Mother and Daughter Moments – The Honeymoon
opened her eyes, I looked at her, smiling as I said “good morning.”
“Hey,” she said as she looked at me, “did we get married three days ago?”
I nodded as I leaned over to kiss her. “We did – and we had a wonderful day,” I said quietly. “Want to go for a drive, catch some breakfast on the way?”
Janna nodded as she stretched her arms up, and I got out of the bed. We had come to the US for our honeymoon – a two week break, allowing us time with each other as we started in New York, then went for a drive north before we ended up in Boston.
Of course we were going to spend the time together – but come on. What do you think Mr and Mrs Games Player would do on their honeymoon? There were a few places I had looked into on past work visits, but either I never had the time, or I knew it was too big a job for one person. With two, it could be done – and Janna had agreed wholeheartedly with my plans.
So today, we were going to take a trip out to Queens – to visit the home of a local television personality called Dee Hope. She was a big, bright and bouncy woman in her early forties, African American and a staple of the gossip pages. When I had researched her before, I knew she was separated from her husband, and she had an eleven year old daughter called Erica.
We also had very little with us that we could use – given we had to get through customs – so we also knew this was one of those times when we would need to see what the house we were going to visit would have to offer.
We had our outfits, however, as we got into our hire car and drove out to the suburbs, stopping for some brunch at an IHOP before moving on. As we drove, we passed row upon row of houses until we came to our destination, the end house of a row of terraced houses. I was wearing a black leather jacket over a jumper, slacks and trainers, while Janna had on her jacket over a round necked top, leggings and soft leather boots.
“Ready,” I said as I looked at her.
“Oh yes,” she said as we kissed, and then got out, me putting a rucksack on my back as we walked round the corner, and then into the back alley. We stopped to put on our leather gloves, and then slipped the stockings down over our heads, before we went up to the rear door of the house. Janna kept watch as I took some tools from my pocket, and managed to unlock the door, the two of us slipping in as we found ourselves in a cellar.
Janna led the way up the stairs to a door, opening it a fraction and listening as we heard the sound of a television on. So we went into the hallway, and walked slowly to the front room. Looking in, we could see Dee Hope working at a table, the television on in the background. The woman was wearing a red top with gull wing sleeves, a pair of black leather effect leggings, and black leather boots that reached her knees, not straight and smooth but slightly ruffled.
I looked at her as we both drew a starter pistol from our jacket pockets, as I said quietly “good afternoon.”
Dee looked suddenly up, her dark hair in a bun on her head covered by a gold and black scarf, and then said “oh my god...”
“Please,” I said quietly, “do not scream, do not shout – sit quietly with your hands on your head, while my friend keeps you company. Do as we say, and there won’t be any problems.”
“Hello,” Janna said as she walked over and sat down, aiming the gun at Dee, “as my friend says, just sit nice and quietly, and then we can all have some fun.”
“What is this – a robbery?” Dee said as she watched me through the door, removing the phone from the wall.
“Yes,” Janna said, “where is your purse?”
“Outside – where your friend is...”
“Bring it in please,” Janna called out, smiling under the nylon as I brought it in, took her cell phone out and removed the battery. Placing the phone on the table, I said “now Dee, we are going to rob you. Looking at the time, I think your daughter is going to come home soon, correct?”
Dee slowly nodded as I said “good – when she gets here, you are going to help to keep her calm. You are going to convince her that this is a game you have arranged, and persuade her to play along.”
“That way,” Janna said quietly, “she won’t be as afraid. Now, we need to ask you a question.”
“And that is?”
“Do you have any washing line or other rope in the house? We’re going to use what you and your daughter see here every day, to make sure you cannot raise the alarm.”
Dee looked at me, and then said “the utility room, why?”
“Please,” I said as I took from my pocket a roll of black electrical tape, “slowly stand, and put your hands behind your back. I’m going to tape your wrists together, and then we will go and have a look.”
Dee nodded as I used the black tape to secure her wrists together, and then held her arm as she led the way, while Janna stayed in the front room and closed the curtains over the windows. The utility room was actually the cellar, and she watched as I selected some skeins of cotton line, and then took her arm again.
As we walked back up the stairs, I heard the front door open, and I stopped, my gloved hand over Dee’s mouth as we heard Erica say “I’m home mom – what’s for...”
There was a muffled gasp, as we slowly walked up the stairs, and we went back into the front room to find Erica standing in front of Janna, my wife’s gloved hand over the young girl’s mouth. Erica had her hair in corn rows, and was wearing a white top cut in a similar style to her mother’s, floral print pants and brown leather boots which came up to just below her knee.
“Erica,” Dee said quietly, “these two people... are going to rob us.”
I looked at Janna and Erica as, to my surprise, her eyes widened and she mumbled “Rlleee?”
“Really – I know you’ve always wondered what it was like, and now we’re going to find out. Let’s make a game of it, shall we?”
“Are you all right with this, Erica,” Janna said quietly, and then released her hand as the young girl nodded.
“Wow – a real robbery! Will you tie us up and everything?”
“We will,” I said with a smile, “once we have made a few preparations. Please, sit on the couch, and your mum will sit next to you. Will you go and find a pair of scissors please?”
Janna nodded as she let go of Erica, Dee walking to the long couch and sitting down with her as the young girl hugged her mother.
“This really is exciting,” she said as she looked at me, “I always wondered what it would be like.”
“You’re not afraid of what might happen?”
“You’re not going to hurt us if we do as you say, right?”
“So long as you keep nice and quiet and do as we say, then no,” I said as Janna came back with a pair of kitchen shears. Taking a length of rope from the first skein, I cut it loose and then said “we’re going to start with your hands Erica. Please turn round and put them behind your back, and my friend is going to make sure you cannot move them for a while.”
“Okay,” Erica said, grinning as Janna doubled the rope over and then secured her wrists together behind her back. As she did this, I cut another length off, and went behind her mother, wrapping it around her wrists and tying them firmly together as well.
“See, we’re both the same now,” Dee said as they showed each other their wrists, and I cut the second skein of rope into two.
