Mother and Daughter Moments 17
As I’ve said in the past, it’s not always the case that the children willingly believe this is a game. When that happens, sometimes I regretfully do have to drop the pretence, and sometimes they play along to help the mother. One recent occasion, however, was interesting for a little story that helped things along.
This particular family ran one of those small department stores you still find in the country towns – this one near Stratford. They worked all the hours God gave them, so their eleven year old daughter April was usually looked after by her grandmother, Clover Dale.
Yes, that was her name – she was just over sixty, and had short cut grey hair. April, by contrast, had long chestnut brown hair.
It was a Saturday afternoon when I pulled up outside their house – it stood at one end of a cul de sac, and the road itself was nice and quiet. A perfect time to pay a visit and pay a little game of robbers.
I pulled my leather gloves on, and stepped out of my car, looking up and down the street before I walked quickly up the driveway and round the side of the detached house. Looking into the back garden, I could see it was clear, so I pulled the stocking down over my head, tucked it under the collar of my shirt, and quietly approached the kitchen door.
It opened in easily, and I walked into a real old fashioned kitchen, complete with heavy Aga stove on one side and wooden sideboards. Looking round, I admired the style, but I had a job to do, as I slowly walked down the corridor and looked into the front room.
Young April was sitting on the couch, watching something on the television. She was wearing a turquoise blue top with a silver embossed front. Her sleeves did not quite reach her wrists, and she had some colourful bangles on her left one. She was also wearing a short leopard print skirt in black and white, and black knee length leather boots.
I left her there for now, and instead looked in a door at the other side of the hallway – there to find Clover. She was sitting in a chair, reading a book, and wearing a pink sweatshirt with a floral design on the front, brown trousers and mid-calf brown leather boots.
Closing the door behind me, I walked quietly up beside her, and then said “Don’t make a noise please,” as I put my hand over her mouth.
“Hmggddd,” she said as she looked at me, her lips moving over my gloved hand.
“Please, remain calm,” I said quietly, “I am here to rob the house, but I don’t want this to be a traumatic experience for your granddaughter. I suspect you feel the same, correct?”
I watched as Clover slowly nodded, and said “good – so we’re going to pretend this is a game you’ve arranged to play with her, all right?”
She looked at me for a moment, and then slowly nodded.
“If I take my hand away, will you stay calm and talk quietly?”
Again she nodded, as I removed my hand as she continued to look at me. “All right – if you promise not to hurt me or April, I’ll play along with you,” she said, “it’s not the first time I’ve been robbed anyway.”
“I am sorry to hear that – when was the last time?”
She looked at me, and said “listen – meet me half way on this, and I promise neither of us will cause you any trouble. All right?”
I looked at her, and then nodded as she stood up. “You strike me as a gentle and honourable man,” she said as we walked to the door, “so please allow me to speak first.”
We walked back into the front room, April looking at us, and then looking again as she pushed herself into the corner of the couch. “Granny,” she whispered, “who is this man? Why is he wearing a mask?”
“It’s all right, April,” Clover said as she sat on the couch, “I’ve arranged a little surprise for you. I want to tell you about something that happened to me when I was your age, and this man is going to play the part of someone who surprised me and my mother.”
“He won’t hurt me?”
“No, he won’t – but to tell this tale, and to act out the part, we’re not going to be able to move or talk properly for a little while. Don’t be afraid though – I wasn’t?”
April nodded as I removed my rucksack, and listened to Clover.
“When I was about your age, my mother and I went to see a show at a theatre. I was wearing a new outfit, made from a floral fabric, which was a short jacket with sleeves that came down to my elbows, and a skirt that was only a little longer than yours. I also had on a pair of little white leather boots, which just covered my ankles. My mother was a very glamorous and fashionable woman, and she had on a long sleeved white top with a round neck, tan coloured shorts with a darker leather belt, and knee length white boots which I remember were very smooth and shiny.
“Anyway, we came home to find a man in our front room, who said he had come to rob us. He told us to stay quiet, and stay calm, and he would not hurt us, so we sat side by side on the couch – can you come and sit next to me now April?”
I watched as the young girl slid over and sat with Clover, watching me all the time.
“Now, the man then said he had to make sure we could not raise the alarm, and this man will do the same.”
“That’s right, April,” I said quietly, “but remember, this is a game, all right?”
“As the girl nodded, Clover said “he first used some rope to tie my mother’s ankles and legs together – I can still remember the way that rope squeaked as it rubbed on the boots.” Looking at me, I took my cue as I said “Please, put your feet up on the coffee table, and give your granddaughter a big hug.”
“See – nothing to be scared of,” she said as she rested her heels on the table, and I wound some rope around and between her ankles, making sure they were held snugly together as they both watched. I then tied her legs together, below her knees, taking the rope between her legs as well.
“See,” she then said as she tried to move her legs, the rope rubbing on her boots, “it’s a really funny noise isn’t it?”
April giggled as she said “the next thing the masked man said was that my mother was to do to me what he had done to her.”
“Take this rope,” I said as I handed Clover a length, “and tie your granddaughter’s ankles together.”
“April, darling, can you move so that your legs are on my lap?” I watched as the young girl lay on her back, while Clover put her ankles side by side and copied what I had done to her, the rope sitting on the black leather as her ankles were lashed together.
“You’re right Granny – it doesn’t hurt,” she said as she rubbed her legs together, while I handed Clover another length of rope, and watched her tie April’s legs together below her knees.
“So,” she said as April sat back up, “there we were, our legs tied, but the man was quiet and calm, and when both of us moved our legs, the squeak was really funny.” She illustrated that by moving her own legs, April laughing as she joined in.
“Now, the next thing he asked my mother to do was to tie my wrists together – so can you cross your wrists in front of yourself, my dear?”
April nodded and did what Clover had asked, as she took another length of cord and tied the wrists of the younger girl together.
“Is it your turn now, granny,” April said as she looked at me.
“It is – but like the man did with my mother, I think he may have to tie my wrists together behind my back, before he really makes sure we can’t move our arms. So watch what he does to me, and then allow him to finish making sure you can’t move either.”
April nodded and watched as I crossed Clover’s wrists behind her back, and lashed them together, before I took some rope around her arms and upper body, above and below her chest, making sure her arms sat snugly against her sides.
April then talked to her grandmother as I secured her arms in the same way. Finally, I tied her wrist to her knee ropes.
“Now then,” I said quietly as I tied some rope around April’s upper body in the same way, “what did the man do to you and your mother after that, my dear lady?”
“Well, he told us to keep quiet while he went and looked round the house,” Clover said as she watched April wriggle under the bands of rope. “I promise we’ll both keep quiet while you pretend to do the same thing.”
So I left them in the front room while I searched for valuables, leaving my findings outside as I came back in.
“Now,” Clover said as she saw me, “the man then said he had to stop me and my mother from being able to talk for a while.”
“How did he do that Granny,” April asked, her eyes wide open.
“He put something in our mouths to keep our tongues down, and then some sticking plaster over our mouths to keep our lips from moving. Do you think you and I can cope with that for a little while?”
I watched as April nodded, and then said “Breath normally, and you’ll both be fine. So, granny first?”
Clover nodded and opened her mouth, allowing me to put one of April’s father’s hankies in before she closed her lips over it, and I did the same to April. I then took the roll of white micorpore tape from my bag, and sealed their lips with a long, wide strip each.
“Frllfneetlknggrnneee,” April said, Clover nodding as she looked at me.
“Now, the man had to leave, but someone will be along to end the game if you don’t manage to get free,” I said as I left the room, watching as April rested against her grandmother’s chest.
I’d been looking at the family of this particular bank manager for some time – he had a wife in her early thirties called Jane and a ten year old daughter called Janice. Living in a semi-detached on a new estate on the edge of town, the trick was to get through the security gate at the front – but fortunately for me I had an in.
I had a client who lived on the same gated street, so I arranged to meet with her to discuss some ad copy I had been writing – a job I had been doing successfully for some time, since you ask – arriving at about ten as she buzzed me in. I was wearing a black jacket and skirt over a white blouse, and knee length black leather boots.
The meeting lasted for about an hour, before my client had to take a phone call. “Janna, I’m so sorry,” she said as she looked at me, “I need to head into the office and curtail our meeting. Are you all right to get out yourself?”
“I may do some work in the car before I head off,” I said as I put my laptop away. “Would there be a problem with that?”
“I don’t think so – and thanks,” she said as I left her house, and went back to my car, putting on the laptop and starting a film streaming as I slipped my jacket off. The windows in my current car are blacked out, so nobody could see in as I put on my black leather jacket, and fastened it up to my collar.
Looking out of the car window, and seeing nobody was about, I then slipped on my leather gloves and grabbed the rucksack from the back seat, before walking quickly across the road and around the side of the house my targets were living in.
The kitchen door was open, and Janice was out on the patio. The young girl was wearing a cap sleeved white smock, and ethnic print leggings in brown and white, her outfit completed by a pair of short brown leather boots over her lower legs and a chunky red bead necklace round her neck.
Jane was nowhere in sight, so I figured she was inside – but there was no way I was going to get past young Janice to get in without been seen, so I took a page from Steve’s playbook, and eased the stocking down over my head, tucking in under the collar of my jacket before I walked round and said “Hello Janice – is your mother inside?”
“Who are you,” she said as she looked at me, “you look like a robber.”
“Well, that’s the idea,” I said quietly, “your mum and dad asked me to come and play the part of a robber so that you could play a game of robbers with your mother. It was meant to be a surprise for you, but I could not get an answer at the front door.”
