Jay Spreads the Light
“Well, it is good to see you over again,” Yvonne Williamson said as she set the tray down on the coffee table, her husband Mark sitting opposite her as they looked at their guests, “staying for long?”
“A month,” Sarah Holderness-Carter said as she picked up a mug. She was dressed in a grey top and pants, with pink trim, while her husband Brian wore a rugby shirt and jeans. Mark was still dressed from his day at the office, while Yvonne was in a dark blouse and skirt, after a day at the school. “Given what happened with the recent spate of burglaries…”
“I heard Barry Hampton talking about that – some redheaded woman who called herself The Fox?”
“Indeed – and no, I don’t know who she is, but I know of her,” Mark said with a smile.
“Well, she’s not really our concern,” Sarah said as she sat forward. “We’re going to need your help again.”
“What is the target this time,” Mark said quietly. Brian reached into the bag he had with him, and laid a series of photos out.
“This is Brian Deacon, his wife Marjorie, and their daughters Violet and May.”
“The Deacon family - hang on, weren’t they kidnapped recently? I seem to recall the story.”
“They were Yvonne,” Sarah said quietly, “to force their father to do some rather illegal activities through his company. They were held hostage for two weeks, before they were eventually released. It is fair to say they have some – issues to work through.”
“Have you been consulted?”
“I have – and I have helped them,” Sarah said, “but we are now aware Brian has been forced to continue to do more work, under threat of another kidnap – this one ongoing.”
“So what are we going to do?”
“We need Jay and Mrs McPhee – as well as Ophelia and Gerald – to pay them a visit. They now live in the country, at a manor house owned by Brian’s mother, the Dowager Duchess of Middlewich – a house with a very fine collection of plate. The plan is we go in, and I go with Brian to force a money transfer – and leave a little something to get back to those controlling him, and bring them down for good.”
“At the same time,” Sarah said, “I get, with your help Yvonne, to finally get the last demons out of the rest of his family – and hopefully don’t create any new ones.”
“I understand,” Mark said, “any other people to know about?”
“Soo Lin, their housekeeper,” Brian said as he put another photo on the table. “When can you be ready?”
“Give us forty eight hours to get my mum here to baby sit,” Mark said, “and we’re all yours…”
“Yes Miss Agatha,” the young Asian woman said as she came in from the kitchen. She was in her early thirties, and was wearing a light grey long sweater, a white scarf with a rose print on it wrapped loosely around her neck, dark leggings and long brown leather boots.
Agatha, dowager Duchess of Middlewich, was standing in the hallway, wearing a roll neck grey sweater, faded blue jeans and short blue wellington boots with a floral print. She looked through her glasses, and said “I am going to head down to the vegetable patch and pull some carrots. Do we need anything else?”
“It would be good if some turnip was available as well, Miss Agatha,” Soo Lin said with a smile, “then I can prepare a suitable side for the stew tonight.”
“I will see if one is ready,” Agatha said as she checked her grey hair in the mirror hanging on the wall. “I should be back shortly.”
“Thank you, Miss Agatha,” the younger woman said as Agatha walked to the kitchen, and Soo Lin went into the main room, picking up a couple of coffee mugs as she did so. Opening the dish washer, she put them in and closed the door, before she turned to start to prepare the meat for the stew.
“Hello,” the man who was standing there said in a Geordie accent, “let’s stay nice and quiet, shall we?”
“Right – I have those vegetables you asked for Soo,” Agatha said as she came into the kitchen, putting the carrots and turnip down on the table, and then taking a moment to look round the room. Eventually, she said quietly “I see we have visitors – unexpected ones.”
“Good morning Lady Middlewich,” one of the two men said in a Geordie accent. “My name is Jay Edwards – I presume you have heard of me? Allow me to introduce my colleagues, Miss McPhee, Ophelia and Gerald.”
Agatha looked at the four masked strangers, wearing blue boiler suits, black leather gloves and worker’s boots, and the balaclavas covering all except their eyes, noses and mouths. One of the men – the one called Gerald – looked tall and strong, while one of the women was standing next to Soo, a gloved hand on her arm and a pistol in her hand.
“I’m sorry Miss Agatha,” Soo said quietly, “they surprised me.”