“We’re now going to make sure your arms stay by your sides,” I said as Janna and I took one of the halves and doubled the rope over. We stood behind the mother and daughter, as Erica told her mom about her day, all the time the two of us forcing their arms against their bodies as the rope went above and below their chests.
As Erica wriggled round, she looked at her mother and said “we really can’t move our arms, now can we?”
“I don’t think so – but these are real robbers, so they may do a little more.”
“Oh – like what?”
I nodded to Janna as we pulled the rope under the arm of each of our captives, pulled it up and took it around the back of their necks, and then under the other arm before we tied it off.
“Now then,” I said as I looked at them, “your mother and I are going to go for a walk round the house, while my friend here looks after you. First, we need to make sure it’s very difficult for you to walk.”
“How do you do that,” Erica said, then she said “oh,” as Janna cut a length of rope off, knelt down and placed her ankles side by side, before she stated to bind them tightly together.
“You’re both very gentle,” Dee said as I walked her up to the next floor of the house.
“Why hurt when, if everyone cooperates, it can be a bit of an adventure,” I said quietly. “Now, tell me where your valuables are please...”
Thirty minutes later, we were in the master bedroom, Dee sitting on the bed as I emptied the last of the jewels into my bag.
“Now,” I said as I looked at her, “we need to make sure neither of you can raise the alarm for a while. We have two choices – I can make sure you stay in this room, and bring Erica up, or we can go downstairs.”
“I’d rather be in here,” Dee said as she looked at me. “But you need the ropes.”
“Indeed,” I said as I went to the door. “My dear friend, would you bring Erica up please, and bring the ropes and scissors with you?”
“Of course,” I heard her reply, and as we heard a thumping sound I went back to Dee.
“Where do you keep scarves?”
“Second drawer in the bureau – why?”
“We need to keep you quiet,” I said as I looked in, and took out a small red silk square. Folding it, I held it in front of Dee and said “I’m going to put this in your mouth, so open wide – if you let me do this right, it won’t slip and you’ll be fine.”
Nodding, Dee allowed me to place the folded cloth in her mouth, as we looked at the door. Erica jumped in, her legs also held together below her knees, Janna standing behind her.
“Allow me a moment,” I said as I went back to the drawer and took out a larger red square out, rolled it into a band and tied a knot in the middle, before easing the knot into Dee’s mouth and tying the band around her head.
“You all right like that Mom,” Erica said, Dee nodding as she said “Clddbwrs.”
“Please sit on the bed, side by side,” I said, Dee moving her legs as Erica jumped round and sat herself next to her mother. She watched as I tied Dee’s ankles tightly together side by side, and then her legs below her knees, while Janna prepared two more scarves to use to keep Erica quiet.
“Open wide,” she said as she held the first scarf in front of Erica, who nodded as she allowed herself to be gagged, while I helped her mother to move down the bed and lie on her side, before I pulled her legs back and secured her ankles to her chest ropes, her boots squeaking as they were moved.
“Yes, you are,” Janna said as she helped Erica to face her mother, and then secured her in the same way.
“Enjoy the rest of your afternoon – we’ll make sure someone is alerted in due course,” I said as we left them on the bed, struggling and trying to talk to each other as we left by the cellar, and went back to the car.
From there, we met with the person in New York who I deal with, and used some of the proceeds to stock on some supplies we were going to need. After another night in the hotel, we started to make our way north – heading first to Connecticut...
Stamford is, of course, a famous town for the Ivy League university, and Steve and I had included it in our itinerary for a number of reasons, including some of the museums and parks on my part, and a couple of business friends for Steve. There was another reason however – one of those places Steve had considered visiting, but never got round to.
The home in question was occupied by a lecturer at the university in American History – in itself, a prestigious place, but Mandy Carmichael was also the daughter of a leading industrialist, and a wealthy woman in her own right. Although she had no children of her own, she did have living with her the twin daughters of her older sister, while she worked abroad. They were eleven years old, with long blonde hair as opposed to their aunt’s brown hair.
When we arrived in the city, we spent a little while re-checking our information and plans, and then we drove in our hire car to the neighbourhood they lived in to the north of the main city. It was a road of typical American houses – but her house was up a little side track, so Steve and I pulled into a cafe car park nearby before we walked back and up the track.
I was wearing a brown roll neck sweater, jeans and trainers, while Steve had on a checked shirt under a denim jacket, jeans and brown shoes. As we walked along, we put on a pair of brown leather gloves each, and looked round before we slowly walked up to the two storey house, our rucksacks on our backs.
We could hear a school bus pull up at the bottom of the lane, so we ran quickly round and hid at the back of the house, looking round as we saw the twins coming up, carrying their backpacks in their hands. One of the girls was wearing a crimson cardigan over a blue and red chintz print dress, a brown leather belt round her waist, dark tights and brown knee length boots. Her long blonde hair was pulled back in a ponytail.
The other girl was wearing a black vest top with a white blouse open over that, and a black satin puffball skirt, with knee length purple leather boots. Her hair was straight, falling over her neck and shoulders, as both girls let themselves into the house.
Looking at each other, we took our usual stocking masks out and pulled them down over our heads, before we made our way to the rear door of the house and let ourselves in. It was an old style colonial kitchen, but with some modern appliances – particularly the refrigerator and dish washer.
We could hear the girls talking in a room to the front of the house, but before we could make our way to them the front door opened and closed.
“Is that you Aunt Mandy?”
“Yes it is Hannah – what are you and Harper doing?”
“Assignments – can we get a drink?”
“I’ll bring one through in a minute,” the voice said as we hid behind the door, and Mandy Carmichael came in, putting her car keys and purse on the table as she did so. She was wearing a grey cowl necked top, black leather effect leggings and knee length black leather boots.
As soon as she turned round, she saw us, putting her hands to her mouth as Steve pointed his starting pistol at her, and I closed the door.
“Please, no screaming or shouting,” I said quietly, “we need to explain what is going to happen now, to make sure your nieces do not panic or hurt themselves.”
“Who are you?”
“Well, as you might be able to guess,” Steve said, smiling under the nylon, “we’re robbers. This means we need to stop you and the girls raising the alarm – but we want to do it in a way which means the girls are kept safe, and nobody feels afraid. Will you sit down and let us explain how we do that?”
