Mother and Daughter Moments 35

 

 

 

 

 

Snow was on the ground, and the sky had that peculiar grey look as I sat in my car, looking at the house Stephen had told me about.  The Barker family lived there – Simon, his wife Charlotte, and their eleven year old daughter Astrid.  I also knew, form my visits the last couple of days, that Charlotte’s sister Lisa was also staying with them, and that Simon was at his office for the day.

 

And why were they of interest?  Well, Charlotte was an award winning writer, and the picture of the family at a gala revealed some possible gains…  Anyway, I looked at the lights on in the front room, and got out of the car, zipping up my bomber jacket as I walked to the front door.

 

Putting on my gloves, and pulling the stocking down over my head, I was pleasantly surprised to see the door was unlocked, so I let myself in.  Some snow fell from my brown boots, but I let it lie there as I listened – and heard nothing.  Literally, the lights were on, and it seemed that nobody was home.

 

Walking to the back of the house, however, I heard some noise, and going into the kitchen I looked discretely out into the back garden – to see Charlotte, Astrid and Lisa building a snowman.  Charlotte had a large fawn coloured hat with a purple band on her head, and was wearing a fawn coloured jumper, black leggings and brown cowboy style boots, a black and white wool scarf wrapped loosely round her neck.  Astrid also had a wool scarf round her neck – this one white – and had on a grey jacket over a blue top, a grey tiered chiffon skirt, black tights and grey boots.  Her aunt had a long black coat on over a red jumper, black jeans and high fabric boots in black as well, a white hat on her head.

 

Well, I started to have an idea as to how this game would go, and as Astrid turned and started to come in I stepped back into the hallway, then into the main room as she went up the stairs to the toilet.  When she came back down, I started by grabbing her from behind, putting a gloved hand over her mouth as I took her into the front room.

 

“It’s all right,” I said quietly as she struggled, “I’m a friend of your parents, and they asked me to come and play a game of robbers with you, your mum and your aunt.  If I take my hand away, will you let me explain?”

 

Astrid nodded as I took my hand away, and she turned, looking at me as she said “a game of robbers?”

 

“That’s right – but to play it, I have to pretend I really am a robber, so will you start the game, and then your mum and aunt can join in?”

 

As she nodded, I said “good – so I need to first make sure you can’t tell them what’s happening, like a real robber would.”  I gave her a length of rope to hold, and said “sit down on the couch – I’ll tie your ankles first, so you can see it won’t hurt?”

 

“Okay,” she said with a smile as she sat down, and I used a second length of cord to tie her booted ankles together, as she held the rope.  “I like your outfit - you look like a lady robber.”

 

“Thank you,” I said with a smile as I took the rope between her legs and tied it off.  “Now, I do the same to your legs below your knees, all right?”

 

She nodded as I secured her legs as well, before standing up and taking the rope from her hands.  “Now, I need you to shuffle forward a little, lean forward and put your hands behind your back,” I said with a smile, Astrid doing that and raising her legs to look at the ropes while I tied her wrists together behind her back.

 

As she tried to move them, I said “now I need to tie some rope round your arms – it’s like having a big hug, but a real burglar does it to make it more difficult to escape.”  Astrid nodded as I tied the rope round her arms and stomach, and then she said “do you have to keep me quiet as well?”

 

“I do – and a real burglar uses what they can,” I said as I removed her scarf, “so open wide please.”

 

Thsstsfhnnnee,” she mumbled as I pulled the scarf between her lips, wrapping it round twice and tying the ends off as it sat over her brown hair. 

 

“IT will soon be fine – now, stay there while I get your mum and aunt to play.”

 

Astrid nodded as I left her wriggling round, and heard Charlotte say “where is she?”

 

“Probably in her room,” Louise said as she came out – and then walked back in as I followed, pointing my starting pistol at her.

 

“Your daughter is playing a game of Robbers,” I said as Charlotte looked at me, “and you need to pretend it’s a game as well, while I really do rob you.”

 

“Oh god – you’re the Games Player?”

 

Louise looked at me as I nodded and said “that’s right – so make it clear you’re playing along when we go in.”  I had some rope in my hand, as I said “take your coat off” to Louise.  As she did this, I walked behind Charlotte, took her hands behind her back, and bound them tightly together with the rope.  I then secured Louise’s wrists in the same way, as Charlotte said “so what are you going to do?”

 

“Take you through to join Astrid, make sure you can’t raise the alarm, and then take your valuables,” I said with a smile as I took the first of two long lengths of rope, and tied it round her body, pulling her arms into her sides as I took it above and below her chest.  “I’ll leave the television on, but you must make it a game for her.”

