The Juniper home
Edna Juniper watched as the door closed, leaving her in darkness, unable to move or speak clearly. It had been a day she was unlikely to forget – none of them would – and as her eyes slowly closed, she thought back to earlier that morning…
He watched as Edna walked out of the house, a black leather jacket over a black dress, dark tights and black knee length leather boots. She turned and said something before her daughters came out after her. Jodie, the youngest, was seven, and wearing a brown corduroy pinafore dress over a long sleeved cream top, grey tights with coloured stars, and short dark brown boots. The older girl, Wilma, was nine, and had on a grey pinafore dress over a red striped top, striped tights and mid-calf brown suede boots.
Edna held the rear doors of the SUV open as the girls climbed in, and then she drove out of the driveway, heading down the road.
“Ah’m gonna make sure they hae a really guid time,” the woman said as she watched the vehicle fade into the distance.
“Indeed,” the man said as he knocked on the back. “Go, secure the house, we will inform you when we are on the way back.”
“Understood,” someone replied before the rear of the van opened and closed. “Shall we?”
The Vue car park
“Thanks for taking us to see the Paw Patrol movie, Mum,” Wilma said as she and Jodie held Edna’s hands while they left the cinema, and the family walked into the large car park.
“Well, I’m just glad Poppy and her mother were able to join us,” Edna said as she looked for the keys to the SUV, “we’ll wait for them to join us, and then head home for some lunch. Now where did I…”
“Good afternoon Edna.”
Edna looked up as she heard the soft, lilting male voice, and turned to see a tall man standing there, wearing a brown jacket over an open necked shirt, dark trousers, and leather shoes. There was a woman standing with him, wearing a white jumper and tweed skirt, who smiled at the two girls. Both of them were wearing dark glasses.
“I’m sorry,” she said as she looked at them, “do I know you?”
“No, but we know all about you, and Jodie, and Wilma,” the man said as he took from his jacket pocket a small gun, “now please, let’s not make a scene – just do as I say, and I promise you it will be an adventure.”
Edna stared at the man, and the gun, before she said “oh my god – you’re kidnapping us?”
“Nah – jes taking ye haim,” the woman said in a Scottish accent as she looked at the girls. “Dinnae be scared, gahls, I want ye both tae sit in yer seats in yer car, while mah friend talks tae yer mother.”
“Do as she says, girls,” Edna whispered as the man took the car keys form her, and handed them to the woman. She unlocked the doors, and said “get in ahn ah’ll secure ye” as she followed them.
“We’re going to take you home,” the man said, “and then we can have a chat about what will happen next. You’re expecting someone else, aren’t you?”
“Edna – thanks for… What’s going on?”
The man smiled as he looked at the new arrivals. The woman was about the same age as Edna, and was wearing a beige leather jacket and matching boots. The jacket was over a chocolate brown vest top and short skirt. The five year old girl with her was wearing a white lace dress and tights, with mid-calf black leather boots that had a fur cuff.
“Mummy, what is the man holding,” she said as she looked at him, her blonde hair held in two bunches by yellow bows.
“Sara, I’m sorry, I don’t know what’s going on, but…”
“Ach. Ye must be Poppy.” The young girl looked at the woman who was watching from the SUV, as she said “Wilma ahn Jodie are ahlredde in here – cum and join them.”
“Go on in,” Edna said as she looked at Sara, “We’ll be there in a minute.” Poppy took the woman’s hand and climbed in as the man smiled.
“Thank you – now, turn round, and put your hands behind your back – both of you.”
“Is this a kidnapping? A robbery?”
“I will explain when we get to Edna’s house,” the man said as both women felt their wrists being forced together by a zip tie, “For now, climb in behind the girls.”
As they got in, they saw Poppy, Jodie and Wilma sitting in their car seats – all three with their wrists taped together in front of them with white tape, and strips of the tape smoothed down over their mouths.
“Hae a seat,” the woman said as Edna and Sara sat down, the woman fastening the seat belts over them, and then taping over their mouths as well.
“So, home, some McDonalds will be delivered,” the man said as he closed the door, and then got behind the wheel, “and all will be explained.”
“Whtshphhnhnmhm,” Poppy tried to say as she looked round.
The Juniper Home
As the SUV pulled up outside the house, the woman got out and knocked three times on the door. Edna glanced out to see a man open the door, wearing a blue boiler suit, and a balaclava mask over his head.