As Mandy sat down, I sat next to her and said “we keep the girls calm by you treating this as a game, which you’ve asked us to play with you. Do this, play along with us, and we find the girls should be calmer, and even enjoy it – and you may as well.”
“But you’re going to rob me!”
“Indeed we are,” Steve said as he took a length of white cord from his rucksack, and stood behind Mandy, guiding her hands behind her back and crossing her wrists as he secured them together. Tying the ropes off, he said “now, does that really feel so bad?”
She tried moving her wrists around, and said “I guess not – but you’re going to do more, aren’t you?”
“Yes we are,” I said, “but only when we do it to you will we do it to the girls. I promise, we will not hurt them.”
“It’s time,” Steve then said as he opened the door, “you go first, and explain what is happening.”
I helped Mandy to stand up and we walked into the front room, looking at the two girls as they sat at the table. The one in the chintz dress looked over, and then quietly put her pencil down as she said “what the...”
“Hannah,” she said as I put a glass of milk in front of each of them, “Harper, we’re going to play a game of home invaders while you do your work. I know it doesn’t look like it, but these two,” she said as she looked at us, “are actors, who have agreed to play the part of robbers today. It’ll be just as if they really were robbers, which means we’re going to end up unable to move or talk for a while.”
“But it’s just a game, right?” Harper said as she put the end of her pencil in her mouth.
“That’s right,” I said as I sat at the table with them. “Have a look at your aunt – we started by making sure she can’t move her wrists.”
The two girls turned and looked as Catherine showed them her bound wrists.
“Now, my friend is going to ask your aunt to show him round the house, but before he goes, do you girls have a cell phone?”
Hannah and Harper looked at each other before they each put a phone on the table, watching as I picked it up and put them in my rucksack.
“Don’t worry, you’ll get them back later,” I said, “now, why don’t you both finish your assignments, and then when your aunt gets back, I’ll show you both how we play the game.”
“Finish your work girls,” Catherine said, “and when the game is finished, I’ll order some Chinese, all right?”
“YAY,” the two girls said as they went back to work, and Steve took Catherine’s arm, leading her out of the room.
After a few minutes, Harper said “I’m finished – does that mean I get to play first?”
“Have you finished your drink?”
She nodded as I opened my rucksack, and took out a length of rope. “Feel this,” I said as I handed it to her, “does it scare you?”
She shook her head, Hannah watching as she turned her back to me and put her hands behind her back, while I doubled the rope over and crossed her wrists.
“How does it feel,” Hannah said as I took the rope round and between her arms, pulling gently but firmly as I did so.
“Not bad – it’s tight but I can move my fingers, and it’s not scary at all,” she said as I tied the ropes off.
“Are you finished now Hannah?”
The other girl nodded as she stood up, standing next to her twin sister as I secured her wrists together as well, and then they sat beside each other on a long couch while I went and drew the curtains across the windows.
“Don’t want anyone looking and disturbing the game, do we?”
“Up here? Not at the moment,” Harper said with a giggle as she tried to move round.
“While we’re waiting for your aunt to come back,” I said as I looked at them, “the next thing we need to do is to make sure your ankles are just like your wrists. Is it all right if I do this for both of you before your aunt?”
The two girls looked at each other and nodded, watching carefully as I used more rope to bind their ankles together side by side, the leather of their boots compressing around their legs as I did so.
“You’re a very nice pretend robber,” Hannah said as the rope went round the brown leather.
“Thank you,” I said with a smile as Steve came back in with Catherine.
“Ah – I see you’ve already secured their ankles,” he said as Catherine sat between them, “so I’ll take care of your aunt now, all right?”
“Are you girls having fun,” Catherine said as Steve lashed her ankles together, the girls giggling and nodding as they heard the squeak of her boots as they rubbed against each other.
“That sounds funny,” Harper said with a laugh as Steve took another length of rope, and tied their aunt’s legs together below their knees.
“Will we get that as well,” Hannah said, watching as I repeated the process on both of them.
“Now,” Steve said “I also need to make it more difficult for your aunt to move her arms. Watch what I do.” The two girls watched as he walked behind Catherine and passed a long length of rope around her arms and body, pulling it so that her arms were forced into her sides and taking it above and below her chest several times. He then passed it under one arm, around the back of her neck, and under the other arm.
“So,” I said as the girls looked at her, “I can either do the same to you, or I could have you both sit back to back and tie you together that way. Which would you prefer?”
The two girls looked at each other, and then said in unison “like Aunty!” And so it was a few minutes later, I tied off the ropes around Hannah’s arms and body, and started to repeat the process on Harper as her twin sister wriggled round, the ropes forcing her cardigan to her sides.
“So what happens next,” Catherine said as she wriggled round.
“We’re going to leave you all alone in a few minutes, just like real robbers,” Steve said as I finished binding Harper, “but before we do that, we need to make sure you all stay quiet. You can either stay as you are, or start to try to escape, your choice.”
“I’m not sure we can escape,” Hannah said as she looked at us.
“Well, help will arrive soon enough,” I said as I looked at her. “To keep you quiet, we’re going to put something into your mouths, and then use some special tape that makes it difficult for you to open your lips. Is that a problem?”
She shook her head as I took from my bag two sponge balls, squeezing them as I said “Open wide – these will expand in your mouth, and it may feel funny for a while, but it will soon be fine.”
As I pushed the balls into the girl’s mouth, Steve pushed a folded scarf into Catherine’s, and then tore a length of white micropore tape free from the roll, smoothing it down firmly over her lips and cheeks.
“Ssssecntntllknw,” she said, the girls nodding as Steve passed me the tape and I covered their mouths as well. They nodded and tried to speak, the tape moving over their lips as I left the room with my husband. He picked up his rucksack, and I could hear the sound as we made our way out of the house, and back to the car.
We watched the local news late that night to see the report of the robbery, and hear ourselves described as “nice robbers.” The next day however, we were on the road again, heading north – to a place Steve told me would need both of us to handle...
As I looked at the farmhouse, I turned to Janna and said “you can see why I always wanted to visit here, but never could, right?”