 

“All right,” Charlotte nodded as I tied the ropes off, and then did the same to her sister, before I said “do you have another woollen scarf?”

 

“Why?”

 

 

 

Theeuhhrrr,” Astrid said as the door opened, and I walked her mother and aunt in.  Charlotte had her black and white scarf tied between her teeth as well, while Louise had a red scarf pulled between her lips.  Safhnnghm!”

 

Yshhtthss,” her mother said as I sat her next to Astrid, then Louise sat in an armchair, the little girl watching as I tied their ankles and their legs together.  “Now then,” I said with a smile, “the bad robber is going to have a look round.  Stay right there.”

 

Whwhlll,” Charlotte said as I went on a search.  When I came back, Astrid was lying with her head on her mother’s lap, smiling over the dark damp patch in her mouth as I checked their ropes.

 

“Help will arrive soon,” I said quietly as I slipped out…

 

********

 

I have been known to take part in a sleepover from time to time, and one night last summer I paid a visit which ended up as - well, a different kind of sleepover.  This was to a journalist called Paula Priest, who had won recent awards for her exposes on the exploitation of workers.

 

I know, I know – the irony was not lost on me, as I got out of my car around the corner from their detached house in Surrey, and slipped into the back garden of the house.  I could see the patio doors were open – it was one of the hottest days of the year – and I slipped inside, listening for any sounds of Paula or her fourteen year old daughter Alice.

 

Well, I could hear music playing upstairs, so I walked up – having first pulled the stocking down over my head – and looked in one of the rooms.  I could see Alice there – she had her blonde hair in pigtails, and was wearing a sleeveless white tunic top with blue shorts.  She was sitting on her bed, but there were two other girls in there about her age.  One had long light brown hair, and was wearing a pink knitted top, blue jeans and mid-calf brown leather boots.  The other had darker brown hair, falling over a green top with a white insert at her chest, crimson pants and taupe ankle boots.

 

Well, I had a decision to make – and on this occasion, I opened the door and came in to say “good evening – please, no screams.”  Alice stared at me, before she said “Who are you?”

 

“Who do you think I am,” I said with a smile.  The light brown haired girl looked at me, and said quietly “you again.”

 

It took me a moment to recognise her, as I said “It’s not Ivy is it?  How long had it been?”

 

“A few years – Alice, Kay, this is the Games Player.”

 

“You’re kidding,” the other brown haired girl said, “the one who robbed you in your old house?”

 

“The very same – and now you’re robbing Alice?”

 

“It would appear so,” I said with a smile, “so I think we can drop the pretence of this been a game, unless you wish for it to be treated as such?”

 

Ivy looked at the other two, and said “well, we could treat it as one.  Trust me, both of you – it’s less scary that way.”

 

“And given I have met Ivy before,” I said as I took my rucksack off, “she knows what is coming.  Where is your mother Alice?”

 

“She… she went to get some pizzas for us.”

 

“Then,” I said as I took some ropes out, “let us prepare for her return.  All of you, put your hands together in front of yourselves, and I will secure your wrists – and then we will go downstairs…”

 

“Alice?  I’m back!”

 

I put my finger to my lips as the door opened and Paula came in, carrying three pizza boxes as she said “are you…  Oh my god!”

 

Shlrrthmmm,” Alice said through the white tape that covered her mouth, “wshrplhhnuhrghm.”  Ivy and Kay nodding as they sat either side of her.  All three had their legs secured at the ankles and knees, their wrists tied down to the upper band of rope.

 

“But who…”

 

“Hello,” I said as I stood beside Paula, “put the pizza boxes down, Paula, and then you can play the game with your daughter and her friends.”

 

“You…  You’re him?”  As I nodded, she put the boxes down, and looked at me.  She was dressed in an off white blouse with a blue pattern, dark jeans and grey loafers.  “I…  I forgot I had booked you as a surprise.”

 

I looked at Ivy, who giggled as I said “well, we can start – I will secure your mother, Alice, and then I’ll release your wrists from your ankles and remove the tape so you may eat the pizzas.”

 

All three girls nodded as I took Paula’s arms behind her back, and tied her wrists tightly together with rope, before allowing her to sit in an armchair and securing her ankles and legs in the same way as the girls.  I then released the rope holding their wrists to their ankles, and peeled the tape away before Alice said “this was a great idea, Mum – to have someone pretend to rob us.”

 

“Well, I’m glad you all played along,” she said quietly as she looked at me, while they each opened their pizza box and started to eat, holding the slices in their bound hands while I poured some Coke into glasses for them to drink from.

