Make Her Comfortable
“HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAN!”
The table clapped and applauded as Jan smiled at the end, enjoying immensely her last birthday party before her child arrived. Her black hair was cut in a bob, and she wore a purple sleeveless dress with a v-shaped neckline and a gathered bodice, the silk central panel expanding and covering the bump of her stomach. She was wearing a pair of low heeled black shoes – heels now made her feet ache.
“Thank you, thank you all,” she said as she stood up. “Here’s to the most exciting year of my life!”
She looked to each side of her and said “thanks for setting this up.”
“Hey – what are sisters for,” Cathy said as she held her younger sister’s hand. She was wearing a mustard yellow long sleeved dress, dark tights and brown knee length suede boots, while a green patterned scarf was wrapped round her neck, with a necklace underneath.
Sue sat on her other side, wearing a white flecked wool jacket with a grey wool trim over a white top, blue jeans and knee length brown leather boots.
“Well, two more months and you can kiss nights out like this goodbye,” she said as she brushed her shoulder length hair out of the way, “so enjoy it, it’s your last chance for a while.”
“Promises promises – what happened to two readymade babysitters?”
“Oh – and who were you planning to go out with if not for us.”
Jan looked at them and burst out laughing again, before she said “Very well – then I shall enjoy a last night out with my sisters, before I retreat to a hermit’s lair.”
“Well, that was a night to remember,” Jan said as Sue pulled up outside the house. They looked up at the windows of the tenth floor apartment, the lights out.
“Must be the only place in Hong Kong that does not have the lights on,” Cathy said as Sue turned into the underground car park and found the designated parking space. The three girls got out and walked to the resident’s lift, laughing and talking as they got in and the doors closed.
“Nightcap before you girls head home?”
“Sounds good to me – when’s that husband of yours going to get back?”
“Not until the morning – he flies in early, so we should have breakfast together,” Jan said as the lift doors opened, and they stepped out, their heels sinking into the plush carpet as they walked to her apartment door.
“All right then,” she said as she opened the door, and let her sisters in, “You go and fix the drinks, I’ll be back in a few minutes.”
“No problem – club soda,” Cathy said, Jan nodding as she headed for the bathroom, and the other two girls walked into the main room of the apartment, turning the light on as Sue headed for the drinks cabinet.
“What do you want,” she said as she opened the cabinet and poured a glass of club soda.
“Cathy, what do you…”
She turned and looked at her sister, before slowly raising her hands as a female voice said “Both of you, sit on the couch, hands on your head.”
“That’s better,” Jan said as she walked into the room, “now about that…”
“Good evening,” the woman standing behind the couch said as she looked at Jan, the gun in her hand pointing in her direction, “please, no screaming, no shouting. Just do as we say, and everyone gets along just fine.”
“They were here when we came in,” Cathy said as she sat next to Sue, her hands palm down on top of her head.
“They…” Sue turned to see a second woman standing behind her. She was smaller than the first woman, her red hair pressed down by the dark stocking covering her head, while the first woman had her dark hair pressed down. Both were wearing soft leather jackets, tight pants and soft suede boots, as well as leather gloves.
“What’s going on here,” Sue said as she looked at them.
“You returned somewhat earlier than we had been informed,” the dark haired woman said, “which is regrettable, as it means we have to ensure you cannot raise the alarm – any of you.”
“We won’t say anything if you leave now,” Cathy said.
“We cannot – we have not complete dour task, and to do so requires your complete cooperation.” She looked at Jan, and said “how long?”
“I’m two months away.”
“All right,” she said, “sit with your sisters. There is a very nice and sturdy looking rocking chair in the den – fetch it in here please.”
The three young women watched as the smaller woman walked into a room on her far side, and then carried in with ease a large wooden rocking chair, placing in on a rug in the centre of the floor.
“Right,” the dark haired woman said to Jan, “sit down, make yourself comfortable, and get some cushions to support yourself if you need them. I regret to say, you may be here for some time.”
Jan slowly stood up and walked over, sitting in the chair as her sisters stood up.
“What are you doing,” the dark haired woman said as she looked at them.
“Making her comfortable,” Cathy said as they plumped some cushions and put them behind her back. Jan smiled and nodded, as she said “now what?”
“Now we make sure you cannot disturb us while we do out work,” the dark hared woman said as the redhead took out from a bag two rolls of silver duct tape, had threw them at Cathy and Sue. “Tape your sister’s arms to the armrests of the chair, at the wrists and elbows.”
“Must we,” Cathy said as she looked over.
“Yes, you must – get started.”
“I’m sorry,” Sue said as she placed her sister’s left arm on the rest, and ripped the end of the tape free from the roll, pressing it down in her wrist as she wrapped the tape around her wrist, forcing it against the wood as it was secured in place. She looked over at Cathy, who was beginning to cry softly as she taped Jan’s right wrist to the wooden armrest. Tearing the tape free, she smoothed it down, and then moved to the side, taping her arm down just below her elbow.
Jan was trying to breathe calmly, in a steady pattern, calming her nerves as she felt her arms press down on the wood. The two sisters were about to stand up when the dark haired intruder said “no. You,” she said as she pointed to Sue, “tape your sister’s ankles together, then her legs below her knees. You tape her lap to the seat of the chair, and then her waist to the chair back.”
“But she’s pregnant,” Cathy protested.
“I know – which is why I am not telling you to tape her body to the chair, just her waist. Now, do it – quickly.”
