Mother and Daughter Moments 10
Garage sales were a peculiarly American thing until recent years, when they have grown in popularity in some parts of the UK as well. The idea is ridiculously simple – you put the things you don’t want to keep out in the yard, or the garage, or even your back garden, and people come and pay to take them off your hands. Simple, neat and very honest.
Of course, it is also something I can occasionally take advantage of. Earlier this year, I went with my girlfriend to just such a garage sale, which was organised by a colleague of hers from work. Brenda was in her early forties, and according to my girl had just, and I quote, “kicked the freeloading idiot she called her husband out of her life.”
As we approached the house, she said hello to us from the door. She had a pale blue apron with different coloured squares on over her black jumper and light grey pants.
She also had her two daughters helping out. Caitlin was ten, and had a striped apron on over her light purple t-shirt and shorts. Hailey was twelve, and wore a pale blue pinafore dress over a pink strapless top and a slightly longer aquamarine skirt. All three had trainers on, as they helped around what was essentially an open house.
Well, we had a look round, but what really caught my interest was when I went to the toilet, and caught a glimpse of Brenda’s bedroom through a door that had been left open. I could see some fine pieces of jewellery there, and – well, I’m afraid to say the other side of me knew what I needed to do, once the day had come to an end.
I’m not proud of that fact, but I knew I would be calling back again. My significant other had a night out with some other friends that night, so I didn’t need to worry too much about her, and I had time to head home and get what I needed.
I parked around the corner from the house, and walked casually round the corner and past the house. Once I had passed it, I slipped up the side and over a small fence, into the back garden. The door to the kitchen was open, while Brenda was carrying some trash bags to the bottom of the garden, her glasses still perched on her brown hair.
So I slipped inside, the stocking going down over my head, and I made my way quickly through to the front room. Caitlin and Hayley were sitting with their backs to me, counting out their takings on the coffee table as they talked to each other.
I turned to see Brenda standing there, so I put my finger to my lips and showed her the gun in my hand, then pointed to her bedroom. The house was a bungalow, so there were no stairs to climb, as she went in and I closed the door behind us.
“No shouts or screams, please,” I said quietly, “but I am here to steal your jewellery. Do as I say, and nobody needs to have an unpleasant time.”
“But my girls…”
“Will join you in due course – I’m not so naïve as to think I can do this without them finding out. But when that time comes, it will be easier for them if they stay calm, so I’m going to ask you to pretend this is some sort of game.” I thought for a moment as I looked at the books on some shelves in the room.
“They like Nancy Drew?”
Brenda slowly nodded as I said “Good - we tell them this is a Nancy Drew game. You have something I need to get ahold of, which in a way is true, and then they have to be kept quiet as well.”
“If it’s my jewels, fine – I don’t want half of them anyway, but the money…”
“Not interested,” I said as I took my rucksack off, “now, please, turn round and put your hands behind your back.”
Brenda saw me draw several lengths of rope from my bag, and nodded as she allowed me to tie her wrists together behind her back, hands back to back, and then use some rope around her arms above and below her chest to keep them in place.
“Sit on the bed, please,” I said quietly, and as she sat down I knelt in front of her and tied her ankles together, side by side, taking the rope as always round and between her legs, and then secure her legs together above and below her knees.
It was as I finished tying the rope between her legs above the knees that the door to the room opened, and Hailey came in.
“Mum, we made – oh my goodness, what is this man doing?”
Brenda looked at me, and said “He’s getting me ready to play a game of Nancy Drew with you and Caitlin. He’s captured me and he’s going to search for a file I have somewhere – but you’ve walked right into his trap as well.”
“I’m afraid so,” I said with a smile, “is there anybody else here?”
“My… My sister,” she said as she looked at me. “You’re not going to hurt us, are you?”
“Why would I hurt you – you heard your mother, this is a game. Why don’t we go and see your sister, and Mum can come and join you in a little while?”
I took Hailey by the arm and walked her through to where Caitlin was having a drink, her blonde hair pulled back while her sister’s hung loose. “Oh,” she said as we came in, “why are you wearing a mask?”
“Oh, I’m a bad guy that your sister found trying to take something your mum was keeping safe,” I said so that Brenda could hear me. “Now I need to make sure you two meddling snoops are kept out of the way while I make my getaway.”
There was a large mat on the other side of the coffee table, so I said “right – I need you two to sit down on the floor, back to back.” They were both barefoot, so as they sat down I looked in my rucksack and took out two rolls of white electrical tape.
“Take one of these each,” I said as I tossed them a roll each, and sat down on the couch, “then bend your knees and tape your ankles tightly together.”
They looked at me, and then at each other before Catlin bent her legs, resting her chin on her knees as she started to tape her ankles together. “Make sure it’s tight,” I said quietly, “it can hurt if it’s not.”
“Gotcha,” Hailey said quietly as she taped her ankles side by side, and then at my asking they taped their legs together, above and below their knees.
“This feels funny, like I’m a mermaid or something,” Caitlin said as she looked at the three white bands around her legs.
“It is a bit like a mermaid,” I said as I stood up. “Now, I want you both to put your arms round your legs, and clasp your hands together under them.”
As they did so, I used the tape to secure their wrists together under their legs, and then wrapped some around their tummies to hold them together. “Right,” I said as I looked at them, “Just one more thing to do.”
I took two red bandanas from my bag, and rolled them into bands, tying a knot in the centre of each one before I used them as cleave gags on the two girls, and then used several strips of the tape to cover their lips.
“Stay right there, snoops,” I said as I returned to the bedroom. “Now,” I said to Brenda, “your jewellery?”
“In the boxes in there,” she said as she indicated the wardrobe. “I only ask you leave a few pieces – family heirlooms from my mother.”
I complied with her wishes, before I used a knotted headscarf as a gag on her, and then covered her lips with white tape like her daughters.
“You’ll need to hop in,” I said as I helped Brenda to her feet, keeping the doors open as she hopped into the front room and the two girls looked up at her.
“Hssggnssnn,” she mumbled as I helped her to lie down on the bed. “I have what I came for,” I said as I left two pairs of nail scissors on the coffee table. “Someone is sure to find you if you can’t get free.”
I did call the police an hour or so later, just to make sure they weren’t struggling for too long…
Yeah, I know I broke my own rule with that last story – let’s just say it was a rare aberration. They do happen from time to time, you know – in the same way that, just occasionally, I find myself challenged in other ways.
A few years back, I was in Kensington High Street, doing a little window shopping when I saw this mother walking past, carrying some designer bags. She was about five eleven in height, with blonde hair that fell down her back, and wore a black sweater, blue jeans and knee length black leather boots with the cuffs turned down.
Her daughter was about eleven years old, and also had long blonde hair. She was wearing a black short sleeved top over a long sleeved green one, blue denim shorts over black leggings, and black Ugg boots. She was talking to her mum as she passed me, about the nice new earrings that she had bought for her.
They seemed to me a typical Kensington mum and daughter, and the bags they were carrying suggested they were not poor – ticking two of the boxes for a visit from me. So I decided to follow them home, as they turned up the Portobello Road, then left and into one of the houses on those side streets.
I went back to my car, which was parked in Kensington Gardens, and retrieved my rucksack, before making my way quietly back. I was wearing an old brown leather jacket over a sweatshirt, jeans and Timberland boots – so I didn’t get the attention of anyone as I went along the street, slipping on a pair of leather gloves before I tried the door handle.
I wasn’t surprised when the door would not open, but I could see a basement with a door. Many of these old houses have their kitchen down there, so I walked down the stairs, removed a couple of tools from my pocket, and managed to get in, closing the door behind me before I pulled the stocking down over my head.
I could hear noise upstairs, but there was nobody in the kitchen. I was about to go up when I heard the older woman say “I’m just going to get some water,” so I hid by the door and watched as she came down and headed to the fridge. She had changed, her hair held back now by a rubber band. A pale blue v-necked sweater and a pair of black casual pants were what she had on, her feet bare.
As she turned round, she saw me standing there, and stared with her mouth open as I came forward, the starting pistol I used at the time in my hand.
“Hello,” I said quietly, “Now, I don’t want you to scream or shout. I’m not going to hurt you or your daughter, so long as you do as I say. Understand?”
She slowly nodded as I said “Good – what’s your name?”
“I’m Veronica,” she said quietly.
“And your daughter’s name?”
“All right, Veronica, as I say, I’m not going to hurt you, but I am going to rob you, and I need to make sure you and Abigail don’t get in my way. Is anybody else home?”
“No – my husband is away on business… You need to make sure we don’t get in your way?”
I nodded and said “That’s right – but I don’t want to scare or upset Abigail too much, so you’re going to pretend that you’ve asked me to come and play a game of Robbers with her. That way, it’s not so scary for her. All right?”
She nodded and said “What do I need to do?”
“Turn round, and put your hands together behind your back. I’m going to tie your arms here, and then we can go and start to play the game with Abigail.”