“Yeah, it doesn’t work.” Looking again at me, she said “so if you’re pretending to be a robber, would you pretend to rob us?”
“I would – but it would be a realistic game, so I would have to do what a real robber would do. Does that scare you a bit?”
“It might – but if Mummy was playing as well, I guess it would be all right.”
“Well then – she is expecting me, so why don’t we surprise her and start the game now?”
“Okay – what do I have to do?”
“Let me walk behind you, with my hand over your mouth, and we’ll go inside and remind Mum I was coming. Ready?”
Janice nodded and stood up, allowing me to cover her mouth with my gloved hand as we walked inside, and into the front room. Jane was indeed there – identically dressed to her daughter, save she was wearing a pair of knee length brown leather boots, and had a purple bead necklace. She looked up as we came in, saw me behind Janice – and stared silently as her daughter said “Mrdeetplthegmmm” under my gloved hand.
“That’s right, Jane,” I said quietly, “Janice and I have already started to play the game of Robbers you arranged for today, so if you are ready or begin...”
I flashed the pistol I had taken out of my pocket before putting it back, Jane slowly nodding as she said “Oh good – I was wondering what had happened to you. Janice, are you ready to play at robbers?”
I felt the young girl nod under my hand as I said “All right – you need to go and sit with Mummy now, while I explain how the game works.” Letting her go, I watched as she sat down, her light brown hair coming to her shoulders as her mother’s longer dark brown hair fell over her top.
“Now then,” I said as I took my rucksack off, “the bad robber has surprised Jane and Janice at home, and they need to be stopped from stopping her, so I’m going to stop you from being able to move your hands and feet for a little while. It won’t hurt, but sit perfectly still while I do this, all right?”
“It’s all right, Janice,” Jane said as she hugged her daughter, “just do as she says, all right?”
“Yes mum,” Janice said as I took a length of cord from my rucksack, and crossed her wrists in front of her, tying them tightly together as the rope went around and between her arms.
“Does that hurt,” I said as I tied the rope off behind the band, Janice shaking her head as I guided her mother’s arms behind her back, and then started to bind them together.
“Why are you tying Mummy’s hands differently,” Janice said as she looked at me.
“Well, the robber wants to make sure you can’t get free, and this is how he does it for mummy,” I say as I tie the rope off, and then wrapped one around Jane’s chest, trapping her arms to her side, “they have a different way in mind for you.”
Janice nodded as I tied the ropes off around her mother’s chest, and then tied some rope around her arms and tummy. I then knelt in front of both of them, and tied their ankles tightly together, as well as their legs below their knees.
“I really can’t move mummy,” Janice said as she wriggled round, watching as I tied her wrists to the band of rope below her knees.
“I know – so what is the robber going to do now,” Jane said as she looked at me, trying not to let her anger show.
“Well, Mummy needs to tell me where her valuables are,” I said as I picked up Janice in my arms, after putting my rucksack over my shoulder, “so she needs to stay here while I take Janice up first.”
I took Janice up to the master bedroom, and sat her at the top of the bed, before I went back down and helped/frogmarched Jane up, letting her sit on the edge of the bed as I said “Now then – tell me where...”
“Jane? Are you upstairs?”
“Oh god it’s Carol,” Jane whispered, as Janice called out “Come up Aunty Carol – we’re playing a game.”
“Not a word,” I said as I stood by the door, and heard not one, but two sets of footsteps come up. As the door opened, I was amused to see another mum and daughter in matching outfits come in. This time the mum, who I presumed was Carol, had the lighter hair, but both of them were wearing a leopard skin jacket, blue denim blouses which the young girl had tucked in, but mum wore over her pants, and red jeans. The little girl had on a pair of silver moccasins, her mum a pair of black high heels.
“Jane, what are you – oh my god what happened?”
“We’re playing a game of robbers,” Janice said, “and the robber is right behind you.”
“Hello,” I said as I closed the door, “you must be Carol, and this young lady is...”
“I’m Hannah, Carol’s cousin. Are you really playing robbers?”
“We are indeed – and you are going to play along as well, isn’t that right Jane?”
“Yes – both of you get to play along as well,” Jane said quietly as Carol looked at her, and then at me.
“All right – I presume you’re going to do the same to us as you did to them?”
“That’s right – so Hannah, you go and sit next to your cousin and I’ll be with you once I have your mummy ready to play.”
So Hannah hopped onto the bed, looking at the way Janice was tied while I tied her mother’s wrists behind her back, and then her arms to her side, her jacket pulled back and the bands framing her chest. As she sat next to Jane, she watched as I crossed and bound her wrists tightly together, and then her legs below her knees.
“Your turn now Hannah,” I said as I took some more lengths of cord, and tied Hannah’s wrists, arms, legs and then wrists to knees, before I walked over to the wardrobe.
“Now, the bad robber needs to get mummy to show her where her nice things are, but she needs to make sure you cannot see. If you promise to be quiet, that is all I will do for the moment, all right?”
“All right, we’ll be quiet,” Hannah said as I folded two black bandanas and tied them over the eyes of the two girls, then whispered to Jane “Of course, you know this is real?”
“Yeah – I’ve read about you and your friend. Thanks for been so nice.”
“Well, tell me – quietly – where things are, and then I’ll make sure you all stay where you are before I leave. I’ll make sure your husband knows what has happened to you in due course.”
For the next few minutes, Jane nodded or shook her head as I pointed to various drawers, and I soon had a good selection of things to take with me. The two girls were trying to find each other’s hands, so I said “don’t move now – I just need to make sure your mothers have a nice surprise before I let them see you again.”
“What’s that,” Janice said, but Jane could not answer- she had seen the sponge ball in my hand, and opened her mouth to allow me to push it in, before I folded a large green headscarf, tying the band tightly over her mouth and around her head.
I used a red scarf on Carol, and then helped them both to lie on the bed, pulling their ankles back and placing them both in a tight hogtie before I removed the blindfolds from the girls.
“Wow mum – are you all right,” Hannah said, Carol nodding as Jane did the same for Janice.
“Can you girls very carefully move round and sit back to back?”
I watched as they managed that, avoiding their mother’s heads, and then I tied their waists together, before using the bandanas as over the mouth gags for both of them. As far as they knew, that was what I had done to their mothers, so I left them to it, the two women struggling to get free as the girls sat and watched them.
As I left the rear of the house, I pulled off the stocking mask and gloves and opened my jacket up, returning to my car and getting in. The gates opened to let me out as I drove off – another successful day over with...
Some of the people I have the greatest admiration for are free climbers and mountain climbers, who seem to be like cats as they scale those slopes. They have also become very wealthy in some cases, thanks to fame leading to sponsorship, books and so on, and local to me one particular family have certainly made the headlines, especially when they won the Three Peaks race last year.
The Harper family consisted of Joe, the father who runs a camping supply firm, his wife Beryl and their twelve year old daughter Cathy, who accompanies them on all their trips. They lived in an old farmhouse on the oustskirts of town, using the barns to store all their equipment, and from where Beryl would write about their travels.
All in all, a nice family to consider paying a visit to – and at the back of my mind was the thought that, if I needed more rope, at least this was one place where I could find some...
At any rate, I did my usual research, and found out that Joe Harper was going to attend a meeting with one of his sponsors what would involve an overnight trip. So it was at about seven thirty in the evening when I pulled up outside the farmhouse, with the lights on behind drawn curtains, and got out, making sure nobody else was around before I slipped on the gloves and stocking mask, and quietly opened the front door.
I could hear the television on in the front room, and movement upstairs, so I closed the door and crept along the corridor, stopping by the door to the front room and looking in. I had obviously studied pictures of the family, and knew Cathy was a thin girl with long light brown hair – but I wasn’t quite prepared for what I saw when I looked in the room.
Cathy was sat in a chair, wearing a grey fleece over a roll neck sweater, brown pants with pockets that had the legs tucked into grey flecked wool socks, and a pair of grey climbing boots. In itself, nothing unusual – but that was not all she was wearing. A white scarf covered her eyes and ears, while a second one was tied round her head and over her mouth. From where I could see, her arms were pinned behind her backs, and there were bands of rope around her waist, under her chest and over her shoulders. Her ankles were tied tightly together over her socks, and her legs secured above and below her knees – each band tightly cinched between her legs, while the chest ropes had small lengths under her arms to tighten them.
And when I say tight, I mean TIGHT. I walked over to have a look, and I could see the edge of a length of tape under the over the mouth gag, as well as the puffed out cheeks. Cathy did not seem to be in distress, but she was breathing in and out through her nose in short, sharp pants.
Well, it was an interesting situation to be sure, and I felt a conversation with her mother would prove enlightening. So I walked quietly out, and climbed the staircase to see what I could see.
Beryl was in one of the bedrooms, sorting out some clothes. She was in her early forties, her brown hair cut short, and was wearing a checked blouse over a grey t-shirt, leggings and white socks pulled up over them, as well as a pair of sandshoes.
She had her back to me, but when I came in and closed the door she turned and looked at me, taking a moment to take in my attire before she said “oh dear – I take it you are here to steal some things?”
“I am,” I said quietly, “and I saw your daughter downstairs. Your idea?”
“Actually,” Beryl said with a grin, “it was Cathy’s. In a few weeks time, we’re going to be doing a climb in the high Alps, and she wanted to feel what it was like to try and breath when you are that high up. We don’t have a compression chamber, but – well, you say what I did.”
“And she seems to be coping,” I said quietly, “so we need to continue the game for her. So long as you keep telling her what is going to happen to you is part of a game, and then it may be less stressful for her.”
“Oh, now I get it – you’re this Games Player, aren’t you? So, what are you suggesting we do?”