 

“Now, while they do that,” I said quietly to Paula, “tell me where you store your valuables, so that I can make sure the bad robber doesn’t make a mess.”  She nodded and told me where to look, before she said “what are you going to do next?”

 

“Make you more secure,” I said as I took a longer length of rope from my rucksack, “before I do the same to them when they have finished.  Be calm – they know what this is, and you just need to play along with them.”

 

Paula nodded as she shuffled forward in the seat, and I tied her arms to her sides, taking the rope above and below her chest before I passed it under one arm, up and around the back of her neck, and under the other arm.

 

“Are you – are you going to do that to us as well,” Kay asked quietly.

 

“I hope so,” Ivy said with a grin, “because then we can watch a film in a very special way.”

 

“I will – one at a time,” I said quietly as I tied the rope off, “but first, while you finish off, I need to make sure Alice’s mother cannot raise the alarm.”  Compressing a sponge ball in my hand, I smiled as I said “open wide now.”

 

She felt the sponge expanding in her mouth, before I covered her mouth with white tape, and looked at the three girls.  “Can I trust you to keep quiet and stay in those seats?”

 

“We will,” Alice said as her mother nodded, and I left them to have a look round…

 

When I returned, I untied Ivy’s wrists and then took her arms behind her back, re-securing her wrists before I tied her arms to her sides with the longer rope while the other two watched.  I then re-secured their arms in the same way, before I said “time to be quiet – ready?”

 

Shllrhttghrls,” Paula mumbled as she wriggled round, Alice giggling before I pushed the compressed sponge ball into her mouth, and covered her lips with the white tape, and did the same to the other two.  I then moved the coffee table out of the way, and put three cushions on the floor in front of the television, before I turned on a music channel.

 

“Right girls,” I said as I looked at them, “Ivy – you know what to do.”

 

Dhhthss,” she mumbled as she pushed herself forward, fell onto her knees on the floor, and shuffled over before she lay on her stomach, her head on one of the cushions.  The other two did the same as I pulled Ivy’s ankles back and tied them to her chest ropes, her boots squeaking as she wriggled round, then hog tied the other two as they looked at each other and tried to move.

 

“Now, I want Mum here to jump over and lie on the couch,” I said, Paula looking at me before she managed to stand up and jump over, the girls offering muted encouragement as she lay down, and I pulled her ankles back, securing them to her chest ropes as well before she rolled onto her side.

 

“Oh look – Hairspray,” I said as the film started, Ivy mumbling “nhsstshheuhhghn” as they all started to watch, and I left the room…

 

****

 

A houseboat was something I don’t think wither of us had ever visited before, but when we looked at the Court family, that was the opportunity that came up.  Derek Court is a well know travel writer, who takes his family on long trips round the canals of Britain and Europe, and uses their experiences in his books.

 

He was married to Penny, who was in her late forties, and they had two daughters, twelve year old Amber and nine year old Bonnie.  Living the life they had, they were both home schooled, and that gave me the opportunity to give them both a very different lesson one Friday when they were moored near Camden market.

 

So picture this – a Friday morning, and I’m walking down the side of the Grand Union Canal.  How I managed to intercept the real teacher who was coming – well, I’ll let Steve tell that story.  But I was wearing a black leather jacket over a jersey dress, black suede knee length boots, and a smile as I came over to the Far Traveller – a large houseboat that was the family home.  Given I could not wear my usual disguise, I had on a black wig.

 

As I came closer, Penny appeared at the rear.  She was wearing a white V-necked sweater, jeans and knee length brown leather boots, and smiled as I introduced myself as the teacher she had hired.

 

“Amber and Bonnie are waiting for you inside,” she said as she helped me to step on board, “I need to nip to the shops for a short while, but I’ll be back soon.”

 

I watched as she jumped off, put her shoulder bag over her left arm, and walked quickly off, so I ducked and went inside, calling out “Hello?”

 

“Down here,” I heard a voice reply, and I went into a very comfortable living area where the girls were sitting.  Amber was wearing a red sweater and jeans, the legs of her jeans tucked into knee length black leather boots, while Bonnie had on a grey top, black leggings and brown short boots, as well as a black band with a bow in her hair.

 

“Hi,” I said as I sat down, “your mum asked me to come and have a chat with you about creative story writing?”

 

“Wonderful – Mum wants us to be a writer like Dad,” Amber said quietly, “but we find it boring.”

 

“Well, it doesn’t have to be,” I said with a smile as I put my own bag down, “have you ever tried the idea of acting out a story?”

 

Bonnie looked at me, and said “what do you mean?”

 

“Acting out a scenario, seeing what ideas it gives you,” I said with a smile, “if you wanted, we could try an exercise – your mum and dad said I could do what I needed to do to make this interesting for both of you.”