So I crossed and tied her wrists tightly together with some rope from my rucksack, tied them to her waist, and then tied her arms to her side with some rope around her stomach, tightening it with two small lengths between her arms and her body. “After you,” was all I said as we walked up the stairs, me carrying the water bottles and my bag over my shoulder.
“Abigail,” Veronica said as we walked into the front room, “I have a surprise for you. This man has come to play robbers with us.”
Abigail looked up from where she was sitting on the floor, and for some reason the biggest smile I’ve ever seen crossed her face. “Robbers? Oh wow – does that mean we both get to be tied up at the same time?”
The young girl also had her hair pulled back, and was wearing a black vest top and yellow pants with a blue band round the right leg just below her knee. I looked at her and said “That’s right, Abigail – I’m pretending to be a nasty robber who has come to steal your lovely things, but I need to keep you and your mother together so that you can’t stop me. Would you like to play that game with us?”
She looked at her mother, who nodded as Abigail said “I’d love to – what do you want me to do?”
Now, I had by now met a few girls who liked the idea of being tied up with their mother, or their grandmother, or their aunt or their babysitter – so I just smiled and told Veronica to sit down in a chair, and Abigail to stand up and turn her back to me. It only took me a few minutes to cross and bind her wrists, secure them to her back, and then wrap some rope around her arms and stomach so that they were fixed to her body.
As she sat herself down on the floor, I took some more rope and tied Veronica’s ankles together side by side, and then secured her legs below her knees, making sure I cinched the bands between her legs. Abigail watched as I tied her legs together, and then twisted them and moved them up and down.
“You’re good,” she said as she looked at me – and you know what, it never even registered what she was saying, I was so into my usual routine. Going to my bag, I took out two black bandanas and rolled them into strips, knotting them and using them to gag both Veronica and Abigail.
“Now then,” I said as I looked at them, “I need to go and see what pretty things I can find. You two stay here.”
Anyway, I left them looking at each other, and made my way into the next room. Veronica’s purse was in there, as were the bags from earlier that day, so I started to look through them.
I turned suddenly, getting the shock of my life as I saw Abigail standing there, the ropes and scarf gone.
“So you did,” I said as I took her hand, “let’s go and see what Mummy is doing, shall we?”
I took her back to the next room, to see Veronica leaning down and untying her ankles. The two scarves were lying on the floor.
“Oh,” she said as she saw me looking at her and holding Abigail’s hand, “I see she found you.”
“See – I was quicker than Mum! What are you going to do now?”
She jumped up and down and clapped as I looked at her, and the scattered ropes on the ground, before I said “so you did – but that was just a practice. Let’s make it much harder now. I’m going to ask Mummy to lie on that couch, on her tummy, and put her hands on her head so that she can watch how I get you ready for round two, all right?”
Veronica smiled as she walked over and lay down, while I sat in her chair and made Abigail stand in front of me. I folded her arms behind her back, making her rest her elbows in the palms of her hands, and then tied wrist to elbow at each side, cinching the rope again, before I tied her forearms tightly together.
“This is nice and snug,” she said as she stood there, while I took a longer length of rope and tied it round her forearms above her elbows, and passed it round her body as well. She had long arms, so the band sat quite comfortably on her, as I tied it off, and then tied a second band around her upper arms and shoulders. Finding some smaller lengths, I used them to daw the bands together under her arms, and then helped her to sit in the chair.
“I’m going to tie your legs now, and then I’ll take care of Mummy,” I said as I crossed and tied her ankles together, her legs below her knees, and her thighs, each time cinching the band tighter by taking the rope between her legs.
“This is even better,” Abigail said as I went over to Veronica, crossed her ankles as she lay on her stomach and then tied her legs in the same way as Abigail. I then invited her to sit up, and secured her arms together and to her upper body – the only difference been in her case I tied rope above and below her chest, and tightened it by taking the rope under one arm, around the back of her neck and under the other.
“Just out of interest,” I said as I looked at Abigail, “did Mummy help you or you help Mummy?”
“Oh I got out myself and then helped Mummy a little before I came to find you,” Abigail said with the biggest of smiles.
“Well, I still need to keep you quiet, but I’m going to add an extra layer to your gags – make it more difficult to talk,” I said as I picked up the knotted bandanas. I used them both as before, although this time I pulled the knots behind their teeth and allowed them to close their lips over the cotton. Then I took from my bag a roll of white micropore tape, and used some strips to cover their mouths.
“Now,” I said as I looked at them, Veronica lying on her side while Abigail was on the chair, “Stay there while I continue to look for all the valuables.”
I went back to the other room, and finished my search of the things there, before I checked again. They were still where I had left them, both Abigail and Veronica looking at me before I headed up the stairs.
The master bedroom proved a very good place to visit, as I uncovered a good selection of jewellery boxes and other items. I spent a good twenty minutes sorting and selecting items, and putting the boxes back. It was while I was closing a drawer that I heard, very clearly and distinctly, Abigail shout out “I WIN AGAIN!!!”
“What the heck,” I said to myself as I went back down the stairs – and sure enough, there as Abigail, her legs bent as she was untying the last of the ropes from her body. The scarf was hanging round her neck, and the tape crumbled on the ground.
Looking at Veronica, I saw she also had her arms free, and was sitting up, trying to pull the ropes off her upper body. The tape and gag was still in place, but she was half way to getting free.
“So you have,” I said as I looked at Abigail. “IT looks as if I am going to have to set you – the ultimate challenge!”
“Wow, that sounds fun,” she said as she stood up, “What’s that?”
“Not here, why don’t you untie your mother first, then gather up all the ropes and show me where your bedroom is?”
As she did so, I looked at her and her mother. I’ve met a few escape artists in my time, but these were the best yet, and Abigail particularly so. Much as I hated to do it, it was obvious to me I was going to need to make sure she was incapable of using her hands or moving easily at all. The one thing in my favour was that she looked like she did gymnastics – that was going to be necessary.
Veronica held her daughter’s hand, smiling at me as we went back upstairs, and she put the ropes on her bed. “All right,” I said as I looked at her, “I need to make sure you really cannot move now. Have you got a pair of long sports socks?”
“In here,” Abigail said as she opened the drawer and took out a pair of white ones, “want me to put them over my hands?”
“Not yet,” I said as I opened my bag and took out two sponges. “I want you to hold these in your hands and make a fist for me, and then hold your hands out.”
As Abigail did this, I took a roll of silver duct tape out of my bag. I don’t like using this for gags, but that wasn’t what I had in mind at the moment. Instead, I wrapped it round her fists, and made little silver gloves of them.
“Now, Victoria,” I said as I looked at her mother, “I want you to pull the socks up over Abigail’s hands, and then tape the top of the sock to her arm.”
I watched as her mother covered Abigail’s arms, pulling the socks up past her elbows and then taping them to her arm. Once she had done this, I said “Now, sit down on the bed, hands on your head – I’m going to secure Abigail’s arms again before we go into your room. Abigail, let me know if this hurts.”
Taking some rope, I wrapped it round Abigail’s arms below her elbows, gently drawing them together until they touched, and then tied it off, taking the rope between her arms as well. I then tied her wrists together with another length of rope, before I tied them to her back with a band around her waist, making sure that was tightly cinched, and then a second band around her stomach, crossing it under her arms and then taking it round them to make sure they were locked into place.
A third band of rope went around her upper body and arms, before I said “There – think that will hold you a little longer?”
“It might,” Abigail said with a grin.
“Right – now I need to keep you nice and quiet, and then we’re going to go through to Mummy and Daddy’s room. I’m going to keep Mummy quiet as well, so any last words?”
“Better luck this time Mom,” she said before I took a cloth and pushed it into Abigail’s mouth, and used the bandana to keep it in place. I then wound the tape tightly round her head, lifting her hair out of the way as I did so, before Veronica got the same treatment.
Walking then through to the master bedroom, I let Abigail lie on the bed before I put her mother’s hands together, back to back, behind her and tied them tightly together. I then looked in a drawer I had searched earlier and took out a long stocking, which I fed up her arms to make a crude armbinder, taping it in place below and above her elbows.
“No starting until I say so,” I said as I looked at Abigail, who was twisting her body round. She looked at me and nodded as I used more rope to bind her mother’s secured arms more tightly to her body, taking it above and below her chest and then tightening it in the same way I had before.
“Both of you, please lie face down on the bed now,” I said quietly, and once they had done so I crossed and bound their ankles together, then their legs below and above their knees, and then their thighs. They wriggled round like sausages as I looked at them, and then took two of Veronica’s scarves, folded them into bands and tied them over their eyes.
“Nsssmrdffklt,” Abigail mumbled, then she squealed as I lifted her up and positioned her so that she was lying with her head at her mother’s feet. I then pulled her ankles back so that the heels of her feet touched her bottom, and with a length of rope secured them to her mother’s back. Veronica soon had her ankles pulled back and tied to Abigail’s back.
I then started to tickle their toes, both to give them a surprise but also to make sure I had made the ropes, gags and blindfolds as tight as possible. I’d never had to go this far before – even when asked – but this was a unique circumstance.