“You say you are going to be climbing at altitude,” I said quietly, “which means you’ll be sleeping at altitude, right?”
As Beryl nodded, I slipped off my rucksack and opened it. “Then you’re going to practice that as well – once we have finished up here. Please, put your hands behind your back.”
“So what are you going to do?”
As I crossed and tied Beryl’s wrists behind her back, I said “I imagine you will sleep clothed as well in sleeping bags, so let’s give her a chance to experience that.” Once I had her wrists secured, I took more rope out and wound it round her upper body, the rope going above and below her chest as I pulled her arms into her sides, and then took the rope under one arm, around the back of her neck, and under her other arm.
“Now then,” I said quietly, “where are your valuables?”
As she moved her head and mumbled “Yssmm,” Beryl said “we’re going to do another exercise to get ready for our trip, and a friend has come to help us with this. He’s going to finish preparing me, and then he will untie the ropes from your chest and remove the blindfold.”
As Cathy nodded, I laid out the first of the two sleeping bags I had brought down on the ground, and opened it up. I then helped Beryl to sit down, and removed her shoes, before I bound her ankles and legs below her knees. Helping her to lie down, I zipped up the sleeping bag, and stood up.
“Cathy,” Beryl said, “my friend is also going to make sure that I can only breathe through my nose, and when you see him, you’ll see he’s pretending to be a burglar. I’m sorry about that, but he’s going to do to you what he’s done to me, all right?”
“Gshhmmm,” Cathy said as I sat Beryl up, and pushed a folded cloth into her mouth, then smoothed a length of white micropote tape over her lips, before tying a folded brown scarf around her head as an over the mouth gag.
I then walked behind Cathy and removed her blindfold, watching as she blinked and then looked at her mother.
“Hlllcfee,” Beryl mumbled, “seecntmfrbffxssptthrmmns.”
Cathy nodded as she watched her mother wriggle in the tight sleeping bag, while I removed the tight ropes around her chest, and then re-tied her arms with rope around her stomach and below her elbows. I then lifted her up and laid her down in the other sleeping bag, zipping it up as she rolled onto her side, and then helping Beryl to lie so that she could look at her daughter.
“I’m going to leave you for a little while,” I said as I looked at them, “and in due time, you will both be freed.”
They both nodded and tried to talk to each other while maintaining their breathing, while I slipped out of the room, out of the house, and out of the area.
The police were called eventually – and their trip? You can read about it in the glossies this Sunday...
Recently, I was in the US again on business, and one night I went to the house of one of my colleagues over there for dinner. Now, remember I have a rule never to hit friends, family or colleagues, so they were safe.
Over the dinner table, however, his wife mentioned she had read in the paper that one of the local small business owners had been approached for a takeover by a larger firm. She talked about how excited his wife was about this, because it meant they could move back to the city they came from – and then she started talking about how nice their house was, and how every time they saw each other she had some new piece of jewellery.
So yeah – my interest was piqued, and I looked a bit more into this family the next day. They lived in a Colonial style house in the outskirts of the suburb – his wife and ten year old daughter being the only other occupants.
Well, I was at a loose end that weekend, and I had some time to spare – so the Saturday morning found me outside their house, watching as the man of the house stepped out from under the flag that hung over their front door, and walking down to the car before he drove off.
Stepping out of my own vehicle, I looked round. I had chosen my outfit with care – a grey two piece suit, white shirt and tie, and highly polished black shoes. I also carried a large briefcase with me, holding it in my gloved hand as I walked up to the front door and knocked on it.
Turning and looking round, I then pulled the stocking down over my head and stood to one side in the shaded porch, my back to the door as I heard it open, and a young female voice say “Can I help you?”
“I do hope so,” I said as I turned round and showed her the pistol. “Please, inside, nice and quietly – we don’t want to alarm the neighbours, do we?”
The element of surprise worked beautifully as she slowly backed up, and I closed the door behind me. The wife was wearing a pink dress, with elbow length sleeves, a skirt that came to just above her knees and a round neckline, and knee length black suede boots, while over the front of her dress was a large blue and white necklace. Her hair was held back by a silver scarf tied over the front.
“Now, are you Dolly?” I said quietly as I stood in front of her.
“No – Dolly’s my daughter – I’m Sally. Who... Who are you?”
“Me? I’m here to rob you, Sally, and I need to make sure neither you nor Dolly can stop me. Now, I know you’re frightened, but we don’t want to scare your daughter too much, do we?”
As she slowly shook her head, I put my bag down and said “good – so we’re going to pretend that this is all a game, and you’re going to make sure Dolly plays along. If she does, yes you will be tied and silenced, but it won’t hurt, and she remains calm. You want that, don’t you?”
As she nodded slowly, I opened the bag and took out a length of rope. “Good – turn round, and cross your wrists behind your back.”
“You... You promise you won’t hurt us?”
“No – just do as I say, keep Dolly thinking this is a game, and you’ll be just fine.” As I spoke, I used the rope to bind her wrists together, taking the rope around and between her arms before I tied the ends together and tucked them back in the binding. “Now, where is she?”
“She’s in the front room – we were meant to be going to a party...”
“Well, that will be delayed a short while,” I said quietly as I picked my briefcase up. “After you, Sally.”
I walked the young mother in front of me to the front room, where Dolly was sitting in an armchair, looking at a portable DVD player. She was also wearing a pink dress, which unlike her mothers had a pleated skirt that covered her knees. Over the dress he had on a pink and white striped hoodie, open at the front, and she wore silver flat shoes. Her blonde hair had a pink and white bow in it, and a double row of turquoise beads sat under the collar of her dress.
She looked up and at me, before she said “Mom?”
“It’s all right Dolly – Daddy and I arranged for this man to come and play a game of robbers with us, before we go to the party later,” Sally said quietly. “I’m afraid he found me first, but we’re going to be his hostages for a little while. Please, play this game with me?”
As she looked at me, she put her finger to her mouth and said “will it hurt?”
“No – I’ll show you,” I said as I put my bag down, and gave her a length of the rope. “You hold this while I make sure your mom can’t move,” I said as I gave it to her to hold, and then took a longer length out, binding Sally’s arms to her side as I took the rope above and below her chest.
“It feels soft,” Dolly said as I pulled the bands tight, and secured them together behind her mother’s back. “Does it really not hurt mom?”
“No, it’s tight, but it doesn’t hurt,” Sally said quietly, as she sat down on a longer couch.
“Your turn now,” I said as I took the rope in my gloved hands. “Put your hands behind your back, Dolly, and in a few minutes you’ll be just like Mom.”
I crossed and tied the young girl’s wrists tightly together, before I zipped her hooded top up at the front, and then started to bind her arms to her side in the same way as her mother. As her arms were held against her side, she wriggled round and said “Look mom – I really can’t move my hands.”
“I know,” Sally said quietly as I took some more rope from my briefcase, and knelt in front of her, Dolly watching as I tied her ankles tightly together, the rope sinking into the black suede as I passed it around and between her legs, before tying that off and using another length to secure her legs below her knees.
“Are you going to do that to me as well,” Dolly said as I walked over. Nodding, I soon had her ankles and legs tied just as tightly, before I said “So what were you going to watch, Dolly?”
“The Princess and the Frog.”
“Well, here’s what we are going to do. I need to make sure you and your mom can’t talk while you are my hostages, but I will put the ear buds into your ears so you can listen to the film. Is that all right?”
Dolly looked at her mother, who nodded as I helped her daughter to shuffle back on the chair, her tied legs on the seat. Putting the player on her lap, I said “Now, I’m going to put some tape pier your mouth. It won’t hurt you, but it will mean you have to be quiet, so enjoy the film and try not to laugh too much.”
“All right,” Dolly said as I put the ear buds in, started the film and then tore a strip of white micropore tape from the roll, pressing it gently over her mouth as she watched the screen.
“Enjoy,” I said as I patted her head, and then helped Sally to lie down, my back to Dolly.
“Tell me where your valuables are,” I said quietly, listening as she told me to look in her bedroom drawers and wardrobe.
“Thank you,” I said as I squashed a sponge ball in my hand, “now, open wide.”
I pushed the ball in, covered her lips with another strip of the tape, and then left them both to quietly play along while I found what I had come for. I checked their ropes, and then went to the front door, slipping my stocking mask off before I returned to my car.
I made sure to call the local police, of course – once I was well out of the area...
That visit to Helen Cheng was one that changed a few things for some of my own visits – as well as leading to the biggest shock I have ever had in my life.
Charles Babbage is one of the leading television writers in the business – best known for twisting and complex plots that do not insult the intelligence of the viewer. His words, not mine – but he earned enough to have a lovely house outside Staines, where he lived with his wife Moira, and their daughters, ten year old Bobbi and eleven year old Lorna.
At any rate, as I pulled up outside their remote detached house one Sunday lunchtime, I was looking forward to a nice calm visit. Mister Babbage was at a book festival, doing a workshop that afternoon, so I knew it would only be Moira and the girls at home.
Getting out of the car, I walked slowly round the house, looking for a way in, but there was a high wall all the way round the sides and back of the house. What was in my advantage, however, was the house was up a driveway on the outskirts of the town, and there was nobody else with sight. So I put on my gloves, pulled the stocking down over my head, and looked at the front of the house – and the nice window that had been left partially open. I walked over, managed to release the child lock, and climbed in with my rucksack on.
I found myself in what appeared to be the main front room, with a large television on the wall and a trophy cabinet. I looked for a moment at the trophies and the pictures of who appeared to be a much younger Moira inside, and then made my way out into the hallway.
