sides, their heads on cushions as the group made their way to Amanda’s bedroom.
Shona rolled over to look at the door, saying “hfnnkghdduhhllrht” as she saw Kerry jump in, the white cloth holding her gag in place. Like the other women, she had her wrists secured behind her back, and bands of rope framing her chest, stretching blouse as she wriggled round. Her ankles were secured together with rope, a length running from them to the foot of the bed, and a further band of rope holding her legs together below her knees.
“Now then Kerry,” Mrs McPhee said with a smile, “hop oer and jump on the bed.”
“Hkkhheee,” Kerry said as she jumped over sitting herself on the bed and watching as Ms McPhee tied her ankles and legs together in the same way as her mother. She was then helped to lie down on the bed, watching as her own ankles were tied to the foot of the bed, and then rolling onto her side as her mother turned to look at her.
“Make sure they get checked regularly as well,” Jay said, the masked man nodding as Emma and Janna jumped out of the room, Jacquie and Amanda following as he said “so – to your room I think, Jacquie.”
“I don’t get it – why won’t you leave when you have secured and silenced us?”
“Timing is everything,” Jay said with a smile…
“So, we get the four…”
“Or possibly five,” Yvonne said as she looked at Mark.
“Or possibly five families hostage, we get Jacquie’s husband to do some business using one of you contacts Brian – and then what?”
“Well,” Brian said as he sat back, “there is a reason why it has to be those four in the same house at the same time, unable to do anything.”
“And that is,” Mark said as he sat forward.
“Their company – unbeknownst to Jacquie Christie or her three co-workers – has been used as a conduit for funnelling funds to – well, shall we say, unfriendly countries? My seniors want that stopped, but to do so, we need to raid their office and make sure those four are kept well out of the way, so that they are not implicated.”
“So, if I hear you right,” Yvonne said with a smile, “we’re actually the diversion?”
“I prefer to say you are the insurance policy – once you give the word, we move in, raid the offices and arrest who we need to arrest – and you get a reasonable payday out of it as well. So, do we have a plan?”
Yvonne and Mark looked at each other, before Mark said “we have a plan.”
“Ahn there we go – comfy my wee lassies?”
Emma and Janna looked at each other and nodded as they wriggled on the floor – they had been helped to lie on their stomachs, while their mother and grandmother were sat on the bed and their legs secured at the ankles and knees with ropes. Mrs McPhee had then bent Emma’s legs, and secured her ankles to Janna’s chest ropes, before doing the opposite to her sister.
“You promise that’s all you’re going to do,” Jacquie asked as she grunted when Jay and his associate helped her to lie on her stomach, adjusting her skirt as Amanda was made to lie next to her.
“I do – but it is time for you both to be quiet as well.”
“You’ve both beenffrreebrffgrls,” Amanda said as the cloth and knotted towelling strip was pushed into her mouth, then the two bands of tape wound round as Jacquie was gagged in the same way.
“Now then,” Jay said as he pulled Jacquie’s bound ankles back and secured them to Amanda’s chest ropes, then secured Amanda’s ankles to her daughter’s chest ropes, “relax, don’t struggle – your husband is making sure you are safe.”
Jacquie nodded as she squirmed round, the sound of rope and leather from both her and her mother making her daughters laugh under the cloth and tape as Jay left the room, and walked downstairs. Taking out his mobile phone, he dialled a number and waited.
Mrs McPhee looked over as Jay came in and smiled at Jacquie.
“Your husband has done as we asked – enjoy the rest of your evening,” he said as Mrs McPhee waved to Emma and Janna, before they checked the other rooms, walking down and checking the main room before the group made their way out to the waiting van.
“Thank you gentlemen,” Jay said as he got behind the wheel, “your compensation will be deposited soon.”
“And we get home at a reasonable hour – we should do this more often Jay,” one of the men said with a smile.
“For once – we will drop you at the rendezvous,” Jay said as the van drove into the sunset…