“It’s quite all right Soo – I take it you wish words with my son?”
“In due course – for now, please,” the other woman said in an English accent as she pulled a chair from the kitchen table, “have a seat, and put your hands on your head. I think a cup of tea would be a good thing right now.”
“You must be aware of what my family have been through,” Agatha said quietly as she sat down, “and you dare put them through something like this again.”
“Aye,” the second woman said in a broad Scottish accent, “but ah fink we’ll be genuinely surprised at their reaction.”
“So you are Mrs McPhee, and you are Ophelia,” Agatha said as she took a seat, Ophelia nodding as she took a length of rope and passed it round Agatha’s waist to fix her against the chair back, and then kneeling down to secure her ankles to her chair legs, as well as her legs below her knees.
“Aye – a reel pleasure” the Scotswoman said as she poured some tea into a mug, and placed it in front of Agatha. Something about her – about all of them – made her feel safe, as she took the mug and had a drink. “Noo, lissen tae Jay here.”
“Your Ladyship,” Jay said as he took a seat next to Agatha, while Ophelia and Mrs McPhee stood with Soo, “or would it be impolite of me to call you Agatha, given we will be referring the rest of your family on first name terms?”
“Under the circumstances,” Agatha said quietly, “and as you were polite enough to ask, I will accept that.”
“Good – Agatha, we know your daughter in law and grandchildren will be back in a short while. The situation they are walking into will be frightening for them at first, but I assure you, Ophelia and Mrs McPhee between them will soon have them calmed down.”
“And after that?”
“Ah – after that, we need to make sure all of you will be quiet and unable to alert your son to the situation, but I think we can find a way to make the time pass quickly, and keep you all amused. Which reminds me - Ophelia, will you please ensure Soo is unable to raise the alarm for a while.”
Ophelia nodded as she removed the patterned scarf from the housekeeper’s neck, and pulled it between her lips, Soo mumbling as it was tied tightly round her head, the ends hanging down her back.
“So I see,” Agatha whispered quietly. “I ask you not to keep me quiet until after they have returned, and the situation is explained to them.”
“That is reasonable – Gerald, will you go and keep watch for them please,” Jay said, the second man nodding as he left the room. “When your son returns, you will all eat the no doubt excellent casserole your housekeeper is preparing, and then Gerald will take him to conduct some business. The rest of you will remain here with us – insurance if you like, to ensure he does what we ask. But I make you this promise – when we are done, and we have gone, you will be unharmed if he does all we ask.”
“Do you know,” Agatha said as she looked at him, “I believe you, although I have absolutely no reason to do so.”
“It’s a gift – now, let us await the return of your family…”
“Well, home again,” Marjorie Deacon said as she parked on the main driveway, and looked at the manor house. She had long brown hair, and was wearing a black hooded top over a short black dress, dark hose and knee length black leather boots.
She turned her head and smiled at her daughters. Violet was listening to something on her phone, bobbing her head as she did so. Her brown bomber jacket was over a pink V-necked t-shirt, and her jeans ticked into knee length black leather boots with a tiger print part at her ankles. May was undoing her belt, a white jacket over her blue jumper. She was also wearing white leggings with a blue floral print, knee length black fabric boots over them.
“We’re here,” Marjorie said as Violet looked out, and then unfastened her seat belt, the three of them walking into the house as she closed the door behind them.
“Can you all come into the kitchen,” she heard her mother in law say, but as they went in May screamed at the sight of the masked men and women.
“Oh god,” Marjorie whispered as she hugged her daughters, “not again, please, not again…”
“Do not panic, Marjorie – my name is Jay Edwards, this is Mrs McPhee and Ophelia. We know a short while ago, something happened – but we are not responsible for that.”
“Please listen to them,” Agatha said as she saw how scared they were Violet staring at the rope holding her to the chair. “I promise you, they haven’t hurt either of us.”
“What… What are you going to do?”
“Ask you to come with Mrs McPhee into the front room,” Ophelia said as the two masked women guided the three new arrivals into the front room, kneeling in front of them as she removed her gloves.
“Please, hold hands,” she said quietly, as he took one of Marjorie’s and one of Violet’s hands, May looking round as she held the free hands of the other two, all of them suddenly feeling very peaceful.