There was no sound of anyone in the house, but as I walked down to the rear of the house I could hear someone talking. I was about to walk into the kitchen when I saw the door to the rear garden open, so I drew my gun from my jacket pocket and peered into the room.
Moira Babbage was coming into the kitchen, her dark hair pulled back in a ponytail, and wearing a blue and grey wetsuit with elbow length sleeves and leggings down to her knees. As I watched, she turned and closed the rear door, locking it and placing the keys in her handbag, which she then closed and left on the work surface.
As she turned round, she stopped and looked at me as I stood in the doorway, my gun pointed at her as I said “Good afternoon, Mrs Babbage – please, don’t make any loud noises or any sudden moves.”
“And who are you,” she said as she looked at me.
“I’m the woman who is robbing you,” I said quietly, “but I’m sure you don’t want to upset your two daughters, so you’re going to tell them this is a game you and your husband organised. Pretend that is the case, and that you are also playing, and my experience is they won’t be too upset when the truth is revealed.”
“I see – I’ve read about you in the papers, you and your male friend,” Moira said as she sat on a wooden chair, and then she smiled – a strange smile, as if she knew something I didn’t.
“That’s right – so will you do that for the sake of Bobbi and Lorna?”
“For their sakes?” Her smile got bigger as she said “very well – I will help you, tell them this is a game while you tie all three of us up and undoubtedly make sure we all stay very quiet. But you have to secure me first, and do it in the same way as that woman you visited – Helen Cheng?”
There was something not quite right here, but for the life of me I could not put my finger on it. So I took my rucksack off, removed some rope as I stood behind Moira, and bound her elbows together behind her back, making sure I took the rope between as well as around her arms, and then secured her wrists together in the same way, tying the ends off well out of reach of her long fingers.
“Tight,” Moira said as she wriggled her fingers, while I knelt in front of her and started to bind her thighs together with more rope, making sure I cinched it properly. More bands around her legs, above and below her knees, as well as around her ankles soon meant she would not be moving freely anywhere.
“There now, like Helen Cheng,” I said quietly, “for the moment at least. Now keep your end of the bargain, Mrs Babbage – call your daughters in.”
Moira just looked at me and smiled – and something seemed even more wrong with that.
“Where are the children, Mrs Babbage?”
“Oh, Bobbi and Lorna are playing a nice little game,” she said calmly as she kept looking at me, “the last game they will ever play together.”
The way she said that, and then smiled afterwards, made every nerve in my body tingle as I looked back.
“What do you mean...”
“I mean,” she said calmly, “they are currently in a boat on the swimming pool, but soon – very soon – both the boat and they will be in the pool.
“and soon after that, the pool will be in them...”
I have literally no idea how long I stared at her as the meaning of what she was saying sank in, before I almost ran over to the rear window of the kitchen and opened the blind.
“Sweet mother of Jesus,” I whispered as I looked out onto the large swimming pool, and the two girls sitting in the dinghy. The tallest, who I assumed was Laura, was wearing a blue polo shirt with a white collar and white shorts, while Bobbi had on a pink vest top and shorts – but both of them were very tightly bound, they both had wide strips of tape covering their mouths, and they were struggling as the boat sank a little.
“You sick...” Words failed me as I went to her handbag, tipped out the contents and found the back door key.
“This is better for them,” she said as she pushed herself onto her feet, “they are so trusting, so innocent, they would never survive in this world. So I said we’d play a game of kidnap, and they would be free soon. They believed me when I said I would be there for them, as I tied them to the boat, stuffed their mouths, and taped them over. But oh, when they saw me open the valve to let the water slowly into the boat...”
I managed to open the door and looked at Moira as she giggled, and said “that look on their faces will be with me forever.”
Throwing the door open, I ran into the garden, the two girls suddenly turning their heads and screaming through their gags as they looked at me.
“See who’s come to visit us, girls,” Moira called out as she hopped onto the grass behind me, “this is the Female Games Player, the one you read about in the paper. She’s here to rob us, and wants to make a game of it.
“I told her we were already playing a game – and she couldn’t have arrived at a better time. It will be easy for me to convince the police she took us prisoner, and then did this to both of you. After all, I was tied up when she took you both outside...”
I wasn’t paying much attention at that point, or I may have forgotten I was a woman and slugged her. My focus was on the two girls. They were bound just as tightly as their mother, but they also had ropes tied tightly around their waists and chests to keep their arms locked in place. What’s more, each of them had their legs below their knees pulled under their seats, and their ankles tied to their wrists with a red rope that was secured in a series of knots.
I reached over and frantically tried to untie the knots on Bobbi, but for some reason it was impossible to unravel them.
“Glue,” Moira said with a smile, “I used glue on them. There is no way you can untie them.”
I then took my penknife out of my pocket and tried to cut through the red rope – then I could at least lift them out of the boar before it went under.
“Good luck with that,” Moira laughed, “those ropes are laced with metal threads – you would need a metal cutter to get through them.”
Both girls were shaking their heads and trying to raise the alarm as the boat slowly started to go below the surface of the pool, taking the girls down with them. The anger and rage in me swelled up as I turned and looked at Moira, saying slowly “The moment those girls stop moving is the moment I kill you, do you understand, Mrs Babbage?”
“Oh I fully expect you would,” Moira said with that grin still on her face, “but before you do that, why don’t you watch what’s happening in the pool?”
The look on her face made me want to kill her there and then, but instead I controlled my anger and hatred, and walked over to look in the pool. As I looked down, I saw that both Bobbi and Laura were tugging on the rope, making as little movement as possible – and then, to my utter shock, they started to untie the series of knots that I had been unable to do anything with.
“What the...” I watched, amazed as they slowly unravelled the ropes, and then pushed themselves out of the boat and came to the surface, before starting to swim to the steps at the shallow end of the pool.
“How... How did they...”
“Water soluble glue,” Moira said as she looked at me. “Once it was dissolved, the girls were always going to be able to get free.”
“But how did they manage to hold their...” That was when I remembered the trophy cabinet, as I looked at Moira and said “They’re training to be free divers like you?”
“That’s right – what you saw was a treat they get if they have been doing their exercises. They read about it in a Nancy Drew book, and convinced me to let them play the part of the detectives from time to time.”
By this time the girls were pushing themselves up the steps out of the pool, and were removing the tape gags from each other as the sun started to dry them out.
“So why in the name of creation did you let me believe you were killing them?”
“Revenge,” Moira said quietly. “You broke into my house, told me you were going to keep me prisoner against my will and rob me, and that I should pretend it was a game to keep my daughters calm? That was never going to be a problem – but I think you deserved a taste of your own medicine. So how does it feel, Miss Games Player?”
“Wow,” Laura said as she and Bobbi jumped over to join us, “you’re really the Games Player? Does that mean we’re going to be captives a little while longer?”
I looked at all three of them, and shook my head as I realised how completely I had been taken in. I was still mad as hell, but – well, she played the game well.
“Yes, you are going to be captives a while longer,” I said as I checked their ropes. Looking round the garden, I saw a large oak tree at one side, with the leafy branches providing some shade.
“Right – all three of you, hop over to that tree,” I said as I looked at them, “while I go and fetch my bag and some drinks for you.”
“It’s all right girls – do as she says,” Moira said as they all started to jump over, and I made my way back into the kitchen, still shaking my head as I picked up my bag, and got some juice cartons from the fridge.
Walking back out, I saw that the three of them had sat under the tree, and were talking to each other. “Here,” I said as I popped straws into two of the boxes and held them for the girls to drink, “you’re probably thirsty, and it may be a while before you get another drink.”
“Thanks,” Bobbi said as she took a sip, and then said “so what are you going to do to us?”
“Well, it’s a nice day, and this garden is private, so I think I’ll make sure you can’t stop me out here. Finish your drinks off, and then I’ll have to make sure you cannot see, speak or move very easily.”
“Will it hurt?”
“No – did it hurt when your mum tied you in the boat?”
Bobbi shook her head as I said “Then neither will this. Had enough?”
Both girls nodded as I put the cartons down, and then took two small cloths from my bag.
“Open wide now,” I said quietly, Moira watching as I pushed the cloths into their mouths, and then took out a wide roll of medical tape. Tearing the end free, I wrapped the tape several times around their heads, sealing the cloths in and making a nice, effective gag.
“Now, I’m going to tie your ankles to these ropes around your chest,” I said as I took out two more lengths of rope, “so I need you both to lie on your tummies.”
They nodded and did that, and soon I had their legs bent back, and their ankles tied to their chest ropes. Finally, I took two black scarves out of the bag, folded them into wide bands, and tied them tightly over their eyes as a blindfold.
“So what are you going to do to me,” Moira said as I stood up, “tie me in the same way?”
“Not at first – open your mouth.”
“Should have seen this coming,” Moira said as I pushed a folded scarf into her mouth, and then closed her lips over it, watching me as I wound the tape tightly round her head. Smiling, I then made her stand up and jump over to where one of the branches of the tree was within reach.
Taking a length of rope, I tied it to her elbows, and then threw it over the tree, pulling her arms up and making her bend over before I secured it to another branch.
“Now, if you’ll excuse me,” I said quietly, “I want to have a look round inside.”
“Lkkeehfchss,” Moira mumbled as she watched me walking back into the house with my bag.
Thirty minutes later, I came back out to check on all three of them. The ropes had dried out, but were still holding the two girls securely, while Moira was looking at me as I came closer.
“Well, this has been a fun afternoon,” I said as I looked at them, “and I want to thank you all for the game we played, but I need to leave now. Daddy will be home in a couple of hours, and you can tell him all about your day. Oh, and Mrs Babbage?”