“Oot ye come,” the woman said as she unbuckled the girls and helped them out, “Straight intae the front room, yer mothers are coming too.”
Jodie, Wilma and Poppy nodded as they walked into the house, while the man unbuckled Edna and Sara and helped them out of the car. He closed and locked the doors as the couple followed them in.
“Is everything secured?”
“Yes Jay,” the masked man said as Edna looked at him.
“Good – secure the legs of all of them – Mrs McPhee will wait to collect the order while I change.”
“In here ladies,” the man said as they walked into the front room, looking at their daughters as another masked man used zip ties to secure their ankles together. The two older women sat in armchairs, watching as their ankles were secured as well while the woman watched them.
“Mhhmmhuhhlrht,” Wilma asked as she looked over. She knew who was holding them captive now – and the thought terrified her.
“Ah,” the woman said as the doorbell sounded, and she went out, returning a few minutes later with several brown bags, the masked man carrying two trays of drinks. As she set them down, the man came back in – now wearing a blue boiler suit, gloves and the balaclava mask.
“That’s better – and my apologies for the lack of introductions. My name is Jay Edwards.”
“Jhhhdwhrdss?” Sara looked at Edna, who nodded as Jay continued “the lady is my friend and partner, Mrs McPhee. Would you kindly remove the tape from their mouths, and let them eat their food?”
“O course, Jay,” the woman said as she peeled the tape from their mouths, and then gave them each a Happy Meal box.
“Of course,” Jay said as he ungagged both Edna and Sara. Edna worked her mouth, before she said “girls, we will have to do whatever they say, so be brave.”
“Are they robbers, Mum,” Poppy said as she picked up a carrot stick.
“Yes, they are,” Sara said with a smile, “but I’m sure they will not hurt us if we do as they say.”
“Of course not,” Jay said as Mrs McPhee handed them drinks, “this will be a fun day. When your father gets home, Jodie, Wilma, I will explain to him what is happening. Now, eat, drink – and then I think we give you a chance to change.”
“Just as well Poppy has some clothes here,” Sara said as she looked at Edna.
“Yeah – just as well…”
“What do you think she is doing to them upstairs,” Sara asked as she looked at Edna. They had both ad their wrists freed now, as the girls had been taken upstairs by the now masked Mrs McPhee.
“Hopefully,” Edna said as she sipped her drink, “nothing too much. I’ve heard of them – I guess we will eb allowed to change, then bound and gagged while they play games and have fun.”
“I know – it sounds crazy but – there you are.”
“Hello Mum,” Wilma said as she and Josie came in. Wilma was wearing an olive green jumper and leggings with white dots, as well as grey trainers. Jodie was similarly dressed, only in red instead of green. They both had their hands behind their back, as Edna looked at the bands of rope around their upper bodies.
“Look at me, Mum.”
Sara looked at Poppy as she walked in with Mrs McPhee. The young girl was wearing a long sleeved striped jumper and black pants, a pair of purple socks pulled up over the bottoms and black shoes on her feet. She also had her upper body bound, as she turned round and showed Sara her crossed wrists with the rope round them.
“Oh my – does it hurt, Poppy?”
“No – it’s like a hug,” Poppy said s Mrs McPhee said to the three girls, “Sit up, lassies – time tae make sure yer legs are as secure as yer arms.”
“As for you two,” Jay said a she cut the zip tie round their ankles, “I am sure you would appreciate the chance to change. Come with me please.”
“See you later, mhmmm,” Poppy said as Mrs McPhee smoother some white tape over her mouth.
“Yeah,” Sara said as she and Edna walked up to her bedroom, Jay cutting their hands free as he said “please, change into something more comfortable – the phone is disabled, and the door remains open.”
“Of course,” Edna said as she walked in, sitting on the bed as Sara said “we should be terrified, but…”
“But we’re not,” Edna said as she slipped her boots off, “so let’s be gratefully the girls are all right. I can lend you something, Sara.”
“thanks – how long do you think they will be here?”
“If the stories are true,” Edna said as she unzipped and removed her dress, “you may need to borrow some pyjamas as well.” She walked to the wardrobe, and took out two pairs of jeans and two tops, then took two t-shirts from a drawer.
“May a swell be comfortable,” she said as she slipped on a white t-shirt, then a blue top with white polka dots on top, before she pulled on the jeans. She then watched as Sara stripped, and put on a black t-shirt with a striped top over it, and the jeans.