“Now,” Ophelia said quietly, “what happened last time, and why did it scare you?”
Marjorie looked at the masked woman, suddenly feeling very calm as she said “we had just got back from a holiday, and a car had been booked to pick us up. Brian – Brian was pushing the trolley and the girls walked with me. They each had their teddy bears under their arms.”
“Yer teddies,” Mrs McPhee said as she watched from the side. May smiled and said “yes – Angus and Craig we call them. We had been in Florida, and they slept on the plane with us. They stayed with us all the time…”
“Okay,” Ophelia said quietly, “so you came through the airport gates…”
“There was a woman there with a sign for the car firm, and our name on it. We didn’t think anything was wrong as we followed her to a far corner of the car park, where a big black people carrier was standing. I told the girls to jump in the back while Brian went to the back of the vehicle.”
“And,” Ophelia quietly said as she looked at the girls.
“When we got in,” Violet said as a tear appeared on her cheek, “Two masked men grabbed us and put their hands over our mouths. They threw Angus and Craig on the seats, and told us to be quiet – well, they were nastier that that… They told us that if we weren’t quiet, they would kill us…”
“They then made us put our hands out, and held them together with thin plastic strips,” May said, “before they put tape over our mouths as Mum came in. They did the same to her, while the woman who had gone with Dad made him sit in the front.”
“She was pointing a gun at him, and then at us,” Marjorie said as she started crying, “and she threatened to kill us if he didn’t cooperate…” She looked at her daughters, all three of them crying now as Ophelia said “I can understand why you were so scared. So they took you somewhere…”
“An old warehouse,” Violet said. “As we drove along, they used more of those plastic strips to hold our ankles together – when we got there, they carried us over their shoulders and then dropped us on old mattresses. We were left there for hours, without a toilet break or anything.”
“Did they still threaten you?”
All three nodded as Ophelia said “listen to me – I know that was a frightening experience, for all of you, but we are not those people. Where were your teddies?”
“We didn’t see them again until we were free.”
“And where are they now?”
May looked up and said “in our rooms.”
“Mrs McPhee, would you fetch them for me?”
“Aye,” the second masked woman said as she left the room. “Tell me, are you afraid of us now?”
Marjorie looked at Ophelia, and then shook her head, the girls doing the same.
“I will be honest – we will have to make sure you cannot raise the alarm or move around, but we will not do it in a way that hurts, and we will make sure you are not left alone, or bored, or anything. All right?”
“How will you do that,” May asked as Mrs McPhee returned. And handed each of the girls their teddy bears.
“Well,” Ophelia said as she let their hands go, “first, give each other a great big hug.” As they did that, she wiped her hands, and then put her gloves back on as her watch face slowly faded to green.
“Thank you,” Marjorie said quietly as Ophelia smiled.
“Now, I need you girls to tell your teddies that you are all been held hostage, but that you are going to look after them and make sure they are not hurt. Will you do that for me?”
The two girls looked at each other and then talked quietly to their teddies as Jay looked in.
“Can I leave you ladies with the girls? Marjorie, I want you to come and join your mother in law and the housekeeper. I promise, you will join the girls in a short while?”
“Will you both be all right,” Marjorie said as she looked at May and Violet. As both girls nodded, she stood up and walked out, Jay handing Mrs McPhee a bag before he left.
“Noo then,” she said as she looked at them, “we need tae make both of ye – and yer bairns – secure. If ah tell ye whit tae dae, would ye like tae make sure the bairns are secured?”
“All right – what do we need to do,” May said as she looked at the masked women.
“Angus,” Violet said to her bear, “the ladies are going to have to keep us all tied up – but I’ll do it to you, all right?” As she made the teddy nod, Ophelia took from the bag a length of rope and handed it to the young girl. “We’re going to use these,” she said as Mrs McPhee handed May a second length, “to make sure their arms stay by their sides, so Double it over, and then wrap it round their tummies, before you put the ends through the loop and pull back.”
As they watched, both girls pulled the rope around their bear’s arms, and then followed their instructions as the bears had their arms tied. May listened to Craig, and said “he isn’t scared.”