 

Amber looked at me, and said “how?”

 

“Tell me – have you heard of the Games Player?”

 

The girls looked at each other, before Bonnie said “yeah – what are you thinking of.”

 

“Well,” I said with a smile, “if I told you I was the female Games Player, how would you react.”

 

Bonnie shivered and said “well, I would ask what you were going to do,” as Amber nodded.  I replied “well, if I was, I’d say your mum and dad hired me to play a game of robbers with you – and when your mum came back, she would play as well.”

 

“Oh I get it,” Amber said, “and we remember what happened and use that to write the story?”

 

“Exactly,” I said with a smile.  “So my question to both of you would be – want to give it a try?”

 

Amber and Bonnie looked at each other, and then nodded as I said “well, the Games Player would make sure you both could not move, so why don’t you both stand up, turn round, and put your hands behind your back.”

 

“Well, at least it’s different,” Amber said as she and Bonnie did as I asked, “but why have you got ropes in your bag?”

 

“Oh – I wondered if this was an idea that would interest you, so I came prepared,” I said with a smile as I took two lengths of cord out, and then crossed and secured their wrists together behind their backs.  As they wriggled their fingers, I then said “the Games Player would also make sure you could not move your arms.  Would you like to see how?”

 

The girls looked at each other and nodded as I took two longer lengths out, and tied it round their arms and upper bodies, making sure it formed two neat bands and then was cinched by two shorter lengths.  As they twisted round, Amber said “were you a Guide or something?”

 

“Yes,” I said with a smile, “now, can you both sit wither side of the floor, on these couches?”  As they did so, Bonnie watched as I knelt down and tied Amber’s ankles together, her boots squeaking slightly as her legs were forced together, and then secured her legs together below her knees.

 

“Tell me what you are feeling,” I said to Amber as I stood up, and she twisted her legs round.  “Excited in a funny way – you have done this before, haven’t you,” she said as she looked at me.

 

“Perhaps – what else?”

 

“Wondering what Mum is going to say?”

 

“We’ll see soon – now, your turn,” I said as I knelt down again and secured Bonnie’s ankles and legs, while she said “it’s funny – you’re very good at pretending to be her.”

 

“But are you scared, either of you?”

 

The two girls shook their heads as I tied the last rope off on the younger girl, and stood up.  “Right – I think I hear your mother coming back now.  Tell her what we are doing.”

 

I stood to her side as we heard footsteps, and then smiled as Penny came in, and said “so what are you… why are they tied up?”

 

“Creative writing Mum,” Amber said as she twisted, her boots squeaking again.  “The teacher is pretending to be the Games Player, and she’s asking us to act out what would happen to get us thinking.”

 

“Well, it’s an – unusual method,” Penny said as she looked at me.  “Can I talk to you a minute?”

 

“Of course – girls, this is where the Player would tell the mother or older woman what is really going on, so sit and talk to each other and we’ll see what comes next.”

 

“Okay,” bonnie said as I followed her mother to the kitchen area, taking my bag with me.  She then turned round and said “what are you doing?  Did they agree to this?”

 

“They did,” I said quietly, “and so will you Penny.  You see – I AM the Games Player.”

 

Penny looked at me, but when I showed her the gun in my bag she paled and sat down.  “Oh god,” she said quietly, “you’re robbing us?”

 

“Oh yes – but they believe this is an enactment, and I need you to keep the pretence up to keep them calm.  That means you need to play along as well – understand?”

 

Penny slowly nodded as I smiled and said “good – put your hands behind your back.”

 

 

 

“Oh wow – you are going to help us out as well Mum?”

 

“I guess so,” Penny said as she walked in front of me, her wrists secured together behind her back and rope around her arms and upper body.   “Are you both ready for the next bit?”

 

As they both nodded, I helped Penny to sit on the floor and then secured her ankles and legs just as I had done with the girls, before I put a cushion on the floor.

 

“Now comes the strange bit,” I said quietly, “the Games Player makes sure everyone stays quiet while they look for valuables.  So I’m going to do the same to each of you -  I have clean clothes, folded up, and I’ll put one in your mouths before putting some tape over your lips.  Okay?”

 

Me first,” Penny said as I gagged her, and then the girls, before I helped them all to lie down, pulled their ankles back, and tied them to their chest ropes.  Bonnie and Amber rolled onto their sides on the couches as I said “I’ll leave you alone for a few minutes – and then, once we’re finished and you are untied, you can write a story about this.”

 

hkkeee,” Amber said as I left them listening to the radio, searched the houseboat, and then walked quietly away..