“Got enough food in?”
“I think so,” Edna said as Jay came in, carrying several ropes which he placed on the bed. They could also hear music playing on the lower floor.
“They are dancing with Mrs McPhee,” Jay said as they looked at him. “Now, with regret, I need to secure both of you. Please, put your hands behind your back."
“Do we have a choice?”
“No, not really,” Jay said a she walked behind Edna and guided her hands round, before he secured her wrists tightly together with rope. “But it does help if you accept the situation, and accept your daughters are not truly at risk.”
“They sound – happy,” Sara said as Jay secured her wrists behind her back, and then used a longer rope to secure her arms to her sides. As he did the same to Edna, she said “you presume my husband will do what you want him to do.”
“I am certain – after all, we have leverage,” Jay said with a smile as he pulled the ropes tighter, making Edna gasp before he tied them off. “Now, as the children are entertained, it is only right and proper you have a distraction as well. Come with me.”
As they walked into the front room, Edna and Sara were surprised to see Jodie, Wilma and Poppy jumping around, ropes around their ankles and legs, and white tape over their mouths. “Hllhmhm,” Jodie said as Sara and Edna shook their heads.
“Cum wi me, lassies,” Mrs McPhee said as she stood by the door, “ahn we’ll hae fun elsewhere.” The three girls nodded as they jumped out, Jay smiling as he said “please – sit down, and stretch your legs out.”
“So that you can bind our legs?”
“Precisely,” Jay said as one of the masked men knelt down and started to bind Edna’s ankles together. “But I think we can find something to amuse both of you – I understand you are a fan of Take That, Edna?”
“Damn, my secret is out,” Edna laughed as she felt the rope securing her legs together below her knees, the rope going between her legs. The man then moved over and started to bind Sara’s legs, as Jay retrieved from a bag a Blu-Ray.
“Oh you’re kidding me – the Wembley concert?”
“Indeed – I am sure you will enjoy it – if quietly.”
“What do you – on,” Sara said as the masked man tore a strip from a roll of white tape, and pressed it down over Edna’s mouth. As she looked over, she raised an eyebrow, Sara looking at the shape of her lips under the white band as she felt the tape over her own mouth.
“So, feel free to sing along if you want,” Jay said as he put the disc into a player, and both of them settled back…
“I’m home,” Geoff Juniper said as he walked into the house putting his bag down and hanging his coat up before he walked into the front room, “so how are…”
He stood, his mouth open as he saw his daughters and wife, as well as a friend and her daughter, sitting there, bound tightly with ropes and with white tape over their mouth.
“Whrrhgnnhfphssh,” Wilma said as she wriggled, sitting with the other two on the floor, while Edna and Sara sat at the ends of the couch.
“Hmshrrheeghf,” Edna mumbled as he saw her lips moving under the tape, “thhshorhsdhdhss.”
“Good evening, Geoff.”
He turned suddenly to see the masked men and woman in the doorway, all with boiler suits on.
“My name is Jay Edwards – your wife has been an excellent host and soon you may all sit for some food, but after that, you will conduct some business for me at your place of work. Do so, they come to no harm. I hope you understand.”
Geoff stared at the group, before he said “oh lord – yeah, I understand. I’m sorry…”
“Shkhkhkmhstrjhnpr,” Poppy said as she smiled under the tape, “htsssfhnn..”
“Why don’t you come with me,” Jay said as he took George by the arm, “we have promised them pizza, and we do not wish to disappoint, so you will place the order, and then we will talk.”
“When did you surprise them – they called me from the cinema,” George said as Jay walked him into the dining room, and pulled out a chair for him to sit down on.
“Possibly a few minutes after the call,” Jay said as he looked at George. “So, here is what is going to happen. You will order from the local pizzeria – I will allow you to pick – for supper for all your family and friends. When they are delivered, they will be allowed to come in here and eat.”
“And after that?”
The girls will be allowed to get ready for bed, and secured before you leave with an associate of mine. Do what he says, and nothing bad will happen to them. But if you try to raise the alarm…”
“I… I get the message,” George said quietly, “I have your word they will not be hurt?”
“You have my personal guarantee. So, if you will raise your hands, my friend here will secure you to the chair – and then you may place the order.”