“Good – we’ll give you another length of cord, and you do the same to their legs, just above their feet.” The two masked women watched as they did the same, and then looked up.
“Gie them both ae kiss,” Mrs McPhee said, “and put them on yer laps. We’ll then dae the same tae yer arms and legs.”
The girls looked at each other and nodded as they held their hands out, Ophelia and Mrs McPhee binding their wrists firmly and tightly together. They both nodded as they then wrapped the rope around their ankles, both of them looking at their boots as the rope was pulled tight around their legs.
“Oh my,” Violet said as she looked at the white band over the animal print, “that is tight.”
“It is,” Ophelia said as she picked up a roll of white tape. “Now, we need you to be quiet until your dad gets home. Well – we are going to sing along to a film, but you’ll see. The tape does not hurt – see,” she said as she tore a little strip off, and pressed it on the arms of both girls before taking it off.
“It doesn’t hurt,” May said quietly, “will Angus and Craig have it over their mouths as well?”
“They will – ready?”
Both girls nodded as the strips of white tape were smoothed over their mouths, and over the mouths of the teddy bears, before Mrs McPhee turned the television on.
“Noo – whit shall we watch?”
Thirty minutes later, May and Violet looked over to the door as Marjorie, Agatha and Soo walked in. All three had their wrists secured behind their backs, and white tape over their mouths.
“Hrruhghrrlsllrht,” Agatha said as she looked at them. They both nodded as the older women sat down in chairs, Jay and Gerald walking round and securing their ankles together as they did so, and then their legs below their knees.
“Now, when the program is finished,” Ophelia said, “we can all play a game of Monopoly.”
“Anndhwwdhwhhdhthh,” Soo asked as she wriggled round.
“I will be banker, and Mrs McPhee will move and pay for things at your instruction. It will pass the time until your father gets home – and your teddies will be the judges. Sound good?”
All five of them nodded as Jay laid out the board, then stepped to the side with Gerald.
“They certainly seem to be a lot calmer now,” the taller man whispered as Jay nodded. “Ophelia has worked her spell on them.”
“Indeed – I like what they did with the teddies as well. I think come bedtime, they should join the girls and be tied with them.”
Gerald nodded in agreement as the game started, Soo taking the first throw…
“Hey – where is everyone?”
“Noo remember – no ae wird until yer pa comes in,” Mrs McPhee said, the two masked women standing behind the chairs as the door opened, and Brian Deacon came in, wearing a suit, shirt and tie, and a startled expression as he said “oh no, not again…”
“Good evening Mr Deacon,” Jay said as he stepped forward, “I advise you to remain calm, your family have only been restrained, and are unharmed. Is that not right, Marjorie?”
“Wrffhnnlff,” Marjorie said as she nodded, the tape moving over her lips as her daughters giggled.
Agatha nodded as she said “Uhhchnntrsshhtthmmm.”
Brian looked round the room, and said “who are you?”
“My name is Jay Edwards – my associates Mrs McPhee, Ophelia and Gerald,” Jay said with a smile as Marjorie said “Hmmhhttt.”
“Mrs McPhee, would you untie the legs of Marjorie and Soo please – their grandmother can stay with the girls for the present. We will be in the kitchen – talking to their father while supper is prepared.”
“Hllshhhulhtrr,” Marjorie said as she stood up, and walked with Soo and Brian to the kitchen, Jay pulling out two chairs and inviting them to sit as Mrs McPhee untied Soo’s wrists.
“Leave the gag ohn – ah’ll help ye cook,” she said as Jay bound Brian’s wrists behind the chair back, and then slowly peeled the tape away from Marjorie’s mouth.
“They’ve been here a while,” she said as she looked at her husband, “they haven’t hurt us, but they say they want you to do something for them in return for that.”
“What,” Brian asked quietly.
“Well, I’ll come to that,” Jay said with a smile, “but first, I think Marjorie would like to tell you how she is feeling.”
“Brian,” his wife said as she looked at him, a small smile playing on her lips, “I don’t know how, but this – this has removed all the fears from me and the girls.”
He looked at her, and then said “but… How…”
“I don’t know – but we were allowed to talk about – then, and it’s as if a great weight was lifted from me. And for that, I am grateful. Brian, do what they say, please.”