 

****

 

So just how did we arrange to make sure instead of a fully qualified private tutor visiting the houseboat, Janna went instead?  So glad you asked – and we start with a breakfast call.

 

The actual teacher was a lovely woman named Jane Moore, who is in her early forties, and lives alone in Islington with her fourteen year old daughter Amy.  I had studied her for a while, and I knew on that particular morning her usual routine was to give Amy and her neighbour’s two daughters, eleven year old Clara and ten year old Danni, a lift into school before she went on to her appointments.  Well, this particular day was going to be somewhat different…

 

It was quarter to eight in the morning, and I was crouched behind the back door of their semi-detached house, dressed as usual in black and with the stocking down over my head.   Reaching up, I slowly opened the door and let myself in, closing it behind me as I heard footsteps coming down the hallway.

 

Right on cue, Jane Moore came in, wearing a black round necked top, pants and black shoes.  She came past me without noticing, went to the kettle, put it on, turned round – and then stared at me as I pointed my starting pistol at her and said “hello Jane – I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve come to make sure you and your daughter have a day off.”

 

“Oh god,” she whispered, “not my baby…”

 

“Just do as I say,” I said with a smile, “and tell her this is a surprise game – a reward for winning that essay competition at school last week.”

 

“How did you…”

 

For a teacher, she did not read the local paper…  But that was a moot point, as Amy came in.  Her daughter was wearing a red top, with a white scarf wrapped loosely round her neck, black jeans and short black boots – and when she saw me, she stared through her glasses.

 

“Amy,” Jane said quietly, “I’ve got a special surprise for you.  This is an actor who specialises in pretending to be a robber, and today I’ve hired him to play a game with both of us.”

 

“Today, but what about…”

 

“Oh I think Clara and Danni will have a day off school so that they can play along as well – in fact, I am going to make sure their mother agrees to this surprise,” I said with a smile.  “So the game is that I’m going to pretend I am robbing you and your mother – and that means you get to start Amy.  Ready?”

 

 

It was quarter past eight when we heard the front door open, and a voice say “Jane – you ready to go?”

 

“Can you come in back Jackie – I’ve got something to show you.”

 

“What does Aunt Jane want Mummy,” I heard a young voice say before three people came into the kitchen, and Amy said “Hlllghrlsssshrprsss.”

 

“Jane?”

 

“You must be Jackie – and this is Clara and Danni right?  Amy’s mother arranged this surprise game for her and Amy to play – and they were wondering if you would like to play as well, rather than go to school.”

 

Jackie was just staring at me as she stood with her hands on her daughter’s shoulders.  She was younger than Jane, and wearing a black blazer over a black and white striped top, red leggings and knee length black leather boots.  Clara had a grey coat on over a white jumper with a black bow printed on the front, a knee length black skirt, black leggings and shoes, while Danni had a red lumberjack shirt on, black shorts, black tights and shiny black ankle high wellington boots.

 

“What sort of game are you playing Amy?” she finally said.

 

Rhbbhrs,” Amy said through her white scarf, which I had pulled between her lips as I wrapped it round her head twice.  She was seated in a kitchen chair, her hands taken behind the chair back and her bound wrists secured to the back, while her ankles were tied to the front legs of the chair.

 

“That’s right,” Jane said as she sat similarly bound in another chair, “it’s a game of robbers.  Jackie, we want you and the girls to play with us – please.”

 

Jackie looked at both of them, and slowly nodded as she took out her mobile phone.  “I’ll have to call the school, report them as sick…”

 

“Please do so,” I said as I pulled two more chairs out, “Jane has already done that for Amy.  Girls, take your coats off, and sit in the chairs, then see if you can put your arms through the spaces in the chair back.”

 

“Thanks, Jackie,” Jane said as she watched her friend call the school, while I secured the wrists of the two girls with rope and tied them to the chair back as well, then walked round and tied their ankles together with more rope.

 

“All right,” Jackie eventually said, “what do you want me to do?”

 

“Have a seat of course,” I said quietly as I pulled another chair out, and a few minutes later I had her tied to the chair in the same way as Jane.  As I looked at them, I said “I need to keep the girls as quiet as Amy for a little while – then you can all have a drink after I explain to your mums how the game is going to be played.  All right?”

 

“Okay,” Danni said as I went into the hallway and came back with two more woollen scarves, using them as cleave gags on the two girls before I said “now then, the bad robber is going to hold all five of you hostage while he searches the house, and then leave you with something to watch and a challenge to try and get free.  I need to take your mums for a little walk, so if I turn the radio on, will you three be all right in here?”