Janna nodded as she looked at her tablet. The farmhouse was the home of Ashley and Olivia Drummond. Ashley was twelve, and attended the local high school, while her mother was the station manager for a local affiliate.
“I can see in terms of location and so on,” Janna said quietly, “but you’ve managed that before.”
“True – but it’s the after school routine. Ashley always comes back with two friends, before her mother goes to work, and then the mothers of the other two girls come and collect them. For us to have time to properly search the place, we need to keep them all playing.”
“So what’s the game plan,” Janna said as she looked at me. At my request, she was wearing a light blue jacket and knee length skirt, with a white blouse, dark hose and heels, while I had on a blue suit, white shirt and blue tie, with polished shoes.
“Olivia Drummond is home at the moment,” I said as I looked at the Cadillac outside the house, “so we make sure she’s going to play along. When the girls get home, we secure them, and keep them together, then deal with the other two mothers as they arrive.”
“Fair plan – how long do we have before the girls get back?”
“Assuming no traffic problems, about an hour,” I said with a smile. “Shall we?”
“Why not,” Janna said as I started the car and we drove to the front of the building. We both put on a pair of dark glasses, smiled as we looked at each other, and then we got out, looking round as Janna carried her purse, and I the tablet.
Ringing the doorbell, we waited as the door was opened and Olivia Drummond stood there. Her chestnut brown hair fell onto the shoulders of her pinafore dress, the top made of black leather, the skirt black tartan with a solid grey side on the left. Under the dress, she was wearing a long sleeved black silk blouse, with a faux belt round her waist, and knee length black suede boots.
“Yes,” she said as she looked at us, “can I help you?”
“Mrs Olivia Drummond,” I said as Janna opened her purse.
“It’s Ms Drummond, but yes. Is there something I can help you with?”
“Yes there is,” Janna said as she produced a gun and pointed it at her, “please, walk slowly back in, hands where we can see them.”
I smiled as she slowly backed in, and I followed, Janna closing the door behind us. “Now,” I said quietly, “let me explain what’s going to happen. You are going to do what we say, but most importantly of all, when your daughter and her friends get home, you’re going to help us to make sure they play a little game. Understand?”
“Oh god,” she whispered, “no...”
“Not that sort of game,” Janna said, “A game of robbers. Now, first, we want you to open the garage, so do that now please.”
“The... The control is in the kitchen?”
“Then that is where we’ll go,” Janna said as we walked through the very well furnished house, and into the large kitchen. As Olivia pressed a button, I looked out of a door into the empty garage and saw the front panel move up.
“Can you explain to Olivia what she will do while I bring the car in,” I said as I looked at Janna, my wife nodding as I slipped out and got back into the car.
When I went back into the kitchen, Janna was binding Olivia’s wrists together behind her back, as the woman said “You want me to tell them this is a game of some sort?”
“That’s right – and you’ll all be playing,” I said quietly. “So, I suggest we repair to the front room, and we will make you ready...”
“Right on time,” Janna said as she looked out of the front window, and a school bus deposited three girls outside, carrying their books in their arms as they walked up. I walked over and joined her, recognising Ashley Drummond in her white half buttoned top, short blue tartan skirt, white leggings and silver slippers. The other two girls were dressed in a similar style – one had a grey top with a white trim, a black tartan skirt, black leggings and white sandshoes with black hair, the other a pink top with a white underneath, a purple tartan skirt, long blue socks and black shoes.
I walked behind Olivia and stood with my hand on her shoulders as the front door opened and closed.
“Mom? Are you still here?”
“I am Ashley, can you and your friends come into the front room please?”
“Sure Mom, what’s...”
The three girls stopped as they saw Olivia sitting in the chair, her hands behind her back as she looked back at them. Bands of rope held her waist to the chair back, while her chest was framed with two bands that went around her arms and the back support, her hands actually taken between the spars of the chair back, where her wrists were secured together and tied to the chair back.
Her ankles, and her legs below her knees, were also lashed together with rope, going around and between her limbs, and her ankles tied back to the central support under the chair. “Girls,” she said quietly, “we’re going to play a game of Nancy Drew with these people – I hired them to play the part of spies, who are trying to steal something from Nancy’s aunt.”
They looked round to see Janna behind them, three lengths of rope in her hand as she said “I know you are Ashley – what are the other girls called?”
“This is a game, right Mom?”
“That’s right,” Olivia said with a smile, before her daughter looked at the other two.
“Oh go on – it’ll be fun,” the blonde said, as I realised they were all called Ashley.
“Good – put your hands behind your backs, girls,” Janna said, Olivia watching as one by one she used the cords to bind their wrists together behind their backs. “We’re going to need somewhere to keep these little snoops out of the way,” she then says as she looks at me.
“I’m sure you’ll find something – but make sure they can’t escape first.”
“You two are good,” Olivia’s daughter said as Janna wrapped some rope round her arms and body, taking it tightly above and below her chest and then tying it off at the back, before she repeated the process with the other two.
“We really can’t move our arms now,” dark haired Ashley said as Janna tied the ropes off.
“What now, partner?”
“We need to keep these little ladies where we can see them, and keep them quiet – do that first.”
“You’re going to gag us?”
“It’s all part of the game – I’ll be the same in a little while,” Olivia said as one by one Janna pushed a sponge ball into the mouths of the girls, and then pressed a long strip of white tape over their lips and cheeks.
“Whthppnnnnssnnwnw,” Ashley said as she and the other two wriggled round, giggling at the way the ropes moved.
“Olivia – are you there?”
I put my hand over Olivia’s mouth as Janna stood by the girls, all of us watching as another woman walked in. She had her red-brown hair pulled back in a short ponytail, and was wearing a grey blouse with the sleeves rolled up, crimson corduroy pants and knee length brown boots.
“Are the girls...”
“Hlllmmm,” the brunette Ashley said as she stared at them, “wrrpllnnnssdee.”
“What’s going on?”
“Ltmmskpls,” Olivia said, and as I took my hand away she said “Karen, this is all a big game. These two are pretending to be spies, and the girls are Nancy Drew and her friends. Please, join in.”
Karen looked at me and Janna, and slowly nodded as she said “game. Right.” Raising her hands, she said “so what happens now?”