They wriggled and giggled, but everything held firm. I knew Abigail could not use her hands, and as for Mummy, if she moved Abigail moved with her.
“Well, see how you get on this time,” I said as I left them there, collected my bag and walked down the stairs, ready to leave and confident I would at least have time to get back to my car. It was when I went to the front door I saw the framed front page of a paper, and I saw the picture of Abigail next to the headline “Amazing Escape Teen Wins Talent Show.”
“Yeah – that will do it,” I said to myself as I took the stocking off and walked out of the house – something told me I needed to move fast…
Last week, I paid my latest visit to the family of a local bank manager. Not to rob his bank, of course – I leave that to Jay and the others – but because I was aware of some recent purchases they had made, from some pictures in the local paper.
His wife was in her early forties, and had shoulder length hair that had been dyed from the natural blonde to a reddish brown. As for his daughter, she was eleven, and had the natural long blonde hair. I also knew she was in the local amateur dramatic society – I had seen her in a panto or two before now as one of the troupes of girls that dance to the badly rewritten songs that are part of the tradition.
At any rate, I had plans in place which could come to fruition on this particular Saturday, while Father was at work. I knew she was going to a rehearsal session at the local church hall from 10 to 12, and that the production they were doing was a play called The Dangerous Hours – which gave me the opportunity to set up a suitable game for them.
I was waiting outside when they drove back into the driveway of their house, and watched them get out. Mum was wearing a leopard skin jacket over a red top, blue jeans and knee length black leather boots, while her daughter had on a long sleeved black and purple wool dress, with a diamond pattern at the top and the edge of the skirt, black and white striped leggings and knee length black leather boots with studs up the outside of the leg. An Alice band held her blonde hair back.
As always, I allowed them a few minutes to get back into the house, before I walked up to the front door. I was wearing the beard and sunglasses, and as I approached the door I pulled the black balaclava down over all of that, and felt in my jacket pocket for the gun I had with me.
Ringing the doorbell, I rehearsed in my mind the two possible approaches – if it was Mum, I would press her against the wall, handgag her and explain what was going to happen. If the girl, I would still handgag her, and whisper into her ear this was a game I was going to play with her and her mum.
As it was, it was neither – it was a nine year old girl, with long chestnut brown hair, wearing a pink jumper, blue jeans and a pair of baggy knee length brown leather boots.
So I had to think fast, as I walked quickly in and grabbed the girl, my hand over her mouth as I whispered “I’m here to help the mum and daughter with a game for their play. Who are you?”
“Mhhrcssnnn,” she mumbled into my leather glove.
“Her cousin? Are you visiting for the weekend?”
She nodded, and I cursed myself for not double checking some things. “All right then,” I whispered, “do you promise not to scream or let them know I’m here if I take my hand away? I don’t want to spoil the surprise, and you can play along as well.”
She nodded again, and as I took my hand away I said “what’s your name?”
“All right, Julie, where is your aunt?”
“She’s in the kitchen.”
“And your cousin?”
“Becky’s upstairs in her room.”
“All right,” I said, “let’s sneak up and join Becky, and we can start to play the surprise game, all right?”
She nodded as we walked quietly into the hallway, my hand on Julie’s shoulder, and then we walked up the stairs and into Becky’s bedroom. As she turned to look at us, I put my finger to my lips and closed the door.
“Hello Becky,” I said quietly, “Your mum asked me to come and help you to rehearse for the musical. There’s a scene where you, your mum, dad and brother are tied up by the bad men, right?”
“That’s right,” Becky said as she looked at me.
“Well, your mum wanted you to have a little taste of what that could be like, so she asked me to come and show you – I work with her, so you can trust me, all right?”
“So you’re going to pretend to hold us hostage?”
“That’s right – I’ll make sure neither of you can move, and then I’ll pretend to take your mum hostage as well. How would you like that?”
“Do you want to play as well, Julie?”
“If it helps you Becky, sure. What do you want me to do?”
“You lie on Becky’s bed, face down with your hands on your head,” I said as I slipped off my rucksack and produced some rope, “while I make sure Becky here can’t move. Then I’ll take care of you, all right?”
I watched Julie as she lay down with her head to one side, while I looked at Becky. She was sitting in a computer chair, with a single spar holding up the back support and a central column for the seat, so I started by taking a length of rope and tying her waist to the chair back, winding it round both of them and tying it off behind the chair back. I then crossed her wrists behind the chair and tied them together before tying them to the back, and then tied her arms to her body around her shoulders, makign sure I used two smaller lengths to tighten the rope under her arms.
“Now,” I said as I put my hands on Becky’s shoulders, “sit nice and quietly while I take care of your cousin.”
Walking over to Julie, I first crossed her ankles and tied them tightly together, the rope squeaking against the leather as I passed the cords around and between her legs, and then tied her legs together below her knees. Helping her to sit up, I crossed and tied her wrists together behind her back, and then tied her arms to her side with the usual rope around her stomach and arms.
“This is fun,” she said as she looked over at Becky, “so what happens now?”
“I need to keep you quiet,” I said as I knelt down in front of the older girl, “but first I need to secure her legs.”
I started by folding the hem of her dress back a little, and tying her legs together below her knees, before I tied her ankles together side by side, and then pulled them a little way under the seat and tied them to the centre column as well.
“I really can’t move now,” she said in as excited voice, “so I guess you have to keep us quiet now?”
“I’m afraid so, and then I’ll surprise your mum, but I’ll bring her in here to see you’re all right.” With that, I took two black scarves from my bag, rolled them into bands and tied knots in the middle, and used them as cleave gags on both girls. As a last touch, I pulled Julie’s ankles back and tied them the rope around her stomach, before I left them and went back downstairs.
Becky’s mother was sitting in the front room, her legs crossed as she read the paper, so she was shocked when I put my hand over her mouth and said “Not a word – I have already secured your daughter and niece, and I’m going to do the same to you before I rob you. Nod if you understand.”
As she did so, I said “Good – they think this is a game you have arranged to help Becky with her part in the play, and I strongly advise you to continue to let them think that. Then they won’t get upset and panic, all right?”
She mumbled something and then nodded again, while I took my hand from her mouth. “It’s Claire, isn’t it?”
“That’s right – how do you know?”
“I do my research – now, please, stand up and face the window, with your hands behind your back.”
Fifteen minutes later, I opened the door to Becky’s room to see her and Julie still where I had left them, the scarves noticeably darker where they sat between their lips. I had secured Claire’s arms to her body, as she looked at the two girls and said “this man is holding us captive. You do as he says, all right?”
They nodded and giggled as I said “Come along – let’s get you where you won’t move.” I walked her to the master bedroom, set her down on the bed and then crossed and bound her ankles, followed my her legs below her knees. Once she had told me where her jewellery was, it was simply a matter of laying her down, pushing a folded cloth into her mouth and then taping it over with white micropore tape, before I hogtied her and took what I could.
Before I felt the house, however, I wheeled Becky and Julie into the room, leaving Julie next to her aunt, so that they could keep each other company – and to have a chance to free each other.
Actually, I just came from the first night of the production – and Becky nailed the part of the young daughter hostage. Must have been the practice…
I had been researching this particular family for a few weeks, making sure I had as much of their routine down as I possibly could. Father was an executive for a pharmaceutical company, and some discrete enquiries had established he was attending a week long Leadership Conference in the US.
Mummy was the deputy head of a local secondary school, which both her daughters attended. The oldest was thirteen, the youngest twelve. I therefore figured the easiest way to rob this particular family would be to surprise them when they got home from school one night, and make it something of a home invasion adventure for the two girls – with mummy’s cooperation, of course.
So I was waiting in my car as they drove home on this particular evening, my bag in the seat beside me. Mummy stopped and got out of the car first, the heels of her black leather boots sinking into the gravel as she walked up to the front door. She was wearing a red and black dress with a black jacket on top. The two girls were in their school uniform – green jacket and skirt, white socks and black shoes, as they walked in with their bags.
I got out of the car and walked up to the front door, pulling the stocking down over my head as I did so and putting the bag over my shoulder. Ringing the doorbell, I looked round and then smiled as Mummy opened the door, before I pushed her in and closed the door behind me, showing her the gun in my hand.
“Not a word,” I whispered as she looked at me. “I’m going to rob you tonight, and I know your husband is out of the country. If you want this not to be a scary thing for your daughters, you’ll do exactly what I say, all right?”
She looked at me, and then said “Are you the Games Player?”
“Is that what they call me now in the papers?”
She nodded as I smiled. “Good – that’s me, now, what is your name?”
“Janice,” she whispered, her eyes fixed on the gun.
“And your daughters?”
“Evey and Melissa.”
“All right then – take me to them, and I’ll explain what’s going to happen.”
She nodded and led me through to the kitchen, where both girls were sitting and doing their homework.
They looked up and saw me there. “It’s all right,” Janice said quietly, “this man is here because I thought we could act out a game tonight, like in the Nancy Drew books. He’s going to pretend to hold us hostage, and then pretend to rob us. It means we won’t be able to move for a little while, but I thought you might enjoy the experience.”