“HmmmNNNNNNN” Moira called out as I smacked her bottom.
“That was for being naughty,” I said as I walked away, listening to the two girls giggling under their gags.
Hey everyone – did you see the report in the papers about the family of free divers?
Yeah – looks like they had fun as well – hey, looks like we have a first timer here. Welcome aboard, Sharon
Hi – I’m amazed there is such a place as this. Has everyone here really been visited by him or her?
That’s right – so what’s your story?
Well, this happened a couple of months ago. I’m twelve, and I live with my big sister and mother in South London – Dad lives with his new wife up in Scotland. Granny also stays with us to help out. Anyway, like I said, it was a couple of months ago this happened – Poppy, my sister, had gone with Mum to do a bit of shopping in town, and I was coming home from the bakers with Granny.
So this was Saturday lunchtime?
That’s right. I had on a white vest top that a ruffled front, a pair of black leggings with a silver pattern on the lower legs that I love, and some old cowboy boots, while Granny was wearing a long beige top with a black interlinked pattern on it, black pants and flat shoes. I also had my fair hair pulled back in a pigtail, and Granny had some pearls around her neck.
Anyway, we came home, Granny unlocked the door and we went into the house. I went to put the television on, while Granny went into the kitchen. A few minutes later she came in, but she wasn’t the only one...
Was it the man or the woman?
The man – he had on a dark shirt and jeans, with a stocking pulled down over his head. I could see Granny’s hands were behind her back, as she told me this was a friend of hers who had come to play a game of robbers with both of us. Well, when he nodded and said it would be fun, I went on with it and believed him.
He told Granny to sit down, and explained that to play this game, he was going to pretend to be a real robber - which meant he had to make sure Granny and I could not move around for a little while. I asked him what he was going to do, so he asked Granny to turn round – and I saw her wrists were held together behind her back with silver tape.
Oh wow – so did he tape your wrists together as well?
That’s right, he told me to stand up in front of Granny, and then he moved my wrists behind my back. I felt him put my hands together, palm to palm, and then her wound the tape round them, before taking it round my waist as well. He then wrapped some more tape around my arms and tummy, so that I was unable to move them at all.
He let me sit down, and then took my boots off, before he taped my ankles together, and then my legs below my knees. He then told me to sit still, so I stayed in the chair while he walked over and taped Granny’s arms to her side.
How did he do that?
He wrapped it around her tummy, and her shoulders, and then taped her ankles and legs in the same way as mine.
Anyway, he asked me if I was all right, and I nodded. Yeah, I couldn’t move, but it didn’t hurt, and it was fun to try and wriggle round as the tape crinkled. He then said he was going to have a look round, and we should be quiet, when we all heard the front door open.
In the time it took the door to open and close, he had told me to open my mouth, and pushed a folded up cloth into it, before he did the same to Granny. I tried not to giggle as I looked at the edges of the cloth sticking out of her mouth when the room door opened, and Mum came in with Poppy.
I bet they were surprised to see you both like that!
It certainly looked that way. Mum had on a blue jumper with thin light blue horizontal stripes, and a pair of trousers with black and white panels, as well as tan moccasins, while Poppy had a black t-shirt and white mini skirt with a curvy hem, as well as white slipper shoes.
I actually thought Mum was going to scream before the masked man stepped out, and explained this was a game the family were playing. Granny and I nodded as he said this, and Mum looked at Poppy, before explaining that they were going to play along as well.
Poppy didn’t seem too keen, but Mum talked to her, and eventually she let the man tape her hands behind her back, and then her arms to her body, like he had done to me. She then sat on a small couch, watching as he taped her ankles and legs below her knees, and then allowed him to push a folded cloth into her mouth as well.
He then said he and Mum were going to go round the house, and he was going to pretend to take some of her nice things, but he would then make sure we were all together to play the game when they had finished. He also told us to keep the cloths in our mouths, so we all nodded as he and Mum went out.
So how did it feel to sit there with something in your mouth? Were you tempted to spit it out?
I was tempted at first, but I got used to it, especially when we realised the television was on a music channel, so we all started to try and sign along to the songs. It was fun – all of us sounded as if we were humming rather than singing.
So how long were you left alone?
About thirty or forty minutes – he came back in, and said we were all going to join Mum, one at a time. He started with Poppy, helping her to stand and then jump across the room and out of the door. She looked really funny doing that, before I heard footsteps going up and down the stairs.
He then came back down, but before he took me up he stuck some of the silver tape over Granny’s lips, sealing the cloth inside. I watched to make sure she was all right, but she smiled under the tape and nodded before he picked me up and carried me up the stairs.
Where did he take you?
We went into Mum’s room. Mummy was sitting on the floor of the room, and I could see the masked man had used a lot of tape on her as well. Her arms were behind her back, and she had tape around her tummy and shoulders as well. I could also see the tape round her ankles and her legs, as well as over her mouth.
She mumbled something to me that sounded like “Beebrf” as the man laid me on the bed next to Poppy, who had silver tape over her mouth as well. I heard the tape ripping, and then it was pressed down over my mouth as well. Poppy winked at me as he did this, so I knew we were all going to be all right then.
He left us on alone for a few minutes, and then Granny jumped into the room in front of him. He sat her down behind Mum, and used some more of the tape to hold both of them together, before he said to count to two hundred, and then we could start to try to get free.
That’s one of the best bits of his visits, when you try to get free. Did you manage it?
Eventually, when Poppy told me to roll over and she managed to peel the tape away from my wrists. Just as I managed to shake my hands free, two policemen came in and started to free all of us. That’s when I found out who had called.
Sounds like you had a fun experience as well.
Looking back on it, it was, and I know why Granny did what she did, but – well, yeah, it was fun. Mum doesn’t like talking about it, but Poppy and I have.
Is Poppy there with you?
Yeah – but she can’t type just now. Or talk – she’s watching me though. We take turns and it helps us relax.
Slumber Party – two words to strike fear into the heart of most mothers. Now imagine what it would be like for me when I’m visiting someone and playing the game. Well, don’t worry – I found out last week.
The home in question belonged to a bank manager, and as is usually the case these days I took great care to make sure I knew as much as possible. His wife was in her early forties, while their eleven year old only daughter, called Hope, was a cute little thing with long blonde hair. Her parents, Ellen and David Holden, lived in a semi-detached in a new estate on what once had been a RAF base.
From my researches, I knew David was away on a weekend retreat for bank managers, so the Saturday night seemed the perfect time to pay a visit. I could go in, play the game, get out and still get home at a reasonable hour. Simple, yes?
Ah well – it was about six thirty when I pulled up, checked nobody was looking, and then got out of the car, picking up my bag as I did so and looking at the house. Walking up to the door, I noted the curtains in the front room were closed before I turned and walked round the side, stopping to pull the stocking down over my head and tuck it into my jumper before putting my gloves on.
I could see the light in the kitchen was on, and as I glanced in I saw Ellen Holden at the sink, her brown hair falling over her bare shoulders. The top she was wearing was in a gypsy style, with gathered cuffs and waist, and had an ethnic print pattern on it. She was also wearing black pants and slippers, as she turned and walked over to the range in the kitchen.
I took this as an opportunity to slip in through the unlocked back door, closing it as quietly as possible and waiting as she took out several trays and left them to cool. I could see sausage rolls, pizzas – and still it didn’t click what was going to happen.
Still, I knew what I had to do, so as she put the last tray down and closed the door, I walked quickly behind her and put my gloved hand over her mouth, whispering “Remain calm, Ellen – just do what I tell you to, then you and Hope can have an exciting evening.”
“Hmggddd – nttnhht,” she mumbled as she tried to pull my hand down, but I merely whispered “just stay calm” and let her see the gun from my jacket pocket. That convinced her to remain quiet, as I took my hand away and said “Now, where is Hope?”
“Mummy, how do I look?”
I looked round with Ellen and saw her daughter standing there, wearing a pink sleeveless party dress with a waistband of flowers, and white kitten heels. She stared at both of us, and said “Mum, what’s happening?”
“Hope, this lady is...”
“Here to make your slumber party a very special surprise,” I said as I suddenly realised what was going on. “How many friends are you expecting?”
“Just two – Holly and Babs,” Hope said. “So what is the theme Mum?”
Ellen looked at me, and said “the three rich girls are going to be taken hostage for a while by the masked lady – do as she says, and we’ll surprise both of them, all right?”
The blonde haired girl nodded as I said “why don’t we go to the front room, and make sure you’re ready?”
I followed them through and saw the room laid out for a sleepover, as I asked Ellen to sit down, and then indicated Hope should sit on the floor. “Now, Hope, the intruder needs to tie your wrists and ankles,” I said as I knelt next to her, “so cross your ankles and wrists please.”
Ellen watched as I tied her daughter’s wrists and ankles with rope, making sure I took the cords around and between her limbs, and then said “I’m not going to stop you having the party – that would not be nice – but you and your friends will be pretending to be my hostages, and need to so as I say, all right?”
Hope nodded as the doorbell rang, and I said to her mother “go and welcome the guest – and remember, don’t tell anyone I’m here.”
Nodding, Ellen went to the door as Hope wriggled round, and I stood in the doorway. A few minutes later, she returned with a blonde haired girl, the same age as Hope, wearing a black jersey dress with a pink ribbon around her waist, and black leather boots that went under the skirt of her dress.
“Hi Babs,” Hope said, “we’re having a hostage slumber party. Want to play along?”
Babs looked at me and Ellen, before smiling and saying “that sounds like fun – am I going to be like you?”