“Make sure the three girls stay over there,” I said as I indicated the couch, so Janna led them over and sat them side by side, taking some ropes and starting to bind their ankles.
“As for you Karen,” I said quietly, “come and stand in front of Olivia, and put your hands behind your back.”
“A game,” Karen said as I doubled over a length of rope and tied her wrists tightly together. Olivia shook her head, Karen nodding as I started to bind her arms to her sides as well.
“Play along,” I whispered into her ear as I pulled the ropes tighter, “for the sake of the girls.” She looked over to where the three Ashleys were sitting, their legs stretched out as Janna bound them below their knees, and nodded as I pulled her ropes tight.
“You’ll never get away with this,” Karen said as I walked her over to a recliner, and sat her on it, taking more rope and securing her ankles and legs together before I made her lie on her side.
“We’ll see – open wide.”
She watched as I pushed a sponge ball into her mouth, and then covered her lips with white tape, before I went back to Olivia and gagged her in the same way. By now, Janna had tied the ankles of all three girls to the base of the coffee table, as they twisted round and tried to get free.
“Go and look for the secrets – I’ll keep an eye on this lot,” I said, Janna nodding as she went up the staircase to look for valuables.
“Ruugrrlsllrrtt,” Olivia said as she looked over, the three Ashleys nodding as Karen wriggled round on the recliner. I then heard a car coming up the driveway, and looked out, saying “time for your mother to play” as I looked at the blonde haired one, and then stood by the door.
“Girls? Where are you?”
The woman who came in had short dark brown hair, and wore a green sleeveless jerkin over a crimson cowl necked long sleeved top. Her tight white jeans were tucked into knee length brown leather boots with the zip on the outside, and a brown leather belt was round her waist.
“Girls are you whhtthhmmmmm...”
The others watched as I put my hand over her mouth, and said “nobody move” as I backed out of the room, hearing the girls laugh as I go out of sight.
“Listen very carefully,” I whispered, “this is a real robbery, but your daughter and the other two girls think this is a game of girl detectives. Unless you want them to have a panic attack, which may mean them harming yourselves, you will play along. Understand?”
“Eeendrstnd,” she mumbled under my hand as I said “good – I’m going to take you back in, and you do as I say, understand?”
She nodded again, as we walked in and I took my hand away. “Just your bad luck you walked in on us,” I said as I took another length of cord, “what’s your name?”
“Lorraine,” she said quietly, as I crossed her wrists behind her back and started to bind them together.
“Just do as I say Lorraine – this won’t hurt,” I say as I bind her wrists, and then her upper body, before I make her sit on the floor, crossing her ankles and tying them together, and finally securing her legs below her knees.
“Whtssggnnhppnnn,” Ashley said in the middle of the row of three.
“Gotta make sure your mothers cannot get away,” I said as I made Lorraine lie on her stomach, and then pulled her ankles back, securing them to her chest ropes with one last length. I made Karen do the same thing on the recliner, before I checked the ropes and gags on the other four, and then gagged Lorraine in the same way, the sponge in her mouth and the tape over her lips.
“Did you find them,” I said as Janna came back in.
“I did – we can leave them now. Can they raise the alarm?”
“I don’t think so,” I said – and given I had also removed the cell phone batteries, I figured that was literally as well as metaphorically true. The six captives wriggled round as I made sure the knots were tight, and then said “Let’s go –miss Drew and her friends won’t bother us again.”
“Wllllgttuuytt,” Ashley called out, the other Ashleys joining in.
“Maybe,” Janna said with a smile as we left the house, putting our gains into the car and driving off, leaving the garage door open as we did so. It would take them an hour or two before one of them got free – by which time, we would have changed cars and moved towards Philadelphia...
We were staying for a few days on the outskirts of the City of Brotherly Love – Steve had worked here a few times, and he liked the hotel we were staying in. It was in a small town, but with a very large shopping mall nearby to keep me happy as well.
When we had been there a few days, he told me about another place he had meant to visit, but never quite got round to. It was a house a little way outside the town, where the family of a banker in the city centre itself lived. We watched him one day from our hotel window as he drew into the station car park, and then boarded a train.
The man himself had two daughters, a seventeen year old and a twelve year old, who lived on the farm. Given the school year was back underway, Steve felt timing the visit for their return when the mother was home would be a good idea – given our modus operandi, I could understand why.
But we got delayed, so on the Saturday we saw him pull up into the station car park and get into the train heading to Philadelphia. Looking at each other, we quickly got changed, and then drove off in our hire car.
When we pulled up outside the house, we could see the older daughter doing some work in the garage. Her name was Sunny, and she was wearing a red jumper over a blue blouse, three brass buttons holding it closed at the front to the left side, gray jeans and knee length brown leather boots. She was moving boxes around, the door open to the outside.
We looked at each other, as we pulled our leather gloves on and then pulled the stocking masks over our heads. We looked through the tinted windows, making sure nobody was watching before we opened the car doors and walked quickly up to the garage. We were dressed in black – me in high boots over my legs, Steve in soft trainers.
As we walked in, Sunny turned and looked at both of us, mouthing “oh my god” before Steve grabbed her, turning her to face me as he put his gloved hand over her mouth.
“Hello Sunny,” I said with a smile, “now, we need you to be nice and calm and quiet, understand?”
She nodded slowly as I said “are your mother and sister at home?”
I nodded to Steve, who removed his hand as Sunny said “Mom isn’t but Mandy is. Is this... Is this a robbery?”
“It is,” I said quietly, “but we don’t want to cause you to be any more afraid, and in particular for Mandy to be afraid, so you need to pretend that this is all a big game your parents have planned. Where is your mother?”
“She got called down to a meeting,” Sunny said quietly, “she should be back in an hour or so.”
“Well then, I suggest you tell Mandy, when we go in, that this is a game, and your mom told you about it, but kept it as a surprise for her. Make it convincing, and I promise you will stay with her all the way through this.”
Sunny looked at me, and then nodded slowly as Steve said “Good – now, very slowly, move your hands behind your back.”
“What are you going to do to us,” she said as I watched Steve take some cord from his jacket pocket, and start to bind her wrists together behind her back.