“Wow – like that guy in the papers?”
“That’s right Evey,” Janice said to the younger girl. She had light blonde hair, unlike the copper red hair of Janice and the other girl.
“So what’s he going to do,” Melissa said as she looked at me. I could see the white blouse and green and black tie she and her sister were wearing.
“Well,” I said, “right now I’m going to tie you and your sister to your chairs, and let you finish your homework while your mother cooks your tea. After that, we’ll see what happens. First, take your mobile phones out and put them on the table.”
They both fished their phones out from their jackets and put them face down, while I slipped my bag off and took some rope out. I then tied their ankles to the front legs of their chairs, and their waists to the back, before allowing them to carry on with the work.
I then asked Janice for her handbag, and sat at the table, removing the batteries from their phones and watching as she prepared their meal, and they tackled the complexities of trigonometry and history. I even helped them by answering some questions, while Mum made a shepherd’s pie.
Once they had finished, and put their books to one side, I helped Janice to set the table and then watched them as they ate their dinner, talking about what they had done at school that day. Eventually, Evey said “I need to go to the toilet.”
“Have you all finished eating,” I said quietly. As they all nodded, I said “I just need to do something with your mother and sister first,” standing up and walking behind Janice. I had tied her ankles to the chair, and her waist as well when she sat down, but now I pulled her arms behind the chair back and tied her wrists together, before securing them to the chair back. I then tied Melissa’s wrists together in the same way, and said “Can I trust you both to be quiet while I take Evey upstairs?”
They nodded as I untied Evey from the chair, and allowed her to go upstairs and use the bathroom. As she came out, I said “Which room is yours?”
“This one,” she said quietly, “why?”
“Go and get changed,” I said as I opened the door, “but I’ll be standing outside, and you mustn’t try and call for help, all right?”
She nodded and said “I understand – it’s part of the game isn’t it?”
“That’s right,” I said as she went in, and I stood outside, waiting until she re-appeared in a white t-shirt, blue denim skirt with two pink bands at the bottom, knee length striped socks and pink sandals.
“Now,” I said as I took some rope from my pocket, “I’m going to have tie your arms upstairs before we go back down, so turn round and cross your wrists behind your back.”
Evey smiled and nodded as she did so, and I tied her wrists tightly together, using some rope around her waist to secure them in place. I then tied a longer length of rope around her forearms and stomach, in my classic double figure of eight, before we walked back down and she watched me untie her mother and sister.
“We’re going to go upstairs,” I said as they stood up, “and I want you both to get changed as well. Once you’ve done that, we can go and watch some television – but no funny tricks, all right?”
They nodded as we went back up, me standing with Evey as they went into their rooms. Melissa emerged first, wearing a pink t-shirt with a yellow vest detail on the front, blue jeans and gold flat shoes.
“Are you all right Evey,” she said as she looked at her sister, who nodded and smiled as she said “Yeah – this is exciting.”
“Your turn, Melissa,” I said as I turned her round and crossed her wrists behind her back, tying them tightly together and then securing them to her back with rope around her waist. As I tied the rope around her arms and stomach, Janice came back out, looking at both of her daughters.
She was also wearing a white t-shirt, and a green silk skirt with a floral print on it that went down past her knees. She was wearing a pair of silver shoes with a short block heel.
“Is your husband going to call you tonight,” I said as I looked at her.
“Yes,” she said as she glanced at her watch, “in half an hour.”
“Good – let’s go downstairs and sit in the front room then,” I said as we headed back down the staircase, and the two girls sat next to each other on a couch, twisting their arms round as they talked to each other.
“Sit there and put your hands on your head,” I said to Janice, watching her as she did so before I knelt beside Melissa and used two lengths of rope to bind her ankles together, as well as her legs below her knees, making sure I cinched the bands between her legs.
“Are you going to do the same to me,” Evey said as I moved to kneel beside her.
“Yes, forgive me a moment,” I said as I folded her skirt back for a moment and tied her legs together first, and then replaced her skirt, covering that band of rope as I tied her ankles together.
“Now,” I said as I stood up, “when your daddy calls I need both of you to let mummy do all the talking. What would you like to watch?”
“Can we watch some of the box set,” Evey said, Melissa nodding in agreement as Janice stood up and turned on the television, and slipped a disk from a set of the Harry Potter movies into the player. The girls sat back, Evey swinging her legs over the side of the couch, and watched as the telephone started ringing.
I accompanied Janice out, whispering “Not a word of what is happening,” as she answered the phone. “Hello honey,” she said as she looked at me, “how’s the conference?” She sat down on a stool and watched me as she started talking.
Half an hour later, she said “I’ll talk to you tomorrow – stay safe,” and ended the call, replacing the receiver as she stood up.
“Very good,” I said as I took her back into the front room, and took some more rope from my bag. I crossed her wrists behind her back and tied them tightly together, and then tied her arms to her side, the rope going above and below her chest as the two girls watched the film.
“Is that too tight for you, mum,” Melissa said as she watched Janice sit down. “No,” Janice replied with a smile, “I’ll be all right.” She then watched me as I sat down and tied her ankles tightly together, then folded her skirt back and tied her legs together below her knees, before folding her skirt back.
“Now, can I trust the three of you to sit and watch the film quietly while I pretend to have a look round?”
The girls nodded as I looked at Janice, who nodded as well before I left them and searched the house. It was a good search too, as I deposited my finds in the bag once I came back in.
The film was just finishing, so I said “Would you like to watch another one?”
“Yes please,” the two girls said.
“Well, this time I need to pretend to leave you, so I need to keep all three of you quiet. Let me change the disk and then show you.”
I did just that, and then folded a large cream and brown headsquare into a band and tied a knot in the middle. “Open wide,” I said to Janice, easing the knot between her teeth and then tying the band tightly round her head.
“What are you going to use for us,” Evey said, “that looks awfully big.”
I then showed her two of her mother’s bandanas, already folded and with a smaller knot tied in the middle. “That looks better,” she said as I tied the first one in her sister’s mouth, then mumbled “Ysstsbtr” as I tied the second one in her mouth.
“Have fun – I’ll be watching,” I said as I slipped out of the room, and quietly made my exit. I called the police a couple of hours later, to let them know what had happened.
There are times when it can be difficult to decide how best to approach a visit, because of the things that you discover when you are researching them. And then there are times when you do your research, it goes well, and something happens that just adds that little extra something.
This particular family had only one child, a bright ten year old, while Mummy worked as a teacher at a local school and Daddy earned his keep in the city. I had noticed them first when they had been buying wedding presents at a mall – very expensive presents, such as ordering a complete dinner service, so I knew there was a good chance of some valuable items.
They lived in a block of 1920’s flats in the Ealing area – fortunately for me, a ground floor flat, which meant access by the rear yard was a lot easier than going up a fire escape. So this Saturday afternoon, I knew they were in – I’d seen them coming back half an hour earlier, so I made my way over the wall into the back yard, slipped the stocking down over my head, and unlocked the back door before entering the very stylish kitchen.
I barely had time to close the door before I heard heels on carpet, and turning round I saw the mother of the family come in. She was wearing a dark blue satin sleeveless dress, with a lighter blue floral pattern on it, and wide straps on each shoulder as well as a rounded collar. A pair of cork wedge sandals completed her outfit, and the skirt fell to just below her knees.
She was about to shout when I put my gloved hand to my fingers and showed her my gun, walking behind her and closing the door for a moment. “What’s your name,” I then said.
“Cheryl,” she said quietly, looking at me with her brown eyes as her red hair fell around her face. “Who are you?”
“I believe the press have started calling me the Game Player – have you heard of me?”
Cheryl nodded. “I read that report in the Mail magazine – you rob people, but make it like a game for the family.”
“That’s right,” I said quietly, “so you know what I am going to ask you to do. What’s your daughter’s name, and where is she?”
“Bobbi – she’s in the front room. We were about to have afternoon tea…”
“Well, you can still have afternoon tea,” I said with a smile, “it’s just you won’t be able to leave your seats. Perhaps I can help you?”
Fifteen minutes later, I opened the door for Cheryl and allowed her to carry the tea tray in, with two cups and cakes.
Bobbi looked at me and said “Who are you?”
“Me? Your mum asked me to come and play a special game,” I said as I looked at the ten year old. She wore a party dress, with royal blue velvet top and long sleeves, and a white underskirt with a lace floral patterned overskirt. The dress came down to just above the white shoes she was wearing.
“Oh – what game?”
“The queen and the princess were sitting down to afternoon tea when the bad robber surprised them,” I said quietly as Cheryl sat down. “But he was also a kind robber, so he let them have their afternoon tea before he stopped them from raising the alarm, and stole their crowns.”
“That sounds like fun – what are you going to do?”
“Watch Mummy,” I said as Cheryl nodded and put her hands on her head. I took a length of rope and tied her waist tightly to the chair she was sitting in, making a double figure of eight so that her waist was secured to the chair back, and then a second one under her chest. I then knelt down and tied her ankles tightly together, before I ran some rope back and tied them to the cross piece.