“Thank you,” Edna said as she took the pizza boxes, handing them to Sara and collecting the sides before she slowly closed the door.
“Nicely done,” Jay said as she closed the door, “shall we?”
“At least we can talk,” Sara said as they walked into the dining room, the three girls sat and smiling under the tape over their mouths as they placed the boxes on the table. As Mrs McPhee poured drinks, Jay said “well done girls – you may remove the tape now, and eat.”
“Thank you Mr Edwards,” Poppy said as she removed the tape, “this has bene fun Mum – do we do it again after this?”
“I think you will be,” Sara said with a smile as she watched her daughter take a slice of vegetable pizza, “I think we all will be.”
“You girls have all been very brave,” Edna said as she looked at the three of them.
“It’s actually been fun Mum,” Jodie said, “jumping about and trying to sing.”
“Well, I’ll make sure you all get a special treat tomorrow as well,” George said with a smile as he looked at Edna and Sara. “Look – I think I know what’s going to happen to all of you, so – I’m sorry it is going to happen.”
“I know – but we don’t have a choice in the matter, do we?” George shook his head as he looked at his wife, Edna nodding as she bit into a chicken strip…
George and Edna looked over as Sara brought the three girls back in with Mrs McPhee, wriggling with their wrists and ankles secured as well.
“Were they any trouble,” Edna said as Sara sat down, her wrists secured behind her back as Jay knelt down and bound her ankles together.
“No – they actually seem excited,” Sara said as she looked at them. Jodie was wearing a light blue short sleeved top, and red and white checked bottoms, while her sister was wearing a pink top with pink, black and white checked bottoms. Poppy was giggling as she stood in her peach top and leggings, all three of them with the bottoms of their pants tucked into white socks.
George could also see the white socks pulled up over their hands, and taped to their arms with white tape, and that their hands were fists. “What did you do to them,” he asked quietly.
“Ach, we made it a wee bit mair difficult fer them tae us their hands,” Mrs McPhee said with a smile. She took from a bag several lengths of rope, and said “youngest first” as she guided Poppy’s hands behind her back, crossed her wrists, and started to bind them together.
“So they’re going to eb tied up all night,” Edna said quietly.
“As are we – but wait until you see what’s upstairs,” Sara said quietly as Mrs McPhee then wound rope around Poppy’s arms and body, forming two bands as the young girl smiled. “It really is like being hugged,” she said as Mrs McPhee did something behind her, and then used two shorter lengths to tighten the bands between her arms and body.
As she wriggled round, Mrs McPhee moved on to Wilma, securing her ankles as Jay said “Come and sit on the other couch, Poppy, and we’ll get your legs secured together.”
“Okay Mr Edwards,” Poppy said as she walked over and pushed herself back onto the seat, Jay smiling as he took two lengths of rope, and crossed her ankles before he bound them tightly together. As he secured her legs together below her knees, Wilma walked over, twisting as she did so while Mrs McPhee started to secure Jodie.
“What happens after this,” George asked quietly.
“You will see how the girls will be quiet,” Jay said as he looked over, “and then you go with my associate. Be assured, your wife and her friend will be just as secure and quiet.”
As Jodie sat beside her sister, Mrs McPhee took from a bag three white squares of silk, folding them into pads as she said “noo tae be quiet gahls – open wide please.”
“Relax, and you will get used to it,” Jay said with a smile as one by one they had a square put into their mouths, and then a knotted strip of towelling pulled between their lips to keep the cloth in place. As Mrs McPhee tied the strip round their heads, Jay took a roll of white tape and started to wind it tightly round each of their heads – Mrs McPhee following with a roll of silver tape over the top of that band.
“Oh my god – are you girls all right,” Edna whispered, Jodie nodding and saying “yhssmhm” under the bands. The other two nodded in agreement as Jay then cut George free, and said “time to get ready.”
As he slowly stood, Mrs McPhee turned the television back on, and said “we’ll watch ae film.” The girls nodded as George walked out, and then came back in, kissing each of them on the head before he said to Edna and Sara “We’ll talk tomorrow.”
“We will,” Edna said quietly as he walked out, Jay untying both women as he said “you can now go upstairs and get ready – come.” He escorted them out of the room and up the stairs, but as they went past Jodie’s room Sara said “may Edna see what has happened in here?”
“Of course,” Jay said as he opened the door, Edna looking in to see three rag dolls on the bed – all bound and with white tape over their mouths.