“We need both of you to be playing before your mom gets home,” I said in reply, “so we’ll start with you, and then do and join your sister. Remember – this is all a game, right?”
“I understand,” she said quietly as Steve tied the ropes off, and then he took a longer length from his rucksack, and wound it round Sunny’s arms and body. I watched as the bands of rope tightened eat jumper over her chest, sitting above and below, before Steve secured the ropes behind her.
“Now, we go in, and you tell Mandy to play the part.”
“Will you let me tell her my way?”
I looked at Steve, and then nodded as we made our way back into the house, Steve closing the door behind us as we made our way along the corridor and towards the front room. I could hear music playing, and as we looked in we saw Mandy standing on front of the television, playing a very mean air guitar.
While sunny had long reddish brown hair, Mandy’s hair was a darker brown, but just as long. She was wearing a blue v-necked t-shirt and blue jeans, with a length of purple cloth acting like a belt. The legs of her jeans were tucked into knee length black patent leather boots, and she was having the time of her life.
The twelve year old wheeled round, and saw us with her sister, staring as she said “What’s...”
“It’s a surprise game Mom arranged,” Sunny said, “in which the tween pop star gets kidnapped with her minder, and they’re both held for ransom. I’m afraid they got me first – now it’s your turn.”
“I’m the tween pop star?”
Sunny nodded as we all saw Mandy grin from ear to ear. “GREAT! So what’s going to happen?”
“Well, my friend and I are going to be the kidnappers,” I said, “so we need to tie you both up, gag you so you can’t call for help, and then hide you both away until the ransom is paid. So I want you to put your hands behind your back, and I’ll make sure you are just as tightly held as your minder here.”
Mandy nodded as I took off my rucksack and walked behind her, pulling some cord out and doubling it over before I used it to secure her wrists tightly together. As I did so, I saw Steve cinch the bands of rope between Sunny’s arms and body, making her grunt slightly.
“Will you do that to me as well?”
I nodded as I started to bind her arms to her side, taking the rope above and below her chest several times before I pulled the bands tight and tied them off, then cinched them with two shorter lengths.
“Now it’s time to be quiet,” I say with a smile as I watch Mandy twist round. From my bag, I took out a red bandana, rolling it into a band and tying a knot in the middle of it, before I said “open wide.”
“Whthhpnnsnxt,” Mandy mumbled as I pulled the knot between her teeth, Steve taking care of her sister in the same way.
“We blindfold you,” I said as we put a sleep mask over their eyes, “and then you come with us.”
We walked the two girls out of the front room, up the staircase and into what was obviously Sunny’s room, given the books and posters. She had a large double bed, but as we helped them to sit down we heard a voice say “girls, where are you?”
“Make sure they both stay here,” Steve said as he left the room.
“I am sure she will be playing as well,” I said as I took some more cord, and crossed Mandy’s ankles, using it to secure them together, before I tied her legs together below her knees. As she swung her legs to and fro, I could hear Steve and someone else outside, but my next task was to secure Sunny’s legs together as well.
So I crossed and bound her ankles, and then tied her legs together, before I said “now we need to make sure you can’t get out of the room. I’m going to remove the sleep masks, and once you see where you are, I want you to lie side by side on your stomachs. All right?”
Both girls nodded as I took the blindfolds off, then they looked at each other before they managed to get into position. Mandy grunted a little as I pulled her ankles back, and tied them to her chest ropes with a final length, but she soon settled as she watched Sunny get the same treatment.
I then stayed with them, standing guard until Steve looked in the door. “The ransom’s been paid – we need to get out of here,” he said, the girls watching as I left. I looked in the bedroom next door to see their mother, as tightly hogtied, looking at us over the tape that was wrapped round her head, before we beat a retreat.
From there, we went back to the hotel, returned the rental car, and checked out – we had one more stop to make on this trip...
Janna was slightly wrong – she wasn’t aware of a surprise I wanted to give her, in the town of Manchester in Connecticut. I had been reading in a magazine of the home of Katrina O’Donnell, an authoress who lived on the outskirts of the town with her two daughters. The look of the house, and some of the items inside, interested me, so when I made the suggestion to Janna, she agreed – and also agreed we once more needed to be a little more smart than usual.
Not that Janna minded dressing up, but outside of my professional life? Anyway – it was the Sunday afternoon when we pulled up outside their colonial style house. Janna was wearing a blue blazer over a black jersey dress, knee length boots, gloves and dark glasses, while I had on a dark suit, black tie and a white shirt, with my highly polished shoes.
I also had black gloves on, as I held a document case and Janna looked in her shoulder bag, and we walked up to the front door. We looked at each other, as I knocked on the door.
It was opened by a seven year old girl, wearing a white sleeveless dress with a three tiered skirt, black shoes and white ankle socks. She also had a wide blue ribbon tied in a bow in her red hair, as she smiled and said “hello – can I help you?”
“I hope so,” I said as I smiled, “is your mother home?”
A few moments later, Katrina came to the door. Her dark hair was pulled back, and she was wearing a sleeveless white dress with thin black stripes. The collar was low, and ruffed, and there was a belt in the same pattern tied round her waist, the bow at the front. The skirt of her dress came to just above her knees, and she was wearing a pair of black wedge sandals, held by thin black straps over her foot.
“Can I help you?”
“Mrs O’Donnell? My name is Jake Black, and this is my assistant Alice. We’ve been asked by your publisher to come and discuss a new story proposal with you?”
“Really? They didn’t call to say you were coming...”
“Typical - I can only apologise, but this is important, and it will only take a little while.”
She looked at the little girl, and said “Neve, will you go and play with Shelagh for a little while? Come away in.”
“Thank you,” I said as we followed her into the house. We watched Neve as she went into the front room, and we could see there a ten year old girl, with a pink ribbon tied in a bow in her brown hair.
“My study is this way,” Katrina said as she indicated the end of the hallway, and we walked into a room with bookshelves lining one wall.
“Now then,” she said as she sat in a seat, and we sat in a couch opposite her, “what is this storyline my publisher wishes to suggest.”
“Tell me,” I said as I sat forward, “have you heard of a pair of English criminals known as the Games Players?”