“Your turn, your highness,” I then said as I bound Bobbi to her chair, in her case just tying her ankles together – with her pulled back in the seat, they could not go under, so I used more rope to tie them to the chair legs instead.
I then pushed them both under the table, and poured the tea for them, giving them both a cup and some cakes on plates.
They both just talked as if it was a normal afternoon tea, while I looked round the room, and behind Bobbi’s back searched through her mother’s purse.
After a while, Cheryl said “I think we have finished our tea now, sir – what else do you intend to do?”
I took her arms behind the chair back and tied her wrists together, before I secured them to the chair back. For Bobbi, I tied her wrists together on front of her, and then tied them down to her ankles.
Reaching into the bag, I took out a roll of flesh coloured plaster, as well as two hankies.
“What are they for,” Bobbi said as she looked at them.
“The robber knew a magic spell that meant the queen and the princess were unable to talk for a while,” I said as I folded one of the hankies, “watch.” I waved my hand in front of Cheryl’s’ mouth, and whispered “open wide when I put my hand in front of it.” She nodded, and as she opened her mouth I pushed the hankie in, and let her close her lips over it. I then tore a strip of the plaster off and pressed it over her mouth.
“Oh,” Bobbi said when she saw it, “her mouth is sealed. I’m ready.”
“Open wide,” I said as I waved my hands in front of her, and a few minutes later she too was stuff and tape gagged.
I left them there while I quickly searched the rest of the house, and then left them for Daddy to find.
Simple yes – but the interview Cheryl said she had read? That is a completely different story…
That particular story really came about by chance, but not because I had not planned this particular visit. I had done some very careful research on this family – I knew they had three daughters, the oldest of whom was only 12, so I did a lot of research on them. Their father was a television producer – Mark Strangeway, who did work for Channel 4 and the like. His wife Norma worked for one of the broadsheets, and they had three daughters, nine year old Chloe, ten year old Joanne and twelve year old Mandy.
They lived in an old thatched cottage in the Chilterns, along the old A40, and my researches had told me Daddy would be away all weekend at a conference – so when I drove into the driveway on this particular Saturday morning, I was confident of plenty of time to play and look for things.
I had decided I was going to be my Scottish friend today, so I already had on the red beard and wig, and was dressed in a tweed jacket, white jumper, light trousers and brown brogues. Slipping on the dark glasses, I then pulled the ski mask down over my head, thanking God it was a private lane, and got out. Retrieving my bag from the boot, I walked up the garden path and then round the side of the house.
In the kitchen, I could see Norma sitting at the table, a mug of coffee in front of her as she read the paper. She had long dark hair that fell over her white cardigan, which covered her black with white polka dots top. Her beige skirt came to just above her knees, while she also wore a pair of dark brown leather boots which had three inch heels. For a mother of three in her early forties, she looked good.
I took a deep breath, and very quietly opened the kitchen door, leaving it open as I slipped in and went behind her. She had no idea I was there until I put my hand over her mouth, and said in my Scottish accent “Don’t scream – I’m not going to hurt you, if you do as I ask.”
“Htthhllrruuu,” she said as she tried to pull my hand away. I merely held her more firmly, and allowed her to see the gun in my hand, before repeating “Please, no screaming – do you want to scare your daughters?”
That made her stop and think, as she put her hands down and shook her head from side to side. “Good,” I say, “so if I take my hand away, you’ll be quiet?”
She nodded, so I removed my hand and said “Thank you Norma. Now, very slowly, lean forward and put your hands behind your back.”
“Who are you,” she said as I took some cord from my pocket, and tied her wrists together.
“I’m a robber,” I said quietly, “and I intend to rob you today. But I don’t want it to be a frightening experience for your daughters, so I want you to…”
“To pretend this is a game and that I asked you to come and play it.” She turned her head and looked at me. “You’re the Games Player.”
“Ay, I am at that,” I said as I helped her to stand up, “so, will you help me to convince them this is a game?”
Norma looked at me, and then said “I’ll do you a deal. You fascinate me, and I’ll love to do an article about you – tell your side of the story. The man who makes kids feel good about robberies. Will you let me ask you some questions?”
“I don’t know…”
“Allow me to do this, and I’ll tell the girls I’ve arranged this as a play date. You’re an evil villain that Mummy had been investigating, and he’s come to force me to hand over my information. You take my daughters hostage to make me co-operate, but I turn the tables on you and find out what I need to know instead.”
I looked at her, and said “and they will play along with that?”
“They’re stuck here all day today – I think they’ll like the excitement. Well?”
“You know I will leave all four of you tightly bound and gagged?”
“I can give you my sister’s number – she lives a few miles away. Just tell her I said to come running, and she will. So Mr Games Player – ready to face the press?”
I thought about it for a few minutes, before I said “all right – but we play the game my way, all right?”
“All right,” Norma said. “So what now?”
“We gather the girls in one place – where’s Chloe?”
“Watching television in the main room.”
“And where is your computer?”
“In the main room.”
“Good,” I said as I picked up my bag, “then let’s play the game.”
We walked in to see nine year old Chloe watching television. I could see she had a thing for purple – starting with the purple ribbon tied in her hair. She also had a purple long sleeved top on, with a girdle like belt around her waist, and a skirt with an ethnic print and a lace frilled edge. Even her combat patterned leggings were purple, while she wore a pair of purple suede boots that had a fake lace detail on the front, and flowers up the outside of each boot.
Her daughter looked up and saw us, and put her hand to her mouth.
“It’s all right Chloe – this man is pretending to be a criminal that I’m trying to stop, and we’re going to play a game – all of us – where he tries to get me to say what I have. Do you think you and the others would like to play that?”
“Is this for one of Dad’s projects?”
As Norma nodded, Chloe said “all right – please don’t hurt us mister.”
“I won’t if you do as I say,” I said quietly. “Put your hands on your head – now call your other daughters in.”
Norma nodded as she looked out of the door and said “Joanne, will you come down for a minute please.”
I listened to the footsteps on the stairs and then the ten year old came in, her light brown hair pulled back in a pigtail. She was wearing a pink sweat top that came down almost to her knees. It had a hood, and thin white and pink vertical stripes on the body, long sleeves and pockets at the front. She also had on a pair of blue leggings with a floral pattern on them, and short black leather boots.
“What’s up, Mu…”
“It’s all right, Joanne,” Norma said, “this is a special game I’ve arranged, to help Daddy with a work project. This man has broken in to find out what I know about him, and he’s going to hold you three hostage to force me to talk.”
Joanne looked at me, as I said “So sit down with your sister – once the other one is here, I’m going to make sure your mum does what I want her to do.”
She nodded and then sat down, putting her hands on her head as Chloe giggled with her. Norma then said “we need to go and fetch Mandy from her room – she won’t hear us.”
“Well then,” I said as I put my bag on the floor, “we need to keep you two here. Both of you, very slowly bring your hands down and hold them together in front of you.”
A few minutes later, I had tied the wrists of both Chloe and Joanne together in front of them, and secured their legs at the ankles and below the knees, before tying their wrists to the rope around their legs. I also smoothed a piece of tape over each of their mouths, and then said “Don’t move – I will be back with your sister in a moment.”
As we walked into the hallway, I disconnected the phone, and then walked behind Norma up the stairs and into one of the bedrooms. As we went in, I saw Mandy, her oldest daughter, sitting at a desk with her headphones on. She had long blonde hair, and was wearing a white woollen dress with an olive green sleeveless jerkin over it. I could see her striped leggings under the seat, the bottom half tucked into a pair of brown leather boots.
Norma walked in with me as I removed the headphones, and Mandy turned round, looking at through her glasses.
“Mandy, we’re all playing a game where I’ve been forced by this villain to reveal what I know, and he’s holding you three hostage to force me to cooperate. I need you to join us, all right?”
“A game?” She looked at me and her mother, with her hands behind her, and said “Where are Chloe and Joanne?”
“They’re waiting for you downstairs,” I said as I produced a length of cord from my pocket. “Please, put your hands together in front of you, and we can begin.”
“Hllmndeee” the two younger girls said as we walked in, Mandy already with her wrists tied together in front of her and tape over her mouth. I sat her with her sisters, and tied her ankles and legs together, before securing her wrists as well.
“Now,” I said as I pulled the chair away from the computer desk, “sit down, Mrs Strangeway.”
As she sat in the chair, I took some rope from my bag, and tied her waist to the chair, making sure her arms were still free. I then pulled her legs under the chair and tied her ankles tightly together, before securing them to the central support of the chair, before tying her legs together below her knees.
“Stay there while I take care of something,” I then said, as I turned the television on and put The Hobbit on for the girls. I then went outside, and disconnected their internet box, making sure all the wires were removed and the power supply pulled out. I quickly checked the other rooms, and then found their mobile phones, removing the batteries from all of them.
“Now,” I said as I came back in, “I’m going to open your computer, and you’re going to show me all the files you have about my operations.” I turned the computer on, and then used the control panel to disable the wireless devices in the machine, before I opened a Notepad window.