As he slowly nodded, he looked at Jay and said “what do you want?”
“You will eat with the others, and then Gerald will take you to your office. While you are there, he will arrange for you to transfer some funds, and at the same time do something for you.”
“Something for me – what?”
“Remove the cloud that hangs over you.”
Marjorie looked at her husband, her head to one side as she said “Brian?”
“Can you… Can you do that?”
“Oh thank god,” Brian said as he started crying. “I’ll… I’ll explain everything when this is over Marjorie.”
As she nodded, Jay smiled and said “excellent – so, why don’t we get your supper sorted, and then you can enjoy a meal together.”
“Thank you, Soo, that was excellent,” Marjorie said as she pushed the plate away. All of them were sat round the dining table, tied to the chair backs and their legs secured to the front legs, Angus and Colin next to the two girls with their legs still tied.
“So what’s going to happen now,” May said as she wiped her mouth.
“Well, your father is going to go with my friend,” Jay said as he looked at Brian, “and we’re going to make sure all of you have a very quiet night. You will be tied and gagged – does that scare you?”
“Not anymore,” Violet said quietly.
“Good – Ophelia, will you please untie Soo and take her to wash and change. We will need her help later. Mrs McPhee and I will clear up.”
As Gerald untied Brian from his chair, and handed him his coat, he said “thank you – Mum, make sure they are all safe.”
“I will,” Agatha said as she watched him kiss the heads of his wife and girls, and then head off. She then looked at Jay as she said “all of us, tied and gagged?”
“And unable to speak or talk – don’t worry, it can be – fun…”
“I’ll watch them,” Agatha said as Soo was taken out, Mrs McPhee taking the wrists of each of the others behind the chair backs and securing them before she started to clear the table, while Jay walked out with Brian and one of the associates.
“How – how did you know,” he whispered as Jay handed the masked man a USB stick.
“Not important – be assured, after tonight, your troubles will be over,” Jay said with a smile. “Regular calls, and inform me as well when all is done.”
“Got it,” the man said in an Australian accent as they left, Jay returning and saying “now then – we will get you all changed and ready for bed, and you can watch a film before we take you up.”
“Will we really all be tied up and gagged,” May said quietly. Jay smiled and nodded as he collected more of the plates…
“Hello girls,” Soo said as Mrs McPhee brought May and Violet into Violet’s bedroom. The young woman was now wearing a pair of pink pyjamas, with white clouds and a bear’s face on the front of the top – complete with bow tie. The girls had been to wash, and had changed into matching pyjamas – short sleeved purple tops with a cup cake and the words “sweet dreams” on the front, and pink bottoms with pictures of cupcakes on them.
“Look at Angus and Craig,” Violet said as she looked on the bed. The two teddies were also wearing pyjamas now, and they had bands of rope around their arms and upper bodies, as well as their legs in two places. Their front paws were crossed and tied together in front of them, and a band of white tape was wrapped round their heads, covering their mouths.
“Is that what we are going to be like,” May said as she looked over.
“Aye – but fihrst, we need tae make yer hands like paws. Soo?”
“Girls,” Soo said with a smile, “I want you to hold these in your hands and make fists.” She handed them a half sponge for each hand, watching as they made their fists, and then using the duct tape Mrs McPhee handed her to cover their hands. She then pulled a pair of sports socks over their hands and up their arms, before using the white tape to secure the tops.
“We’ve got paws now,” Violet said as she held her covered hands up.
“Aye – no pick up yer bairns, and tell them it’ll be all richt,” Mrs McPhee said as she handed Soo two sponges, the girls hugging and comforting their bound and gagged teddies as she covered Soo’s hands, and then took her wrists behind her back.
“Why are you doing her arms differently,” Violet asked.
“If ah did this, ye’d no be able tae hug yer bairns?”
“Fair point,” May said as they both watched Mrs McPhee bind Soo’s upper body, as Agatha walked past with Ophelia.
“Are you girls all right?”
“Yes Granny,” Violet said as Agatha nodded. “I’ll see you downstairs – your mother is waiting,” she said as she went past, and Mrs McPhee tied the rope around Soo’s chest.