“Oh lord – so they are the same?”
“Indeed,” Jay said, “the key is to make them happy and comfortable. Shall we?”
As they went into Edna’s bedroom, she opened a drawer and took out a pair of grey pyjamas, with a crimson trim and white sheep on them. “These should fit,” she said as she also removed a pair of pink pyjamas, with white snowmen on them, and placed them on the bed.
“you will also need four pairs of long white socks,” Jay said, Enda nodding as Sara started to strip off, and pull on the pyjamas. She then sat on the bed as Edna handed her a pair of socks, and pulled them up over her feet and legs as Edna changed.
“Time to see what happened to the girls,” Jay said as he then removed from a bag he had brought up two half sponges, and handed them to Sara. “Make two fists with your hands, holding these, and then hold your hands out.”
Edna started to pull her own socks on, watching as Jay ripped the end of a roll of silver tape free and then wrapped it round Sara’s hands, making them look like silver boxing gloves before he handed Edna two sponges as well. Her hands were soon the same, before Jay pulled the second pair of socks up over their hands, and used white tape to secure them to their arms.
“Okay – that explains that” Sara said as she looked at her covered hands, Edna nodding before Jay said “let’s go downstairs – it is only fair that the girls see you are bound in the same way as them.”
“Was it really necessary to do all that,” Edna asked quietly.
“Oh yes – for their own safety. When they are placed in the bed, the less they move, the less likely they are to fall off and hurt themselves,” Jay said with a smile.
“That actually – makes sense,” Sara said as she looked at her friend, Edna nodding as they walked down to the main room.
“Whhewhsshnshhpphe,” Wilma said, Edna nodding as she saw the Charlie Brown and Snoopy movie playing, before Jay said “put your hands behind your back, Edna.” She felt the rope on her sock covered wrists as it held them together behind her back, and ten the bands of rope as her arms were forced against her sides, framing her chest as the jacket stayed, thankfully, closed.
She nodded as Jay cinched the bands between her arms and body, then watched as her friend was bound in exactly the same way, before they both sat on the couch, watching the girls as their eyes slowly closed.
“They’re exhausted, aren’t they?”
“Aye – they’ll sleep well,” Mrs McPhee said with a smile as she looked at them, “let them sleep there ae wee while, ahn then ye can all go upstairs.”
“In the meantime,” Jay said as he compressed a red sponge ball in his hand and held it in front of Edna’s mouth, “time for you to be quiet. Yes, it’s different – but they will not know. So, open wide.”
Edna nodded as the ball was pushed into her mouth, and felt it expand in her mouth as the knotted strip of towelling was pulled between her teeth, and the strip tied round her head.
“Snhhtshbhd,” she mumbled as she felt her cheeks bulge out – and then come back in as Jay wrapped the white tape tightly round her head, followed by the silver tape. She nodded as she watched Sara being gagged in the same way, before they watched the film to the end.
“Yer help please, gentlemen,” Mrs McPhee said as Jay and the other masked man picked one of the girls up in their arms, Mrs McPhee lifting Poppy as Jay said “please, ladies, walk in front of us.”
Edna and Sara looked at each other, and then stood up, walking up the stairs as their daughters were carried up behind them. They walked into Jodie’s room, and watched as the girls were laid on the bed, ropes used to secure their ankles to the foot of the bed, and then their rag dolls placed next to them as they slept peacefully.
“Check them every fifteen minutes,” Jay said, the masked man nodding as they walked Edna and Sara to a spare bedroom. As Edna stood, Sara sat on the bed and watched as her ankles were crossed and tied together with rope, then her legs below her knees, before she was helped to lie on her side, her ankles pulled back and tied to the chest ropes. She nodded as she looked at Edna, before she was escorted out of the room, Mrs McPhee turning the light off and closing the door.
Edna walked into her bedroom and sat on her bed, watching as Jay crossed and bound her ankles together over the bottoms of her pyjama pants, and then her legs below her knees. As Mrs McPhee helped her to lie on her side, she grunted and nodded as she felt Jay pull her ankles back, and then the tug as they were secured to her chest ropes.
“Sleep well, Edna – and thank you for your hospitality.”
Edna watched as the door closed, leaving her in darkness, unable to move or speak clearly. It had been a day she was unlikely to forget – none of them would – and as her eyes slowly closed, she thought back to earlier that morning…