Untying Norma’s wrists, I let her flex her fingers before she said “All right – but you have to answer my questions as well. When did you first start your nefarious career?”
As she spoke, she typed, and we started to have a conversation, me answering her questions slowly and clearly, and her typing my answers in as I spoke. I kept a close eye on her, as I heard the three girls trying to talk to each other, making sure she only typed what I said. I told her about how I started, my motivations, my code of ethics, and she asked about a couple of well publicized visits that I had made.
Eventually, she said “one last question. Do you have any regrets, any remorse for what you have done?”
“If I have upset any of the families I have visited, then I regret that, but I have always, always tried to make it as much fun as possible. So while I regret that they have lost things, I do not feel I have deliberately set out to hurt anyone.”
Norma typed the last sentence, and then watched as I saved the document, and turned off the computer.
“Now,” I said as I looked at the three girls, “I need to make my preparations to get away. So I need to make sure none of you can raise the alarm for a while. But I will allow you to go to the toilet before I do anything else. Who needs to go?”
As Chloe raised her hand, I asked Norma to lean forward. I then folded her arms behind her back, and tied them together wrist to elbow, and across her forearms, before I untied Chloe.
“No shouting now,” I said as I looked at them, and took Chloe to the bathroom, peeling the tape away from her mouth as I did so. When she came out, I said “For the next part of the game, I need to keep you all in Mummy’s room and make sure you really can’t move your arms. So I want you to put your hands together behind your back, all right?”
“Will it hurt?”
“No it won’t” I said as I tied her wrists tightly together behind her back, making sure the rope stayed over the cuff of her top, and then tied some rope around her waist to keep them against her back. I then tied her arms to her stomach, before I took her into her mother’s room.
A few minutes later, I came back down and untied Joanne, before taking her upstairs. Mandy was soon after, and then I untied Norma from the chair and walked her up.
“Are you girls all right,” she said as she looked at her three daughters, who were sitting against the wall at the top of the large double bed. All three had their arms bound in the same way, their ankles crossed and secured, and their legs tied together below their knees. Their eyes were covered with one of their mother’s scarves, folded into a band and tied tightly round their heads, and their mouths were covered by a band of white tape that went around their heads.
They all nodded and mumbled as I whispered “now, show me where your jewellery is.” Norma duly obliged, as all three wriggled round, the ropes rubbing on their boots as they did so.
Once I had searched the room and emptied it, I said “All right, Mrs Strangeway – time to get you secured as well.” Taking some more rope, I tied her upper arms to her side, taking the rope above and below her chest, and then made her sit down as I secured her ankles and legs in the same way as her daughters.
“Open wide,” was my next comment, as I pushed a folded scarf into Norma’s mouth, and then wrapped the white tape around her head to keep it in place. She then lay down, facing her daughters as I said “Now, all of you stay still – I’m sure someone will come and rescue you once I have taken all the files!”
Naturally, I took the opportunity to search the other rooms, before taking one look in the room. Chloe had wriggled down and was snuggling into her mother, as the other two tried to find their wrists rope knots – which was my cue to get out.
A few weeks later, I was reading the broadsheet in question at the pub while having my Sunday lunch, and I saw “The Games Player – the nicest robber in Britain?” Reading on, Norma had recounted what happened that day, and I was pleased to see she had faithfully reproduced our little chat, as well as what happened when her daughters and she were released by her sister. She said they had enjoyed the experience, even if it was wrong to be robbed.
I could not say fairer than that…
As you know, there is this website come chat room where some of the family members I visit congregate and I drop in anonymously on occasions. So you can imagine my surprise when I saw the following exchange.
Hello – I was told that this is a place where people come if they have met the Games Player?
That it is – welcome LittleEva. Do you have a story to share with us?
I think I do, but I’m not sure if it is the same. You see, it wasn’t a man who came to our house and said they wanted to play a game – it was a woman.
Really? Tell us what happened.
Yes, tell us.
Well, my name is Eva, and I’m ten years old. Last Saturday, Mummy and I had been to see a film, and came home at about two o’clock. I had on a peach coloured dress – no sleeves, and it comes down over my knees. I also had a pair of brown sandals on. Mummy was wearing a long white cardigan over a grey top, jeans and grey trainers.
Anyway, we came in, and I went to the kitchen to get a Capri Sun while Mum went into the front room. She then told me to come through, but when I did so someone else was with her. It was a woman, wearing a black leather jacket, jeans and boots, but she also had black gloves on and a stocking pulled down over her head.
“Hello Eva,” she said to me, “Mummy wants you to play a game of cops and robbers with her. Would you like to play that?”
I looked at Mummy, and she nodded, so I said I would play.
Oh my – we have a copycat around. Am I wrong in saying this is exciting?
I’m excited and a little unsure at the same time. Eva, what happened next?
Well, Mummy sat down on the couch, and told me to sit next to her. She then said the masked woman was going to make sure we stayed in one place, while she pretended to look for valuables. I wasn’t sure what she meant, but then I saw her take some lengths of cord from a bag on the floor, and she told me to put my hands in front of me.
She started by tying my wrists together – it felt funny, and yet it didn’t feel sore or uncomfortable, just tight. Does that make any sense?
It does, Eva – carry on.
Well, when she had tied my wrists together, she then did the same to Mummy. She then took some more rope, and tied my ankles together, and then Mummy’s. We both smiled at each other as we watched her fold my skirt back, and tie my legs together below my knees, before she used one more bit to tie my wrist to that band of rope, my skirt been replaced under that.
Some of the others here have described that – you can’t move your hands very much when he – sorry, she does that, can you?
No – she did the same to Mummy, and then left us in the front room while she walked around the rest of the house. Mummy said the woman had taken her mobile phone with her, and we should just sit there and listen to the television. At least she had left it on the Disney Channel.
After a little while, she came back in, and she had two of Mummy’s scarves with her. She told us that the robber had to make sure we did not call out, and then she rolled one of them into a band and told me to open my mouth. I looked at Mummy, and when she nodded I let the lady tie the band in my mouth. It felt really funny, and it mean it could not talk very well, but when she did the same to Mummy it didn’t feel so bad.
Then she left us – she said she would be watching, but then I think she just left. A policeman came and freed us a little while later, and Mummy just kept hugging and kissing me, and saying what a brave girl I was.
Eva, it sounds like the Games Player, but he must have a copy cat. I wonder how he would feel if he knew?
Well, I wasn’t sure how I felt if truth be told – intrigued, and wondering who it was were closest to the mark. I wondered if I would ever find out – and I did.
But not for some time…
I was parked on this particular Saturday in a car park in a suburb of Ipswich, working on my laptop, catching up on a few e-mails as well as completing some research on a project I had been planning for some time. This particular project involved a large detached house across the road from the car park, and the family that lived there.
Edward Richmond was an entrepreneur, helping small companies with start-up funds in return for a small percentage of the business, and he was very good at it. Certainly better than anyone on the Dragon’s Den, which meant he could afford to live a comfortable life here with his family. He himself was very well built, and obviously worked out, so I had no particular wish to meet him in my guise.
So for the last few weeks, I’d been spending my Saturday mornings here, before going to see Janna just down the road in Cambridge in the afternoons. I used different hire cars from different companies each week, and parked in different places, but spent the time researching him and his family.
His wife Paulette was in her early forties, with blonde hair cut into a bob – a colour of hair her two daughters shared with her. Gail was the youngest at ten years old, and had very long light blonde hair, while thirteen year old Lorna had slightly darker, but just as long hair. Gail needed glasses, as she was wearing them the few times I had seen them, but not Lorna – or Paulette for that matter. These things tend to run in families, and when I found old photos of Edward wearing glasses, I realised where she had got her eyes from.
As for their Saturday routine – well, it was clear after a couple of weeks there was a routine, although what I wasn’t sure. So when I checked my watch and saw it was nine, I looked across the road to see Paulette coming out, dressed in a pair of running tights and a vest top, I knew this was just like all the others. The only question was whether or not she would be joined by the others.
Sometimes Lorna had come out with her, and when I had seen them running off they were obviously fairly fit. On a few occasions, Gail would come too, riding along on her bike to keep up. Today, however, Paulette was on her own, setting off along the road while listening to something on her player.
Pouring myself a coffee, I sat back and watched the house. No matter who was on the run with Paulette, they tended to be back between quarter to and ten to ten, so I had some time to review the floor plans I had found on line. I was tempted to pay them a visit this morning, if the rest of the Saturday routine went as I expected it to.
Sure enough, at quarter to ten exactly Paulette returned and went into the house, me watching to see what would happen next. At some point at or soon after ten, I expected Edward to appear and put his kit bag in his car, which was parked in the driveway.
He was actually a few minutes late today, but at 10.15 he came out of the house, closing the door behind him and walking down in his Arsenal kit. He opened the boot of the car, and put his bag and football boots in, before closing it, getting behind the wheel and reversing onto the road.