 

As they nodded, I saw the damp patches between their lips, as I untied Jane and Jackie’s ankles and wrists from the chair, and helped them to stand up before I turned the radio on.  As they started to try and sing along, I picked up my rucksack, walked the two older women into the hallway, and closed the door to.

 

“A game?  You’re a genuine robber, aren’t you,” Jackie hissed.

 

“Oh yes I am – but those girls think this is a game.  Do you want to be the one to tell them it isn’t while I am still here?”

 

The two women looked at each other, and then shook their heads as I said “good – so here’s what we’re going to do.  Jane, we’ll have a look round here first, and then we get the girls a drink before I secure all five of you properly.  I’m then going to look in Jackie’s house, before the grand finale.  Now, shall we go upstairs?”

 

 

“Thank you Mister Robber,” Amy said as I handed her a glass of juice.  I had brought their mothers back to the kitchen – but not before I had used more rope to secure their arms to their sides, bands now framing their chests as they sat in the wooden chairs.  I had then released the girls from their chairs, the scarves with the large damp patches on the table, and given them all a drink and something to eat.

 

“So what is the bad robber going to do now,” Clara said as she looked at me.

 

“Well, I’m going to take you all into the front room, and make sure none of you can get up very easily or call for help – but I will put the television on with something for you all to watch, while I keep watch for any cops that are coming.  Before we go in, though, I need to make sure all three of you have your arms like your mums – so finish your snack.”

 

“Can we go to the toilet if we need to?” Danni asked.

 

“Of course – but we’ll all have to go and stand outside if that is the case.  So, who wants to be first?”

 

“Me,” Clara said as she put her glass down, and then put her hands behind her back.  I took the rope I had used before and tied her wrists together behind her back, and then used a longer length to secure her arms against her body.

 

“How does it feel,” Danni asked as I tied the ropes off.

 

“Like a big hug – you next,” her sister said, as I tied Danni’s arms and wrists, and then Amy’s.  I then picked my bag up and said “let’s all go into the front room now.”  We walked in, the girls sitting on one couch and their mothers in two armchairs while I closed the curtains to.

 

“Now then,” I said as I saw the girls wriggle round, “I think I need to make sure your mums stay in those chairs first.”  Taking more ropes from my bag, I knelt down and crossed Jane’s ankles, tying them securely together and then securing her legs below her knees, before I walked over and did the same to Jackie.

 

Kneeling in front of the girls, I started with Danni, taking her wellingtons off before I tied her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees.  Moving along the line, I did the same to Clara and to Amy, the older girl saying “now we’re all going to be the same” as she twisted her legs round.

 

“And now, you need to tell me what you want to watch,” I said as I stood up.

 

“Can we watch your Totally Spies collection Amy?”

 

“Why not – we’re hostages after all,” she said as I turned on her box, found the collection and then looked at them.

 

“Time to be quiet,” I said as one by one I put a clean folded cloth in their mouths, and then covered their lips with brown sticking plaster.  As the programs started, I slipped out, returning a short while later to see Jackie and Jane trying to get free – but my ropes were too tight.

 

“Having fun girls,” I said, and as all three nodded I said “well, the bad robber is going to go now – but you can try and get free if you want.”  I left them to their fun and slipped away…

 

********

 

Southall is a place in London Steve has visited a few times, but this was the first time I had come to play with a family here – and it was certainly a colourful place to drive through on this particular Saturday afternoon. 

 

But, as colourful and alluring the Uxbridge Road was, I had an appointment that took me to a side street, and a semi-detached house with a low wall surrounding it.  I parked the car and walked to the back alley, stopping for a moment to put on my leather gloves, pull the stocking down over my head and tuck it under the neck of my jumper, before I slowly opened the back gate and looked in.

 

The garden was clear, so I closed the gate behind myself and walked quickly to the back door.   There was a large window to the side, but fortunately – for me – nobody was in the kitchen as I slipped inside.  I could hear music from elsewhere in the house, but I took a moment to collect my thoughts, and then stepped to the side as I heard someone coming down the corridor.

 

Just heard them if truth be told – and I saw why from behind the door when a woman in her early forties came in, wearing a black short sleeved blouse under a black and silver sari, the cloth wrapped round her body from over one shoulder down to her bare feet.  I slowly closed the kitchen door as she looked at the window, and then turned round, looking at me as she whispered “who are…”

 

“Hello Ahsan,” I said with a smile as I pointed my starting pistol at her, “I would appreciate it, and your family will appreciate it, if you remain nice and quiet.  Please, take a seat – I will explain who I am and what is going to happen.”

 

I had identified the members of the family who would be home before – Ahsan was the mother of ten year old Chanda and twelve year old Divya, and her husband ran some of the gold stores in the town centre.  Her mother, Bharat, also lived with the family – and, as I said, it was busy in town.