“Richt – on ye go,” she said as they walked down the stairs, and into the front room. Marjorie looked over and smiled, their mother saying “Helllhghrls” through the white band around her head. She was tied in the same way as Soo, and dressed identically to the girls, but her legs were secured at her ankles and knees as she wriggled round.
“Do you girls want to sit with your mother?” As they both nodded, Mrs McPhee said “well, pit yer bairns there for no, and cross yer hands in front of yerselfs.”
As they did this, Mrs McPhee took more rope and started to tie their wrists together, as Jay came in. “Sit in the chair,” he said to Soo, the young woman nodding as she sat down, and he started to bind her ankles and legs together as well.
May and Violet then felt the rope round their waists, locking their wrists against their stomachs, before another length was tied round their arms and tummies so that they could not move them. The masked woman then picked up Craig and Angus, the two girls sitting down before they were returned to their arms, while their ankles and legs were also secured.
“Time tae be quiet,” Mrs McPhee said as she held a folded cloth in her hand, “open wide no.” As she pushed the cloth into May’s mouth, Jay pushed a folded scarf into Soo’s mouth, before Mrs McPhee put a similar cloth into Violet’s mouth. They then felt a further knot – one in a strip of towelling as it was also pushed into their mouths, and tied tightly round their heads.
“Htsssnss,” May said as she heard a squelchy sound, and then the white tape was wrapped tightly round her head, Violet and Soo also having their gags added to in the same way, before the girls rested their heads against Marjorie.
“Ysshhwhrhhgrhhnee,” Violet mumbled as Agatha came back in, wearing a white nightdress which came to the floor. Her upper body was also secured with ropes, and a band of white tape was round her head, holding her hair to the back of her neck. As she sat in the other armchair, Ophelia knelt down and secured her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees, gathering the skirt of her nightdress round her legs as she did so.
“Now then,” Jay said as he started the BluRay player, “I think this is a suitable film. Feel free to sing along.” As the Lego Movie started, the captives looked at each other, and then started to try to sing the song.
Shdbhshd, uhnnddehghnnwhnfrfr, ltsphrtfhrfr
Whttheshm, hmlhuhm uhrlhk,m whrhllwhrknnhhrmhnee
As they sang that, Marjorie shook her head and pressed her covered lips on the heads of the girls, they in turn kissing their teddies as Agatha and Soo watched.
Mrs McPhee and Ophelia watched as the girls moved from side to side, Agatha and Marjorie laughing quietly as the film continued...
“Up ye go,” Mrs McPhee said as she and Ophelia lifted the sleepign girls up in their arms, Jay watching as they carried them out.
“Whrrthghnnn?” Marjorie asked as she wriggled round.
“They will be put into their beds, with the bairns – sorry, their teddies – and then their ankles tied to the foot of the bed so they don’t fall out,” Jay said as he looked at the other three. “When my friends come back down, all three of you will come back up, and we’ll secure you in your beds as well.”
The three women nodded as Mrs McPhee came back down. “So, if you will stand and come with us,” Jay said as he helped them all to stand up, and they shuffled or hopped to the stairs, pushing themselves up before been helped to stand again, and going first to Soo’s room. The two women watched as she lay on her side, Jay pulling her ankles back and securing them to her chest ropes, before they turned the light off and went to Agatha’s room.
“Hshllddfknuh,” she said as she looked at Mrs McPhee while Ophelia hogtied her on her bed.
“Och, it was mae pleasure,” Mrs McPhee said with a smile as the lights were turned off, and Marjorie was escorted to her bed.
“Your husband has done all we asked,” Jay said as he secured her ankles to her chest ropes, “be calm, all is well.”
“Fhnkuh,” she said quietly as her eyelids started to close…
“Marjorie! Oh thank the lord you’re all right!”
As she opened her eyes, she saw Brian run into the bedroom and kneel by her, stroking her head as he said “They’re freeing the girls now, are you all right?” Marjorie nodded as she said “mhrthnhllrhtt…”
“There you are,” Sarah said as Brian came into the kitchen, “have some coffee.”
“Thanks – and thanks again to you two,” he said as he looked at Mark and Yvonne. “The threat has been dealt with, and all should be well now. So, any plans for the near future?”