“Yes,” Katrina said, “they rob people, usually by getting them to convince their families they are playing a game, and that keeps them out of the way as they do so.”
“Exactly,” Janna said, “well, our boss wondered if you would consider doing a book based on the same sort of premise – there are a series of robberies in the area, and the local police chief is convinced it is someone who has targeted them through the children in her daughter’s class. The kids are always taken first, and then the parents made to give all they have while pretending it’s a game.”
Katrina looked at both of us, and nodded slowly. “I can see why that might be of interest, if done right, but I’d need to do research. I have a trip planned in the next few weeks – I can talk to some of the families over there then, see what I can come up with.”
“Actually,” Janna said, “it may be possible for you to do some research before you visit the UK.”
“And how would...” Katrina stopped as Janna reached into her handbag, and took out a pistol, pointing it straight at her.
“Often, the best research is personal experience, Katrina,” I said as I sat forward, “so I am going to ask you to tell Neve and Shelagh that you have agreed to do this new book, but you need their help to act out the opening scenario. Tell them it’s just a game, and then at the end, you’re going to give them a big treat. So you understand?”
“Please, don’t hurt them...”
“Just do what we ask you,” Janna said with a smile, “and you will be just fine – and they will have a story to tell their friends tomorrow. So, let’s go and talk to them.”
Katrina nodded slowly as we stood up, me walking alongside her as Janna walked behind, and went into the front room. As the girls turned to look at us, I saw that Shelagh was wearing a blue sleeveless dress, the skirt turned up slightly above her knees and a pink patch at the collar, and a pair of brown trainers without the laces. She also had a bandage around her left leg below her knee.
“She cut herself at school,” Katrina said, “girls, sit down with me for a moment. I’m going to need your help with something.”
As she explained what was going to happen, and asked the girls to play along, Janna put the gun back into her handbag and took out a large roll of white medical tape.
“So we’re going to be like the families – and they will pretend to rob us?”
“That’s right Neve – so don’t be afraid,” Katrina said as she brushed her daughter’s hair from her head.
“So how do we start,” Shelagh asked.
“Well,” Janna said as she came round, “I need you both to stand up, and out your hands together in front of your tummies.” As the girls did this, I watched as she taped Neve’s wrists together, and then wrapped the tape round her waist so that her hands were held against her body at the front.
She then did the same to Shelagh, both girls giggling as they twisted round, while I took the tape from Janna. “The two strangers are making sure you can’t move your hands,” Katrina said, “and then they do the same to me. But with the mummy, they take her hands behind her, all right?”
I was glad she understood, as I crossed her wrists behind her back and taped them together, then took the tape round her waist as well to keep them firmly against her back.
“We’re all the same now Mummy.”
“That’s right Neve,” Katina said, “so what do you think happens next in the story?”
The two girls looked at me, as I said “well, the two people then have to make sure you can’t move your arms from your body. Ready?” They both nodded as I taped their arms to their stomachs, and their upper arms to their sides, before Janna taped their mother’s arms to her sides.
“The strangers then take the family upstairs,” I said, “and the girls get to stay in one of their rooms, with the woman, while their mum takes the man round the house. But when he’s finished, they all come together. So, whose room shall we use?”
“Mine,” Shelagh said, so we all walked up the stairs and into her bedroom. Once we went in, the two girls sat on her bed, watching as I taped their ankles together, and then their legs below and above their knees. I took care not to cover Shelagh’s bandage, as their mother watched.
“So when Mom goes, your friend stays,” Neve said as she looked at Janna.
“That’s right,” Janna said, “but we need to make sure you play along, and keep quiet. So we’re going to put some of the tape over your mouths as well, just like on the television. So put your lips together, and both of you give me a great big smile.”
The two girls nodded and grinned as Janna smoothed the tape down over their mouths, and then helped them to lie down, slipping their shoes off to make them more comfortable.
“You’ll see your mom in a little while,” I said as I took Katrina out, and whispered “well done – now, you valuables if you please, and then I make you comfortable.” I showed her the roll of white tape, smiling as she nodded and said “this way...”
“HLllltthhhrr,” Neve said as I came back into the room.
“Let’s take you through to see your mom, shall we,” I said as I picked up Shelagh, and Janna lifted Neve in her arms. We carried them through to the master bedroom, as Katrina looked up and said “hlllgrls” through the white tape over her mouth – and the scarf that sat under the tape in her mouth. She also had her ankles, thighs and calves taped tightly together, turning and gag kissing each of the girls on their forehead as we put them down by her sides.
“Now you get to play the family who have to try to escape,” I said with a smile, “but someone is coming to end the game if you take too long. Don’t worry – just relax and enjoy the game, and remember your mom will give you a great big treat when it’s over, right mom?”
Katrina nodded as Janna and I took our leave – we only had a couple of days of our honeymoon left, and we were headed back to Boston for that...
We were due to fly back to the UK in two days time, but Steve had one more visit planned, on the outskirts of Boston. This was the family of a banner in the city he had been considering before, but for a number of reasons the opportunity had just never arisen.
Darren Beale was in his early forties, and his wife Anika was thirty nine. They had twin eleven year old daughters, called Annie and Laura, and loved in a single storey house. Steve had a fairly complete profile on them, and – well, it seemed to me like the perfect way to end our honeymoon.
Which is why we ended up, just as the sun was setting, outside the house. We knew Darren didn’t tend to leave for home until seven anyway, and he drove, so we had a good two hours to make a visit. As we sat in the car, we checked our bags – following a visit to a hardware store in another town – and then left the car, walking up to the front door. We were both dressed in black, and took a moment to pull the stockings down over our heads before Steve worked on the lock, and we walked in.
As I closed the door, I could hear the sound of the two girls talking in the front room, and I looked at Steve, wondering if he wanted to talk to the girls first. As I did, I could hear the sound of a television in the kitchen, and then a fan going, so he shook his head and we made our way down the hallway.
It was a large kitchen, and as we looked in we saw Anika standing at the sink. She was wearing a white jumper over a black, grey and white checked shirt, white jeans and mid-calf purple wellington boots. Her long blonde hair was cut to neck length, and she had no idea we were standing there – until she put a pan of water onto the hob, turned around and saw us.