There was a five a side football centre down the road, and from what I could gather he went there every Saturday for a game, before going for lunch with his fellow players. In the weeks I had been watching, the rest of the family did not go out until after he returned, but what they did I had no idea.
As he went down the road, however, I decided that this was going to be the day when I would call, so I got out of my car and took my rucksack from my boot, closing and locking it before I walked across the road. I was wearing a blue Pringles sweater over a white shirt that had thin red stripes, grey trousers and black shoes, but as I walked up the driveway and round to the back of the house I slipped on a pair of black leather gloves, and then pulled the stocking down over my head.
The lawn at the back was as I had seen on Google Earth – large spacious, but with a high fence all round, so I was secure as I knelt at the back door and got to work on the lock. It soon gave way to my lock picks, and I slipped in, closing the door behind myself as I looked round.
The kitchen was empty, and as I put my hand to the kettle it was still cold. Everything was neatly tidied away, and it seemed quiet, but I could hear noise coming from somewhere. Making my way slowly along the hallway, I looked in the dining room, the downstairs toilet, and then the front room – nobody was there.
I could still hear the noises, however, so I started to climb the staircase, in case they were up in their bedrooms. As I got to the top however, the noise was quieter, which suggested they were not up here – a quick check of all the rooms confirmed that.
So I went back downstairs, and listened carefully once more. There was a door at the side of the hall, under the stairs, and as I listened there I realised the sound was coming from behind that door. The plans had said there was a cellar, but I had to wonder what there was down there – so I slowly turned the door handle, opening it noiselessly to hear the increase in the sound, and a set of stairs leading down.
As I walked down, taking care not to make any noise, I saw that the basement had been fitted out as some sort of home gymnasium. The floor, like the stairs, was carpeted, and there was an exercise bike, cross trainer, weights and a treadmill.
Sure enough, the three female members of the family were there, Gail, Lorna and Paulette. They were lying on their stomachs, facing the opposite wall, and trying to talk to each other – trying being the operative word as I watched them.
Gail was on the left, her blonde hair held back in a ponytail, and she was wearing a pink cardigan over a white t-shirt – as she rolled over and back, I caught a glimpse of some words and glass frames printed on it – a pair of black trousers and knee length black riding boots. On the other side of their mother was Lorna, who was wearing a cream coloured t-shirt, jeans and a pair of black leather boots that came to just below her knee.
Both of them had their wrists crossed behind their backs, and tied together with rope, as well as a band of rope around their crossed ankles, and their legs below their knees. They also had a band of rope tied around their waists, through the belt loops of their jeans, to hold their wrists in place. I could see a folded scarf tied over their hair as they lay and tried to talk to their mother.
For her part, Paulette was wearing an aquamarine coloured wool jumper, a pair of black leggings and knee length black leather boots. Her wrists were also tied together behind her back, and her ankles and legs bound, but she also had bands of rope around her arms and body, two I guessed above and below her chest. She also had an extra band of rope around her legs above her knees.
Now, at first I did wonder if what I’d stumbled on was a case of an overstrict father crossing the bounds into domestic abuse. As I watched them, however, I realised that none of them seemed overly distressed. In fact, they seemed to be talking to and encouraging each other as they wriggled round. There was also a quiet ticking sound, and as I looked in front of them I could see a kitchen timer counting down the seconds. It would appear they were playing a game – so how could I resist?
I walked down the remaining stairs and stood in front of them, waiting as one by one they realised someone else was there and raised their heads. The folded scarves turned out to be knotted cleave gags, and in the mother’s case the puffed out cheeks suggested something underneath that as well.
“So,” I said as I smiled under my stocking, “this is the Saturday morning escape challenge is it?” All three of them nodded their heads and tried to say something, which sounded to me like “Ysstsss.”
“And do you always manage to get free before Daddy gets home,” I said as I looked at Gail and Lorna. They both nodded in answer to my question, but when I looked at Paulette I could see she had figured out I was a real burglar, and that this was no longer a game. There was a pleading look in her eyes, which I found quite appealing.
“Well,” I said with a smile, “today is your really lucky day.” Looking at Paulette, I continued by saying “Daddy asked me to drop by and make it a bit harder and more realistic for you, by pretending to be a real burglar that has broken in. That’s why I have the mask on. Are you up for that?”
Paulette visibly relaxed as she realised who I was, and looked at the two girls, who nodded enthusiastically.
“All right,” I said quietly as I looked at Gail, “we’ll go with youngest first, so I’m going to put you on your knees for a few minutes. I’m guessing you just have the knot in your mouth, right?”
She nodded as I helped her onto her knees, and loosened the cleave gag a little, easing the knot out. “Well, the first thing I need to do is make sure all three of you are gagged the same way, so I’m going to put a folded cloth in your mouth, put this back in, and then add an extra layer. Open wide now.”
“Thanks,” she said as I pushed the cloth in, replaced the knot and tightened the silk band, and then took a roll of white micropore tape and wrapped it round her head, covering the other gag completely. “Wwtssgd,” she mumbled as I opened my bag and took out some more rope.
“Now, I need to tie your arms to your sides more securely, to stop you wriggling them around. It won’t be as much as your mum’s, but it will be secure,” I said as I wrapped the rope around her arms and stomach, making sure I used the double figure of eight, and then secured it behind her back.
“The other thing a real burglar would do,” I then said as I picked up the roll of tape, “is make sure you cannot use your hands to try and pick knots.” I toyed with the idea of asking Gail to make fists, but instead settled for taping her fingers tightly together, so that she could not use them.
As she tried to move them, I laid her back down, and then pulled her ankles back, securing them to the chest rope with a last length. “That makes it more difficult for you to move around,” I said as I looked at her. “Now, let me take care of your sister.”
Lorna proved just as co-operative as I reinforced her gag, and then used similar ropes to those on her mother on her. When Gail tried to protest, I said “If you really want the extra band, I’ll add it as well.” I was looking at Paulette as I said this, who turned and watched her younger daughter nodding. So, once I had Lorna securely hogtied, I went other and added the extra band of rope to Gail while she lay there.
“Now,” I said as I looked at Paulette, “Mummy is already very securely tied, so I just need to make her the same as you, and then you can continue with the challenge.”
“Fnku,” she mumbled at me as I pulled her ankles back and tied them to her chest ropes.
“You’re welcome,” I said as she raised her head and I wrapped the white tape around and over her gag, and smoothed it down while she looked at her daughters. The last thing I did for her was to make her hands into white balls – just to add that extra challenge.
“Now, enjoy yourselves, and see if you can get free from that before Daddy gets home,” I said as I left them there, struggling and trying to talk to each other. I spent the next, very pleasant hour searching through the house and finding a lot of things, but before I left I went and checked on them. The two girls were lying on their sides, having made no progress in escaping, while they held some sort of conversation with their mother.
I didn’t disturb them, but took my leave, hoping they enjoyed the extra challenge of that day…
One of the really important things to me is that, however I leave the families after I play the games with them, they are happy and not left in a way they find uncomfortable.
Some months ago, I visited one mum and daughter where I took special care to make sure that was the case, partly to help them by happy but also to make sure they did not feel too upset or insulted.
I was in Leicester, which has a very large Asian population, and it was an Asian family I was intending to pay a visit to. The husband ran a number of the jewellery stores on the main shopping street, and from the trade in gold he did I knew he would have some nice things at his house. He had a ten year old daughter, whose dark hair was very much like that of her mother.
I’d been watching the house for a couple of weeks, knowing the most likely time to find them would be on a Sunday. Daddy left home at about ten to open his shops, and the big family gatherings of relatives and such like tended to be on Saturdays or after school, so this particular Sunday I was in the car, making sure I had all I needed in my bag before I stepped out, locked the door behind me, and walked up to the door of the semi-detached house.
I was wearing a leather jacket fastened up to my neck, and pair of black trousers, as I put my gloved hand to the door handle and slowly pushed it down. It was unlocked, so I stepped in and closed the door behind me, before I pulled the stocking down over my head and walked into the house.
I could hear some Indian music playing in the background, and as I walked past the front room I looked in to see the daughter dancing round with her back to me. She had short black hair, and was wearing a dress that had a purple and black spotted upper body, as well as chiffon like short pleated skirt in the same colours. Under that she wore a pair of light purple leggings, her lower legs like her forearms bare, and a pair of purple sandals.
Leaving her there for the moment, I checked the kitchen, but there was nobody there. Before I could leave the room, however, I heard footsteps on the stairs, and I hid behind the kitchen door as the little girl’s mother came in.
She was wearing a long lime green tunic with a patterned border and collar, a long orange scarf hanging from her right shoulder. The tunic came down to her knees, covering the top half of the crimson loose pants she was wearing, and a pair of gold sandals were on her feet. Her dark hair covered her neck and shoulders.
I waited as she went to the sink, and then grabbed her from behind, my gloved hand over her mouth to muffle the cries as is aid “Don’t panic – I promise you, you will come to no harm, so long as you do as I say.”