The two sisters nodded as they tore the tape free and did as they had been ordered, Jan trying not to panic as she felt herself secured more and more.
“Good,” she said as they stood up. “Now, both of you, stand straight, and take your hands behind your back.”
“Please, don’t hurt them,” Jan said as she watched the redhead take two lengths of rope from the bag, and start to bind Cathy’s wrists together behind her back, Sue looking over before she grunted as cords were used to pull her own wrists together. She could feel the rope rubbing on her flesh as it went around and between her arms.
The dark haired woman walked over and unwrapped the scarf from around Cathy’s neck, pulling it taut as she walked behind Jan. “I am really sorry, but I need you to open your mouth. This will be more comfortable and safer for you than what we would normally do.”
Jan nodded as she opened her mouth, and felt the cotton band as it pressed down on her tongue and filled her mouth, the band pressing on her cheeks as the masked woman tied it tightly round her head. While she was doing this, the other intruder was wrapping rope around Cathy’s upper body, taking it above and below her chest as the mustard coloured fabric of her dress was stretched over her breasts.
She tried to move her arms, with no success as the ropes were tied off behind her back, and she was walked over to the couch. She sat down, looking at Jan as she stared back over her gag, and at Sue as the dark haired woman wrapped the rope around her body, her jacket forced to the side as the rope tightened above and below her chest.
“Oh god – does it have to be so tight,” Sue said as the rope tightened even more, and then was tied off behind her back.
“Yes it does,” the dark haired woman said as Cathy watched the second intruder cross and tie her ankles tightly together, the cords sinking into the brown suede and holding them firmly to watch other.
“Oh god oh god oh god” Cathy kept saying as the woman then bound her legs together, below her knees, and then made her lie on her side, as Sue was made to sit on the floor, and then to lie down, looking up as her ankles were crossed and tied together.
“Now, we will be here for a little while longer,” the dark haired woman said as Sue watched her bind her legs together, taking the rope between her legs to make sure it was tightened even more, “so you need to stay where you are, and not make a move.”
“No chance of that,” Cathy said, Jan nodding as Sue was rolled onto her stomach, and her ankles pulled back, a final length of rope used to secure them to her chest.
“We also need you to be quiet,” she then said as two black scarves were produced and folded into squares, “so open your mouths as wide as you can.”
“Is that necessary?”
The two masked women said nothing, but held the scarves in front of Cathy and Sue, the two women allowing them to push the scarves into their mouths before they pressed several strips of silver duct tape over their lips.
The three captives were left alone, unwilling to move as they heard the intruders in the other room. Jan knew their safe was in there, and had no doubt in her mind that they were forcing it open.
Forcing was the wrong word – there was no sound of hammers and chisels, or sign of explosives. Instead, there was silence, and then a soft click and squeaking as she realised they had managed to find the electronic combination and open the door.
A short while later, the two women walked in and checked the bonds, before leaving without saying another word. Time seemed to pass slowly as Sue tried to move, her boots squeaking as her legs rubbed against each other, and Cathy merely looked at her two sisters, sobbing quietly as Jan started to work her mouth and jaw.
After what seemed like an eternity, their eyes widened as they saw Jan slowly work the scarf out of her mouth, eventually allowing the wet green scarf to fall on her dress as she paused to catch her breath.
“Sue,” she said quietly, “can you get on your knees?”
Sue shook her head as she looked over at Cathy. Her sister nodded as she rolled onto her stomach, and moved herself so that she eventually got onto her knees on the floor.
“Good – now shuffle over here. I need you to let me get my hand within reach of your mouth.”
Sue watched as her sister shuffled over, her chest moving between the bands of rope, and then lowered her head so that Jan could rub at the edge of the tape covering her mouth with her fingers.
It seemed to take another age as Jan managed to work loose the edge of the tape, and grab it in her fingers. “Okay – pull your head away and I’ll take the tape away.”
Cathy nodded as she moved her head away, the tape coming off her skin before Jan was holding it in her fingers, and she spat the scarf out of her mouth.
“You all right,” she said as she looked at Sue, who nodded as she looked at Jan’s wrist, and then started to pick at the tape with her teeth, painfully slowly removing the band around her wrist as Jan pulled up with her arm.
“That’s good,” she said as she finally broke her wrist free. “Can you do the same at my elbow?”
“I’ll try,” Cathy said as she moved her body down, before she started to gently peel the tape away from her arm. A few minutes later, Jan grunted as she pulled her arm free, and reached over to release her right arm as Cathy sat down.
Several hours later, Cathy returned to her apartment, looking at the sun rise over Hong Kong harbour as she looked out from the penthouse.
“I apologise for last night – I had intended to keep my sisters out for longer, but Jan was feeling tired, and I had no way of telling them why they should remain out for longer.”
“I understand,” the dark haired woman said as she sat behind her. “Is your sister all right?”
“Jan? You took exceptionally good care of her, Dominique – my thanks to both you and Charlotte for that. Did you get what we needed?”
“With regret, we did,” Dominique said as she handed over the file. “Your brother in law was responsible for the leaks.”
“A pity – I will ensure the correct people receive the information, and that Jan is well provided for. It is always distasteful when you have to deal with family matters.”
“Just so,” Dominique said as she stood. “Charlotte and I need to be on the plane back – it is Ama’s first day as a sophomore next week.”
“Of course - my best wishes to all there,” Cathy Lu said as Dominique bowed and left her apartment.