“Yes you are,” I said as I smiled under the stocking mask, “so sit down next to Hope, and cross your ankles and wrists please.”
“This is exciting,” Babs said as she sat down, and I bound her ankles and wrists tightly together, while Ellen went to answer the door again.
This time she came back with a slightly older girl, her long brown hair pulled back in a ponytail, and wearing a long sleeved boho style blouse with a floral print, pink jeans with brown leather pads on the inside of the thighs, and flat brown riding boots.
“Oh my,” she said as she saw Hope and Babs, “are you both hostages?”
“that’s right,” Ellen said with a smile, “this is a hostage slumber party Holly. The intruder is going to tie your wrists and ankles, and then I’ll bring through the food and drink for you to have while you watch the DVDs.”
Holly nodded, and ten minutes later I had her sitting with the other two, her wrists and ankles bound as I turned the television on and started the first film, then followed Ellen to the kitchen.
“So you’re going to have to stay a little while,” she said as I helped her to put snacks onto plates.
“Well, I think it will be worth it – I’m going to take you round the house when they are watching a film, to get your valuables, and we’ll see what happens after that.”
It was certainly a different evening – the three girls ate snacks, drank and joked with each other while they watched the film, and Ellen and I played chaperone with the curtains closed, bringing more snacks and drinks. At an appropriate moment, I took Ellen to the rest of the house and selected what I was going to take, and then we re-joined the girls until Hope said “can we get ready to go into our sleeping bags now?”
“Of course – but the bad robber will have to make sure you stay in the sleeping bags, and stay quiet. I’ll unite you all, and then let you get changed,” I said quietly, “but first Hope’s mum and I need to get your bags.”
We both went out as I found the mobile phones of the two girls, and switched them off, before we took the bags in and I untied the girls. They then went one at a time with Ellen to the toilet, and when they came back they changed into light blue cotton pyjamas with elasticised waists and cuffs.
“Now then” I said as I looked at them, “I’m going to use some special tape to secure your wrists in front of you and your arms to your sides. Once I’m done, you get into your bags, I’ll secure your ankles and legs, and then close the bags over you while I start one last film.
“What about Mum?”
“She’s going to be joining you, once you’re all secured,” I said with a smile. “So, who wants to be first?”
So one by one I taped their crossed wrists together in front of them, and then taped their arms to their sides and their wrists to their tummies, before they lay down. I then taped their ankles together, and their legs below their knees, before I zipped up their sleeping bags and then looked at Ellen.
“It’s time,” I said as I held a fresh roll of white tape up, “hands behind your back please.”
The three girls watched as I taped Ellen’s wrists together behind her back, and then wrapped tape around her arms above and below her chest, before she sat down on the couch they had been sitting in front of earlier. I then taped her ankles and legs together, before helping her to lie on her side and going back to my bag.
“The bad intruder now needs to stop you from raising the alarm, but someone will come and make sure you’re all right,” I said as one by one I pushed a small sponge ball into their mouths, and then sealed their lips with the tape, before starting the last film and leaving them all to watch it – while I made my excuses and got out.
A little while later, I made sure that Daddy got a message to call home – so that they could have a real sleepover later...
When I pulled up outside the cottage, I sat for a little while, looking through the notes I had with me to make sure I had everything I needed to make sure the visit went well. The man of the house was the managing director of a local double glazing company, and he was at an awards dinner – leaving his wife and daughters at home. His wife was in her early forties, while he had a fourteen year old and a ten year old daughter. As far as my research could show, they should be in residence this fine evening – and I had decided, for various reasons, this would be one of the occasions I would wear the balaclava instead of a stocking mask.
It was starting to get dark as I made my way up to the front door, my rucksack over my back, and the leather gloves pulled snugly over my hands. Why the balaclava? I guess I wanted this to be a more realistic game – plus, if I am being a hundred per cent honest, it was a bit cold.
At any rate, I could see a light on behind the drawn curtains, and only one car in the garage, so I knocked on the front door and waited.
It took a few moments, but eventually the door was opened by the mother – her long brown hair was cut in a wave, and she was wearing a white long sleeved top, jeans and blue penny loafers.
She started to say “Yes, can I help...” before my gloved hand over her mouth kept her quiet, and she saw the gun I was holding in the other hand.
“Hello,” I said quietly, “if you promise not to scream or raise the alarm, I’ll put the gun away and remove my hand. I’m here to rob you, but you don’t want your daughters to get upset, do you?”
She slowly shook her head under my hand, and as I said “so you’ll be quiet and calm and do as I say,” she nodded in response, gasping as I took my hand away and stowed the gun in my jacket pocket.
“Now, where are your girls?”
“Peggy’s in the front room,” she whispered, “Alice is out, but – oh god, she’ll be back soon.”
“That’s all right,” I said quietly, “so here’s what’s going to happen. You need to persuade Peggy, and Alice when she returns, that this is all a game you’ve arranged to pass the time while your husband is out, and she should play along. If you stay calm, she stays calm, all right?”
“All right – and you won’t hurt us?”
“Not if you do as I say,” I say quietly as I take a length of cord from my pocket. “Now, turn around and put your hands behind your back. I’m going to tie your wrists, as a start to the game.”
I watched as she slowly turned round, and then crossed her wrists behind her back before I secured them together, making sure I took the rope between her arms as well.
“Now,” I said as I tied the ends off, “where exactly is young Peggy?”
“Then we shall go and see her,” I said as I took her arm and we walked into the main room. Peggy was lying on her stomach on a long couch, kicking her legs up and down as she watched a program. Her hair was cut like her mothers, and she was wearing a red and blue striped rugby top, dark jeans and slippers.
“Mum? Oh no,” she said as she turned and saw me, and then sat up, “mum, who is this?”
“It’s all right Peggy,” her mother said in a quiet voice, “I’d forgotten I arranged for this actor to come and play a big game with us. He’s pretending to be a robber, and he needs to make sure like a real robber that we won’t stop him. Here, have a look at my hands.”
She turned round and showed Peggy her bound wrists, the young girl walking over and looking at them before she touched the ropes.
“Does it hurt?”
“No – no it doesn’t, but he’s going to do the same thing to both of us, so listen to what he says and do it. We can play this game together, all right?”
“All right,” Peggy said as she watched me take my rucksack off, “so what do I have to do?”
“Well, I need to make sure you can’t move your wrists either, so your mum is going to sit on that couch, and I want you to stand in front of her, and put your hands behind your back.”
“The man has to wear the mask, because like a real burglar he doesn’t want us to know who he is,” her mum said as Peggy allowed me to take her wrists behind her back, and tie them in the same way as her mother, and then tie some rope around her waist to keep them secure against her back.
“All right, Peggy,” I then said with a smile, “why don’t you sit next to your mother, and we’ll make sure you can’t get up and run off.”
I waited until she sat down, sitting back so that her feet were off the floor, and then crossed and tied her ankles tightly together, repeating the process for her mother and then using more rope to secure their legs together below their knees. Peggy watched, fascinated as I passed the rope between her legs as well, and then as I bound her mother’s together.
“I really can’t move them apart,” she said as she tried to, her mum smiling as she said “he’s really good at this isn’t he?”
“Yes he is,” her mother said as I took some more rope from my bag, and started to use it to bind her arms to the sides of her body, taking the rope above and below her chest as I did so. Once I had them secured in place, I tightened the bands by feeding them under her arms and around the back of her neck, and finally tied her wrists to the chest ropes with the free ends.
“I really can’t move my hands now,” she said with a smile – and then she looked to the door as we all heard footsteps approaching.
“I need to make sure neither of you can let your sister know I am here – it will spoil the surprise,” I said as I quickly walked behind the couch, and hand gagged both of them, all three pairs of eyes looking to the doorway.
I could feel the breath of both of them on my hands as I heard a young female voice say “they must be in here,” and then the door open. Alice was about the same height as her mother, her brown hair falling over the shoulders of her blue denim blouse. The sleeves were rolled up to her elbows, and she had the hem tucked into a knee length skirt with a brown checked pattern, the lower band a darker shade than the rest. Dark tights, and knee length loose brown leather boots, completed her outfit.
It was the older woman that was with her that was the surprise. She had short greying hair, and wore glasses, her blue coat fastened around her upper body and a patterned scarf with shades of brown, cream, blue and red around her neck and tucked into the front. She was also wearing dark trousers, and black ankle boots.
“Mum, Gran’s here to...” Alice took one look at her bound mum and sister, and then me behind the couch as I said “Good evening – please, close the door and listen very carefully to what your mother has to say.”
“Oh god,” her grandmother said “You’re the Games Player?”
“That’s right,” Mum said as I removed her hand, “he came to play this game of robbers with us, but if I knew you were going to be here Mum...”
“It’s all right,” she said as he unfastened her coat, revealing the blue jumper underneath, “I’m more than happy to play along with the game. You play as well, Alice, all right?” She gave her older granddaughter a playful squeeze of the hand as I said “Thank you – please, take a seat, and if Alice could stand in front of you?”
“Hey Gran – we’re all going to play together,” Peggy said, wriggling round as I took some rope, and stood behind Alice, crossing her wrists behind her back and then securing them tightly together, before I used more rope to force her arms into her sides.
“I’ll do the same to you in a minute, Peggy,” I said as I looked at her, and made sure the rope was tight and snug before securing the ends behind her back. I then tied the younger girl’s arms as well, before I looked at their grandmother.
“If I was to tell you to take your hands behind your back, would it hurt?”
“Sadly, yes,” she said as she looked at me, “so you need to find another way.”
“And I will – put your hands in front of yourself, hands palm to palm please, while Alice sits next to her sister.”