Once she had calmed down, I removed my hand and said “Now, I am here to rob you, but I don’t want this to be a frightening experience for you or your daughter, especially as I need to make sure you cannot raise the alarm.
“Who… Who are you,” she said as she looked at me.
“Well, I’m a robber,” I said quietly, “but what I like to do is for mothers like you to pretend this is a game for their families. Play along, and I promise no harm beyond not being able to move or speak will come to you or your daughter. All right?”
She looked at me and then nodded, before saying “Very well, we will not stop you, but let me do this my way. I’m not going to deny what you have said, and it will be a game for my child, but this way she will play along. Allow me that, please?”
“Of course,” I said as I accompanied her back into the front room. The girl turned and saw me, before saying “who is this, bebe?”
“Aasha,” her mother said, “do you remember the film we went to see last week, where the men held the family hostage to make the men do something for them?”
“I do – why?”
“Well, this man is going to play a game based on the film with us. I remember you said you would like to know what that feels like – do you still wish to?”
Aasha looked at me, and said “Does that mean we will be on the bed, and unable to move, just like them?”
“That’s right,” her mother said with a smile. “We’ll go upstairs, and you can go to the toilet before we begin, all right?”
“Yes, bebe,” Aasha said as she ran up the stairs, me following with her mother as we looked in the bedrooms.
“This is a spare room,” she said as we looked in one with a large double bed. “As I presume you will search our room, we can play in here?”
“Ready,” Aasha said as she came back in and looked at me.
“All right then,” I said, “how were the mummy and daughter left in the film?”
“She was cuddling into bebe as she lay on the bed,” Aasha said, “bebe’s arms around her.”
“Right – then we need to start with you. If your mother will lie on the bed, I want you to put your hands together in front of you, palms together.” I watched as her mother went and sat on the bed, before I took some rope from my rucksack and tied Aasha’s wrists tightly together, and then let her lower them down before I tied some more rope around her arms and tummy. One last length went around her waist, to keep her wrists firmly held in front of her.
“There – think you can move your arms now,” I said, Aasha grinning as she tried to do so. “Right – I want you to go and sit on the bed beside your mother while I make sure you cannot move your legs either.”
“All right, but when does bebe have her arms tied?”
“Once she is hugging you,” I said with a smile as Aasha sat next to her mother, watching as I tied her ankles and her legs with more rope.
“Now,” I said to her mother, “make yourself comfortable on the bed, with your head on the pillows, and then I want Aasha to lie down and make herself as comfortable as possible while you hug her.”
Her mum did just that, and then put her arms round her daughter as she lay with her head on her mother’s chest. I then crossed and tied the older woman’s wrists together behind her daughter’s back, before tying them down to the rope around Aasha’s waist, and then allowing her to wriggle a little more so that they were both comfortable.
Feeding some more rope under their bodies, I tied them side by side around their stomachs, before I moved over and tied her mother’s ankles and legs together. Two more lengths of rope then secured their ankles to the foot of the bed.
“This is fun,” Aasha said as she cuddled into her mother.
“Yes, it is,” she replied as she looked at me. “But now the man has to make sure we stay nice and quiet. What will you use?”
“I will put a cloth into your mouths,” I said quietly, “and then cover your lips with a tape to keep them closed and held together.”
“Just like in the film,” she said as she looked at Aasha. “Let him do it to me first, all right?”
The little girl nodded as her mother opened her mouth, and allowed me to put a folded scarf in, and then closed her lips over it before I pressed a long strip of white medical tape over her mouth.
“Are you all right, bebe,” Aasha said, her mother nodding as she said “mfffnurtrnnw.”
She slowly opened her mouth as I put the small handkerchief in, and then closed it again, mumbling as I gently pressed the tape over her mouth.
“Now, just settle with your mother, and you’ll be just fine,” I said as I left them and availed myself of her mother’s jewellery. When I looked back in, Aasha had fallen asleep, her mother nodding as she saw me standing in the doorway.
I left them to enjoy their family bonding as I made my escape.
I prefer to make my visits during the daytime, but on occasion, when the situation requires it, I have been known to make an evening visit. When that is the case, I usually pick a family where I know someone will be home eventually – the last thing I want to do is make anyone spend the night, or longer, bound and gagged.
And so it was this particular night, when I planned to visit the home of a very well known television actor, who I knew would be at a shoot that night for his latest show. His wife, on the other hand, was at home with his eleven year old daughter. I had studied them for a while, the mum and daughter with their long red brown hair and dad with his greying har round the side of his head.
Anyway, while he was away, I was parked outside the house looking at the lights going on and off. I had already seen Ellie, the daughter, drive off in a car with a friend to a school disco, which meant I should only have the mother or deal with – but I also knew that school disco was going to finish and the daughter back by nine, so my plan was to secure the mother first, and then deal with the daughter when she returned.
So it was about eight thirty when I went up to the front door in the darkness, with a black balaclava over my head and tucked into the neck of my jumper, and opened the front door with my gloved hand. Closing the door behind me, I walked down the corridor and looked into the front room.
The mother, Kelly, was sitting watching a film on the television. She wore a choclate brown sleevless wool cardigan over a black jumper, white pants and knee length brown riding boots with a black panel at the back, her legs crossed as she laughed.
She stopped laughing, however, when she saw me standing in the doorway, a gun in my hand and a smile on my lips.
“Hello Kelly,” I said quietly, “Now don’t scream or panic, and do exactly what I say, all right?”
She slowly nodded, and then said “Please, take what you want and go, my daughter will be home soon…”
“I know Ellie will be home soon, but not before I have a chance to look round, so you will need to tell her I have come at your request to play a game with both of you.”
“What… What sort of game?”
“Robbers. Don’t worry – I won’t hurt either of you, but you need to do exactly what I say, all right?”
Kelly slowly nodded as I closed the door. “Good – now we need to get ready for when Ellie gets back. Please, lie down on the couch and put your hands behind your back.”
“What are you going to do?”
“Prepare you for the game,” I said as I took my rucksack off and produced some rope. “Now please, do as I say.”
As she did so, I crossed her wrists behind her back and tied them tightly together, making sure I cinched the rope between her arms. As I tied the rope off, I heard a car pull up.
“Sit up,” I said quietly, “and remember – this is a game your husband has arranged.” I went and stood behind the door and listened as the door opened and closed. “MUM!!” I heard a young girl call out, “Wendy’s going to stay the night, and she can borrow some nightclothes from…”
The door opened and Ellie came in, along with a girl of the same age with long brown hair. This other girl was wearing a pink crop top, that fell off one shoulder, over a pink vest and blue denim jeans. The lower half of her jeans were covered by a pair of pink leg warmers, and her outfit was completed by a pair of Nike trainers.
As for Ellie, however, she was taking brown as her main theme – a poncho-style spangly top with a gold butterfly embossed on the front covered a short sleeved top, and her jeans were tucked into a pair of knee length gold lame stack heeled leather boots.
“Mum,” she said as she looked at Kelly, “Why are your hands behind your back?”
“Because I tied them together there,” I said as I put my hands on their shoulders, making them both jump.
“That’s right,” Kelly said. “This man has come because your dad wanted to have both of us play a game of robbers, but with Wendy here…”
“It means all three of you get to play the game,” I said quietly. “So you girls will need to do exactly what I say, and pretend I’ve come to rob the house. That means I need to stop all three of you from moving round, and from trying to call from help. I promise it won’t hurt, and it’s just until your father gets home, all right?”
The two girls slowly nodded as Ellie said “You mean we’ll be tied up and gagged?”
“That’s right – as if you were on a television program or a film. You can pretend it’s a seventies thing – like the clothes you are wearing.”
The two girls looked at each other and nodded as I said “good – now, I want you both to sit back to back on the floor, and put your hands on your head for the moment.”
“Gotcha,” Wendy said as they both sat down, while I took some more rope and tied Katie’s ankles tightly together. She then turned her head and watched as I bound her daughter’s ankles tightly together, the rope squeaking against the leather, and then her legs below her knees. Walking round, I did the same to Wendy, and then stood back up again.
“Now,” I said quietly, “I’m going to help your mum to sit with her back to both of you.” I helped Katie to slip down and sit with her back to the sides of both girls, and then helped Ellie to lean forward, feeding her left arm through her mother’s right and then tying her wrist’s tightly together behind her back. I then fed Wendy’s right arm through Katie’s left, and tied her wrists together, before I helped them to move round and tied their free arms together below their elbows.
“I guess none of us can move now,” Ellie said as I took more rope, and tied her upper arms to her body, repeating that with Wendy and then Katie, before I tied the mother’s legs together below her knees as well.
“There,” I said as I stood up, “I think the three of you can stay together now.” I listened to the squeak of rope on leather as both Katie and Ellie tried to move their legs, while I took a roll of brown sticking plaster from the bag, and gagged all three f them, the fabric forming to the shape of their mouths.
“Now stay put while I pretend to look round,” I said, leaving them to try to move while I relieved Mum of her jewellery. I peeked in before I left, and then allowed them to spend the rest of the evening playing escape…