“Hello,” I said quietly as Steve took a gun from his jacket, “not a word if you please. We need to talk to you.”
“Oh god, I’ve heard of you two – why us?”
“Must be a few people looking for us,” I said with a smile, “but if you have heard of us, you know we’re not going to harm you or your daughters, so long as you do what we ask you to do. Now, are you cooking them their tea?”
She looked at us, with the stockings over our heads, and slowly nodded.
“Good – well, we need you to tell them this is a game, and I’ve got a suggestion as to how you can do that...”
A few minutes later, I walked down the hallway, and looked in the front room. The twins were in there, one of them wearing a cream cardigan over a red t-shirt that has “Glitter makes me Happy” written on the front in gold, blue jeans and brown knee length leather boots. The other girl was wearing a blue cardigan with a coloured zig zag pattern near the top and sleeves, over a pink t-shirt with “Super Star” written on it, blue checked trousers and white trainers.
“Hello,” I said as I came in, “your mom asked me to come and tell you what’s happening. Now which of you is Annie?”
The girl in the cream cardigan raised her hand, as I looked at the other girl and said “so you must be Laura. Well...”
“You’re one of those robbers – the one who plays games with the girls?”
“Well, I’m pretending to be one of them, because your mom and pop want you to be able to cope if they ever do really come. So we’re pretending to hold you and your mom hostage, and to steal her things. My friend is talking to your mom now, and we’re going to join her in a minute, but after that we’re going to make sure all three of you are unable to move or speak for a little while. As it is, we’re going to start playing the game while you have your tea.”
“What are you going to do,” Annie asked.
“Make sure you can’t get off the chairs. So, if you’re ready, let’s go through to the kitchen. Coming?”
“Okay,” the girls said as they walked through, to see Stephen helping Anika to serve the meal.
“Annie, Laura,” she said as she looked over, “we need to do what the two guests say, so I want you to it in your chairs, right against the back, and then out your hands on your head, all right?”
“Yes, Mom,” they both said as they sat down, while I took two lengths of rope from my bag, and then tied them round their waists to the chair back, before I pushed the chairs in. Anika then put their plates of food in front of them, before sitting herself down. As Steve tied her waist to the chair back, I gave the two girls a drink of squash each, and then put Anika’s food in front of her.
“Eat up girls," their mother said, “all that’s different is we are tied to the chair for now.”
Steve and I sat and watched as they ate, the girls telling their mother about school, before Steve slipped out to take care of the telephones and the internet.
“Would you mind getting the desserts from the fridge,” Anika eventually said.
“Of course not,” I said as I opened the dishwasher, put their dishes in, and then took out the three desserts and put one in front of each of them. I sat back down and watched as they ate, before Annie said “Can I go to the toilet please?”
“Of course you can,” I said as Steve came back in, “I’m going to untie you, and then you can go, but before you come back I’ll need you to do something for me, all right?”
“Do as she says, Annie,” Anika said, the girl nodding as I untied her and then took her to the bedroom. When she came out, I said “can we go to your room first Annie – I want you to take something from your drawers for me.”
“Three pairs of white sports socks.”
“Please,” I said as we walked to her room. As she took the pairs out, I said “can you take your cardigan off, then put one pair of socks over your hands, and leave the other two on the side for me?”
“Is this where you start to tie me up?”
“Yes it is – as part of the game,” I say, waiting as she pulled the socks over her hands before I crossed her wrists behind her back and used a length of rope to bind them tightly together, then took the rope around her waist.
“There now,” I said as she tried to move her wrists, “let’s go back to the kitchen, and then I can see if Louise needs the toilet.”
We walked back into the kitchen, Louise watching as Annie sat herself back on the chair.
“Are you all right, Annie,” Anika said quietly.
“I’m fine mom,” her daughter said as I untied the rope from Louise’s waist. As we left the room, I heard Steve say “if you can sit still Annie, I can make sure your arms stay fixed to your sides...”
When I brought Louise back, without her cardigan and with her sock covered wrists secured, Annie had rope wrapped around her body, above and below her chest, as she watched Steve double over another length of rope. As he began to bind her twins’ arms, Annie said “it doesn’t hurt Louise – it just feels really funny.”
“Your turn,” I said as I handed Anika the remaining pair of socks, “put them over your hands, then lean forward and put your hands behind your back.”
I waited as she pulled the socks over her hands, and then moved them behind her, before I crossed her wrists and bound them tightly together, and then released her waist from the chair, using that rope around her waist to lock them against her back. Steve tied off the rope around Louise’s arms, and then passed me a long length.
“You’ll be just like us in a minute Mom,” Annie said as I wrapped the rope above and below her chest, and then tied it off behind her back as well.
“Now then,” Steve said with a smile, “let’s all go into the front room, and you can watch some television while I take your mom for a walk round the house.”
I helped the girls to stand up and we walked into the front room, allowing them both to sit on the couch before I took more ropes from my bag, and tied Annie’s ankles tightly together, the rope rubbing on the brown leather. Louise watched as I took the rope around and between her ankles, and then secured the ends, before I repeated the process below her knees.
Doing the same to her twin sister as Annie watched, Steve said “shall we,” as he and Anika left the room.
“Now, what would you girls like to watch?”
“Can you put Guardians of the Galaxy on?”
“Of course – but first, you both need to be kept nice and quiet. Can you both open your mouths for me?”
“Will it hurt?”
“No – have I hurt you at all so far?”
They both shook their heads, as I took two black scarves from my bag and folded them into pads, which soon were sitting in their mouths. They smiled as I stuck the wide strips of white micropore tape over their mouths, and then turned on the player.
A while later, Steve brought Anika back, also now with a wide strip of white tape covering her mouth. We helped the girls to sit on the floor while Anika sat down, watching as Steve secured her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees, before he helped her to lie down on her side.
“Now, enjoy the film,” I said as I kissed both girls on the cheek. “A very special person is going to come and tell you when the game is over, all right?”
They both nodded, Anika watching as I walked out with Steve. I heard the chink as he picked his bag up, and then we quickly left.
We had to be at the airport hotel that night, and head home the next day...