As the older girl sat down, I tied their grandmother’s wrists tightly together, and then laid them on her lap, with some rope hanging from them, and then tied her upper arms to her sides as I had done for the others.
After a short while, both Alice and her grandmother were looking at their bound wrists and ankles – I had removed Alice’s boots, and tied the rope over the bottom of her tights.
“Now then,” I said as I secured the loose ends of the rope from their grandmother’s wrists to her knees, “I need to take your mother for a hop round the house. Before I do that, however, I need to make sure the three of you cannot call for help as part of the game.”
“So we have to be kept quiet?”
“That’s right,” I said as I removed the scarf from around their grandmother’s neck, rolled it into a band and tied a knot, “but when I have finished going round with your mother, I’ll make sure all four of you are in the same room, all right? Now, please, open your mouth as wide as you can.”
The two girls watched as I eased the silk knot into their grandmother’s mouth, and then tied it around her head, securing the ends together at the base of her neck. I then fished two more scarves out of my rucksack, and gagged them both in the same way, trapping their hair against their neck as I did so. I also tied their grandmother’s thumbs and fingers together with some string, in case she could use them, before I helped their mother to stand and frog marched her out of the room, and up to the bedrooms.
“I suppose I should thank you for keeping your word,” she whispered as I lifted her over my shoulder and carried her up the staircase.
“You may thank me,” I said quietly, “by showing me where your valuables are, and then I’ll make you comfortable secure and quiet.”
“Whrsssmmm,” Alice said as I came back into the room.
“I’m going to take you up to join her, one by one,” I said as I lifted Peggy in my arms, and carried her up the stairs. When I took her into her mother’s bedroom, she said “hllmm” as she saw her lying down on the bed. Her ankles were pulled back and secured to her chest ropes, while a band of white tape covered her lower head, hiding a knotted scarf I had already tied in there. She also had a strip of white tape over her eyes.
“Sthttupgee,” she mumbled as I lay the younger girl next to her, and pulled her ankles back, tying them to her chest ropes as well.
“It is – I’ll bring Alice next,” I said as I took a roll of white micropore tape, and wrapped it round Peggy’s head before saying “close your eyes for me – Alice and your grandmother will have the same done to them.”
Peggy nodded and said “ndfftrrtthtr” before she closed her eyes. As I tore a length of tape off, and smoothed it over them, I said “then you can try and escape – but not before I give the word” and then left the room.
I then went and fetched Alice, hogtying, further gagging and blindfolding her at the other side of her mother, before I walked back downstairs.
“Forgive me,” I said as I looked at their grandmother, “but I must take further steps to silence and blindfold you before I take you up.”
“Regretfully, I am, but this means the girls stay calm and do not panic,” I said as I began to wrap the tape around her head to further silence her, and then removed her glasses, folding them and placing them safely on a shelf. I them tore a long strip from the roll.
“Please, close your eyes,” I said, watching her as she nodded and allowed me to cover them with the tape. I then carefully lifted her up, and took her up the stairs, sitting her against the wall and putting a cushion behind her head.
“Wrffnmmm,” their mother said as I picked up my bag.
“All right – you can try and get free now,” I said, “and if you don’t, a special guest will be along soon to get you out of this. Have fun.”
I left them to try and free themselves, allowing an hour before I made a call to the man of the house. The reports were interesting to read – their grandmother had managed to pull the tape band down and ungag herself by the time the police arrived, but the other three had only managed to get the tape off their eyes, and were looking at each other...
There was one recent occasion when I was carrying out some visits in the Norfolk area, when a desire to go back to my younger days came over me. Reckless, I know – but sometimes you have to relive the old days. And as I passed by a school, and saw this blonde haired woman standing by a Jaguar, I pulled up a way down the road and watched.
She was wearing a sleeveless white crochet top, styled like a bolero jacket, over a pink vest, with a wide white leather belt around her waist. She was also wearing a knee length floral print pleated skirt, and brown sandals.
The school was obviously ending for the day, and eventually this eleven year old girl came out, her long blonde hair held back by a clasp. She was wearing a blue dress with a black check on it, and a white collar and trim, with white socks and black shoes. She hugged the older woman as she got into the car, me waiting until she drove off and passed me before I followed from a distance.
They drove for about half an hour until they turned into a driveway in front of a two storey building. I parked in a lay-by a short distance further down the road, and watched as they got out of the car and went into the front door. I have to admit, there was a real sense of excitement in me – I didn’t have anything with me apart from some shopping I had done for Janna, which included some new stockings.
I made a mental note to replace them as I opened a packet of pantyhose and fashioned a mask, and then pulled a pair of leather driving gloves out of the storage area and slipped them on before stuffing the mask into my jacket pocket.
Getting out of the car and walking quickly back down the road, I went into the driveway and around the back of the house, keeping low as I reached the large back garden and listening at the open window.
“Your father won’t be home until later tonight, Tammy. So get your homework done, and then we’ll have dinner.”
“All right mum,” I heard the young girl say and then footsteps, as I took the stocking mask from my pocket and slipped it over my head. Taking several deep breaths, I moved to the rear door and slowly pulled the handle down, opening it as quietly as I could and walking inside.
I must have been quite a sight to the mother as she turned and looked at me – smart suit, white shirt, dark tie, dark stocking mask and leather gloves. That played to my advantage, as it gave me time to close the door and walk over, putting my hand over her mouth as I said “Keep calm, keep quiet. I’m only here to rob you, and if you do as I say, nobody needs to get hurt, all right?”
She stared at me, wide eyed as she nodded and looked into my eyes.
“If I take my hand away, are you going to scream?”
She shook her head from side to side, as I smiled, took my hand away, and said “What’s your name?”
“Jasmine,” she whispered back.
“All right Jasmine, here’s the deal – I am going to rob you, and I need to make sure I can get away, which regretfully means you and your daughter – Tammy, right – need to be kept secure. You can make it easier for her, by pretending this is a game. All right?”
She nodded mutely as I said “good – now do you have any rope or tape in the house?”
“Thhhhh There’s some duct tape in the cupboard,” Jasmine said quietly as she pointed to a store cupboard.
“All right – put your hands on your head and walk over with me,” I said quietly, making Jasmine walk in front of me as she opened the door and took out two rolls of duct tape.
“Good,” I said as I looked at them, “now, very slowly, put your hands behind your back and put them together, palm to palm.”
As she did this, I picked up one of the rolls of tape and secured her wrists together, then wound the tape down so that it covered her hands as well.
“So here’s what we’re going to do. Where’s Tammy?”
“In her bedroom,” Jasmine whispered.
“We’re going to go up, and you’re going to tell her this is a game of robbers. I’ll make sure she stays where she is, and then you will show me where your valuables are. After that, I will secure you, and bring Tammy to join you before I leave. Do you understand?”
I smiled as she nodded, trying to move her hands as she did so. “Good – after you,” I said as I took the rolls of duct tape in my hand, and walked up the stairs.
As we went into Tammy’s room, I saw the posters and drawings on the wall, showing MLP and some pop singers. Tammy was sitting at her desk, working in a book as her mother said “Tammy, do you have a moment?”
“Sure Mum, wha...” As she turned round and looked at me, I said “Hello Tammy – your mum had forgotten to tell you about the special game you’re going to play this afternoon, didn’t she?”
“Game – what game Mum?”
“Well – this man is pretending to rob us, so we’re going to have to play at being his captives for a while.”
Looking at me, Tammy said “It sounds like fun, but I need to finish my homework...”
“Well, we can combine both things,” I said quietly. “What I am going to do is make sure you can’t get off that chair, and take your mobile phone with me. I then go and talk with your mother for a little while, and pretend to rob her, then I’ll come back and take you to her, all right?”
“That sounds like a plan, if that’s all right with you Tammy?”
She looked at her mother, and said “All right – what are you going to do?”
“Sit back in the chair, while Mummy here sits on your bed for a few minutes.”
As Jasmine sat down, I used the tape to secure Tammy’s waist to the chair back, and then taped her ankles together, as well as her legs below her knees, before pushing her chair back in so that she could work.
“Now, do you promise not to try to call for help?”
“Who would hear me?” She opened her mouth and started calling for help, so I put my gloved hand over her mouth, and said “I guess I need to make sure you keep quiet while I take your mother to look for her jewels. When I take my hand away, put your lips together.”
She nodded, and as I tore a length of tape off she allowed me to press it down over her mouth, Jasmine saying “Be brave, Tammy” as I did so. Her daughter nodded and went back to work as I took Jasmine through to the master bedroom.
“Now then,” I said quietly as I closed the door, “Where are your valuables?”
“The cupboard and the drawers – what happens now?”
“Now,” I said as I tore the end for the roll free, and used it to bind her arms to her sides, the tape going above and below her chest, “I make you comfortable. When I say so, I want you to lie on the bed, and stay still.”
Jasmine nodded as I tore the tape free and smoothed it down, watching as she lay on the bed before I taped her ankles together, and then her legs below and above her knees, lifting her skirt up to allow me to do that.
“I should say thank you, for being gentle,” Jasmine said as she wriggled on the bed, watching me empty her valuables into a small drawstring bag, “even if you are holding me and my daughter hostage.”
“You’re too kind,” I said as I found some rolls of bank notes and put them in the bag as well. “I hope you will continue the idea this is a game as we move forward.”
“Are you this Games Player then?”
“I am – just passing today though,” I said as I looked in the drawer, and took out some of her husband’s handkerchiefs. “And now, it is time to keep you quiet. Open wide please.”
“And how are you doing with your homework, Tammy,” I said as I came back into the room, carrying a glass of soft drink with me. Putting it on the table, I gently peeled the tape away from her lips.