 

As Ahsan slowly sat down, I smiled and said “now, I am here to rob this house, and I need to make sure you all stay safely out of the way, but I want to do this in a way which will not upset your daughters.”

 

“And how will you do that,” she asked quietly as she looked at me.

 

“By making this a game – I need you to tell your daughters this is a game arranged by you and your mother, and that although it may feel like a real robbery, it’s all just pretend.”

 

She looked at me, and said “my mother will never agree to that!”

 

“We will see – where are the rest of your family?”

 

“The girls are upstairs, and my mother in the main room – why?”

 

She watched as I took some rope from my rucksack, before I said “well, we talk to your mother first – but before I do that, stand up, and put your hands behind your back.”

 

 

As I opened the door to the front room, I could Bharat sitting in a chair, and I noticed that she too was bare foot.  She looked to the door, saw me, and then saw Ahsan as she came in and said “do not call out – we are been robbed, and this lady is going to explain what she wants to do?”

 

“But – she has tied you,” the older woman said as she adjusted the black dupatta that covered her dark hair.  The long silk scarf had a silver fern pattern, matching that on the salwar she was wearing, matched by her black pants.

 

“She has,” Ahsan said as she stood there, the bands of rope around her arms sitting above and below her chest and stretching the sari over it, while her wrists were tied together behind her back.  “She has a gun, and we need to do as she says – but she has a plan for how to talk to the girls.”

 

“You are going to tie us up as well – all of us?”

 

“I am,” I said quietly, “because I need to do so, but for the girls, they need to have you and your daughter saying this is a family game, and they are going to come to no harm.  You will be unable to move, and talk for a while, but you will be unharmed.”

 

“I see,” Bharat said quietly as Ahsan sat down, “and how will you do this, my daughter?”

 

“Do you remember the film we watched last week, the one where a family was held hostage to force their father to do something for the criminals?”

 

Bharat nodded, and then looked at me.  “So we are going to be that family?”

 

“Indeed – I will secure you first, and regretfully silence you first, and then I will go with Ahsan and bring your granddaughters down to join you.  Pretend this is a game, they will be relaxed.”

 

“There is wisdom in that,” Bharat said as Ahsan relaxed.  She turned her back to me, and put her hands behind her back, talking to her daughter as I doubled a length of rope over and tied her wrists tightly together behind her back.  I also tied her arms to her sides, making sure the rope sat above and below her chest, and cinching it with two shorter lengths in the same way as I had bound Ahsan.

 

As she wriggled round and turned, I knelt down and bound her bare ankles together with more of the rope, and then tied her legs together below her knees, taking the rope around and between them as she watched.  Ahsan nodded as she said “are you all right, Mother?”

 

“I am not uncomfortable,” Bharat said quietly as I tied the rope off and stood up.  “For this to work now,” I said quietly, “I need you to be quiet for now.  Ready?”

 

 

 

“Whose room is this,” I said as I stood outside a door with Ahsan.

 

“Chanda’s,” she said quietly as we heard the music.  Nodding, I opened the door and we went in as she said “Chanda, turn the player down for a moment.”

 

“What is it, ama,” the ten year old said as she turned the CD player down, and then looked at her, and at me.  She was wearing a pink tunic with a silver trim, the sleeves made of a see through material, and a pair of crimson red pants with a silver trim.

 

“Who is the lady,” she said quietly as she continued to look at me as I smiled.

 

“She is an actress,” Ahsan said with a smile, “and she is pretending to be a woman who is taking us hostage.  She started with me, and your grandmother is already playing in the main room.  And now, I want you to play as well, before we go to get your sister.”

 

Chanda looked at me, and then walked over and looked at her mother as she twisted round, the ropes still bound tightly.  “Wow – so is she going to do this to me,” she finally said as she looked at me.”

 

“I am – if you are ready?  Once I have your arms tied, we can go and get your sister to play, and all three of you go to see your grandmother.”  She looked at me, and then nodded as I went behind her, guided her hands behind her back, crossed her wrists and secured them tightly together as she giggled.  “It feels funny,” she said as I tied the rope off, and then took another length of rope, tying it round her stomach and arms and cinching it, and then a second length around her upper arms and shoulders.

 

“Now then,” I said quietly, “what do you think your sister will be doing?”

 

“Talking to her friends on her phone,” Chanda said as she twisted round, and Asha nodded as she rolled her eyes.

 

“Well, let us go and find out,” I said as we walked out, down the corridor, and then I opened the door as Ahsan went in first.  Divya was looking out of her window, talking on her mobile phone as we all came in.  Her long dark hair fell over the shoulders of a black short sleeved tunic, going at the waist down to a purple lace, and tight black leggings with a silver pattern on them.  A matching purple dupatta was over her left shoulder.