“Done – where’s Mum?”
“As I promised, I’m going to take you to her, but have a drink first after you put your books away,” I said as I sat down on the bed, waiting for her to finish.
As she put the glass down, and closed her books, she said “so I have it be tied up as if you were a real robber. Is that what happened to Mum?”
“That’s right – I promise you it will not hurt, but I do need to make it difficult for you and your mum to raise the alarm. So, lean forward for me, and put your hands behind your back.”
As Tammy did that, I taped her crossed wrists together, and then wrapped tape around her arms and body, making two bands at her stomach and shoulders. I then cut the tape away that was holding her to the chair, looking into her eyes as I said “I need to make sure you can’t talk clearly now. I’m going to put this in your mouth, and then put some more tape over your lips, all right?”
She nodded and let me put the folded hankie in, and then smooth three strips of duct tape over her mouth before I lifted her off the chair and carried her into the master bedroom.
“Hllmmm,” she said as I laid her next to Jasmine, the older woman nodding as Tammy snuggled into her, her head on her chest. She moved her head down and pressed her taped lips on her daughter’s hair, as I said “Well, the robber has to go now, but you can try and get free. The game ends when you get free or daddy comes home, whichever comes first.”
They both looked at me and nodded as I slipped out with the drawstring bag, making my way out of the front door and back to my car. A nice flashback to the old days...
I know Janna has shared a couple of stories recently of how she was – stricter than usual, with the full cooperation of the family she was visiting. I had a similar experience, where I had the opportunity to play something other than the burglar in the game.
The family in question were the Cholmondley-Warner family, who owned a large estate in Shropshire. Evangeline Cholmondley-Warner was in her late thirties, a stunning blonde haired woman who came from one of the leading families in the area. She had married her husband, a property dealer, fifteen years preciously, and they had two daughters, twelve year old Hortense and ten year old Mirabelle. The thing that united this family, apart from their love for each other, was their love for horses – the estate had six horses, and when I had surveyed the area over the previous few weeks I had seen all three of them out on the fields.
I also knew she had a fine collection of cameos, and a collector who may be interested in acquiring them through a trusted third party. So I laid my plans carefully, and decided to go for a day when I knew Mister Cholmondley-Warner was in his office.
It was just after lunchtime when I drove up to the courtyard of the house in a 4x4 I had borrowed for the occasion. Given the interests of Mummy and the two girls, I had decided to indulge my inner Follyfoot fan – probably lost on the younger generation, but anyway... I had dressed in a roll necked Fair Isle sweater, a green padded gillet, tweed trousers and black work boots. Add to that the black leather gloves, and the black balaclava mask which was currently rolled up as a cap on my head, and I was ready for business as I parked out of site.
Leaving the jeep, I could see the two girls walking from the house to the stables, both girls wearing short sleeved white blouses, light tan jodhpurs and black boots under the stretch fabric. Mirabelle had a white band holding her lighter hair back, but that was the only difference - apart from the height.
Smiling, I retrieved my bag from the back of the vehicle, and slipped into the house, pulling down my balaclava to cover my head so that only my eyes and mouth were showing. Looking in one of the downstairs rooms, I saw Evangeline sitting at a bureau, her long blonde hair falling over the shoulders of her round necked white cable knit sweater. Her outfit also consisted of a pair of tan jodhpurs, with darker brown pads on the inner thighs, and knee length black leather boots.
Smiling, I slipped into the room, and placed my gloved hand over her mouth, showing her the starting pistol in my other hand as I whispered “Hello – you’re not going to scream or struggle, are you?”
My hand was quite firmly over her mouth as she tried to speak, and reached up to pull it down, so I gently said “Now, think this over – do you really want to scare your daughters?”
That made her stop as she slowly shook her head from side to side.
“Good – so listen carefully. You’re going to pretend that you have hired me to play a game with you and them today, and that you want them to play along. Do that, and I promise apart from the fact none of you will be able to move or talk for a while, you will be unharmed. Nod if you understand.”
I felt her head go up and down, before I said “now, I am going to take my hand away, and I want you to very quietly stand up, and put your hands behind your back.”
As I removed my hand, Evangeline stood up and moved her hands behind her back, trembling as she said “what are you going to do to me?”
“Rob you,” I said as I took a length of rope from my bag, and used it to bind her elbows together behind her back. “Now, you will tell your daughters when they return this is a game?”
“Yes – but what sort of game?”
“Oh, I’m a horse thief, and I have come to steal their horses. Of course, I don’t want them,” I said as I passed the rope between her arms, and then tied it off, “for one thing, they will not fit in my hand. But as a horse thief, I have to stop them telling the police while I get away.”
“I guess they could believe that – but what do you really want?”
“First, to tie your wrists together,” I said as I did just that, “and then for you to tell me the combination to the safe that is behind that family portrait.
“All right,” she said as I helped her to sit in a leather armchair, she giving the combination as I tied her ankles tightly together, and then her legs below her knees.
“Very good,” I said as I tried the combination, managing to open the door a little as I heard footsteps in the hall. “Now, do your part – convince them this is a game.” Closing the safe and replacing the picture I stood behind the door as the two girls came in.
“Mother,” Hortense said “the... Mother?”
“It’s all right girls,” Evangeline said as she looked at them, “Mother has invited an actor to come and play a game with all of us.”
“What sort of game,” Mirabelle said as she looked at her bound mother.
“Hello,” I said as I closed the door behind them, “now don’t be scared – I have this on because I’m pretending to be a bad man, who has come to steal your horses.” I saw the frightened expression on Mirabelle’s face as I said “I’m not really going to – but your mother hired me to play the part, so all three of you could play this game.”
“So he’s going to be like a real thief, and tie us up,” Hortense said as she looked at her mother.
“That’s right – he’s already started with me, but it doesn’t hurt – here, come and have a look.”
The two girls walked over and looked at their mother, before Hortense said “Will you do that to us?”
“Not quite, but I will make sure all three of you cannot move or raise the alarm. It’s just a game, though, and you can try and escape if you want. So, are you ready to play?”
“All right,” Mirabelle said, “what do we have to do?”
“Why don’t you both stand in front of your mother, hands by your side,” I said as I went to my bag, “I’ll start by making sure you cannot move your wrists or arms, but first put these over your hands. It will keep your wrists from getting hurt.”
I handed them each a pair of cotton socks, watching as they pulled them over their hands before I guided their hands behind their backs, crossed their wrists and secured them tightly together, making sure the rope went between their arms and then around their waists to keep them in place.
I then took two longer lengths of rope, and tied their arms to their sides, making sure the two bands at comfortable on them and then cinching them with short lengths under their arms.
“Will you do this to mother as well,” Hortense said as she twisted round.
“Of course,” I said as I bound Evangeline’s arms to her body in the same way, the rope above and below her chest. “Now,” I said as I helped her to stand up, “your mother is going to jump to the stairs, and we’re going to follow her.”
I held her arm as the girls walked in front of us, her boots rubbing against each other as she jumped up each stair in turn, the girls giggling as they looked at each other and waved their sock covered fingers. I then took them into the master bedroom, instructing the girls to sit on the bed as I opened a large walk-in closet.
“I’m going to make sure your mother stays in here,” I said as I looked at them, “before I make sure you two cannot leave the bed. So stay there, all right?”
They both nodded as I made Evangeline stand facing the open door, and then used some rope over the clothes bar to secure her in place, the rope going from her wrists, over the bar and down to her knees. As she tried to stand in place, I said “I will make sure you cannot talk later, but right now girls, I need to secure your legs.”
“You’re very good at this,” Hortense said as I secured her ankles together, and then he r legs below her knees, securing each band as I did so.
“Yes I am – and does it hurt?”
“No,” she said as she nudged Mirabelle, who was watching me tie her ankles and legs together, “It doesn’t hurt.”
“Good – now to make sure you can’t get off the bed.”
I lifted Mirabelle up and laid her face down and then bent her ankles back, before I tied them to her chest ropes with a further length. Doing the same to Hortense, I made sure all the knots were out of reach in case they somehow got the socks off.
“Are you girls going to be all right,” Evangeline said as she watched them struggling, their heels resting on their bottoms.
“Yes Mother,” Mirabelle giggled, “it’s actually fun, and it really doesn’t hurt.”
“Now I need to keep you all quiet,” I said as I retrieved a few things I had brought specially for the occasion from my bag. “Mother first.”
The two girls watched as I rolled a black silk scarf into a band, and tied a knot in the middle, before saying to their mother “Open wide now.” As she did so, I eased the knot between her teeth, and tied the silk band around her head, making sure her hair was not trapped.
“I have a scarf for each of you as well,” I then said as I took two black bandanas with white spots from the bag, rolled them and tied knots in them, before using them both as cleave gags.
“Ecnstttlk,” Mirabelle said as her sister and mother looked at her.
“Not when I add this,” I said as I held up three rolls of black crepe bandages, like those used for horses. One by one, I wrapped the bandage around their heads, their muffled speaking getting quieter as I did so.
“Still think you can talk?”
“Nnn,” Hortense said as she shook her head from side to side.
“Good – I’ll be back in a little while to check on you,” I said as I left them there, and made my way back down the stairs, opening the safe and raiding it at my leisure.
When I went back up, I saw the two girls struggling as their mother watched them – but they hadn’t managed to make any progress.
“Well, this horse thief is going to pretend to leave now,” I said quietly, “if you manage to get free, there’s a special treat waiting downstairs for the winner.”
“Try and escape to find out,” I said as I went down, to the jeep, and made my escape while they lay there...