 

She turned and looked at her mother, and turned round – then looked again more slowly before she said “I’ll call you later”£ and ended the call.  Ama?  Chanda?  What is going on?”

 

“We’re all playing a game of hostages,” Chanda said as she looked at Ahsan, “and you get to play as well.”

 

“Hostages?”  She looked at me, and then at her mother as Ahsan said “your grandmother is already playing – so join us, and let my friend here make sure you cannot move your arms, just as Chanda and I cannot.”

 

She nodded slowly as I walked behind her and tied her wrists together behind her back, and then wrapped the rope around her upper body, pulling her arms into her sides as I tied her in the same way as her mother.  I then said “so, time I took the family to sit with the grandmother, and made sure none of you can raise the alarm.  Walk with your mother girls.”

 

We made our way down the stairs, Chanda giggling as she walked into the front room and said “I see you cannot move either.”

 

“Harthill,” Bharat said through the wide white tape that covered her mouth, Ahsan nodding as the two girls sat on the couch and she sat in the other armchair.  Chanda pushed herself back, her feet hanging off the seat as I took more rope and tied her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees.

 

“You’re a bad kidnapper doing this to us,” she giggled as she twisted her legs round.

 

“Well, I did say you would not be able to move,” I said as I secured her sister’s ankles and legs in the same way, and then made sure Ahsan had her ankles tied as well, all four of them wriggling their toes as I did so.  Finally, I tied Ahsan’s legs together, but in her case above her knees and making sure the skirt of her sari was gathered round her limbs as well.

 

Hrrullrht,” Bharat mumbled, the girls nodding as I whispered “open your mouth” to Ahsan.  As she did so, I pushed the cloth in, and then waited as she closed the lips over it before I pressed a strip of the special white tape firmly over her mouth.

 

“Time to make sure you two cannot raise the alarm,” I said then as I looked at the two girls.  “Open your mouths for me.”  As they did so, I put a folded square of white cloth in, and then taped their mouths over, the four of them looking at each other as I turned the television on, and a film started.

 

“I need to make sure the man of the house does what I want him to do now,” I said as they tried to talk, and I availed myself of the opportunity to do what I came to do.  I then came back in, to find that Chanda had somehow made her way over to sit on her mother’s lap, cuddling in as Divya lay on her side, the dupatta under the ropes staying in place.

 

“Your father is doing what I wanted,” I said with a smile, “be patient, he will be back soon.”  I then left them alone as I left by the rear…

 

******

 

Now I know what you might be thinking – first a house barge for Janna, and then I decide to hit a mobile home?  Well, there was a method to my madness, and that method involved the travel writer and prize winning authoress Amanda Byers.  She was currently living through a project where she was travelling around Britain for three months, along with her twelve year old daughter Rachel, ostensibly living off what she could earn locally as she met the people.  It had been done before – one prominent Scottish Sunday newspaper for years had a regular column by “the HON Man” – HON meaning holiday on nothing – but I digress.

 

You see, what I also had seen was photographs of her attending charity events, with some very nice jewellery on – which meant I knew she had some on the large RV vehicle she was driving round the country in.  It was merely a case of planning when she was likely to be stopped, and unwatched, for a couple of hours – and eventually, I found she would be in a nearby town, arriving at two, going to a book signing, and attending an event at eight.  A four hour window in which to play the game…

 

So at three o’clock, I watched as Amanda left the large vehicle and got into a waiting car.  She was casually dressed – her red hair falling over a checked blouse, which was over a blue top, faded jeans with ripped knees, and mid-calf old sandy coloured leather boots.  You may think it was not the usual attire for a book signing, but given the story she was following, it made sense.  So I waited as the car drove off, then walked quickly up to the caravan.  This was not the day for the stocking mask, so I pulled down the rim of my woollen hat to cover my head, leaving only my eyes and mouth visible, and slipped into the vehicle.

 

As I quietly closed the door, I could hear some music playing, and looking into the main area I saw Rachel sitting at a table, doing some work.  She had long brown hair, and was wearing a red flacked top, jeans and knee length tan leather boots – and when she saw me, she whispered “oh my god – please, just leave me and take what you want…”

 

“Please, stay calm Rachel,” I said quietly.  “I want to introduce myself – I am one of the people the papers call the Games Player.”  Now why did I admit that?  Well, how could I deny it?  She looked at me, and then said “cool – so are you going to rob me and Mum?”

 

“I am – but I think she could work this into her book, don’t you?  If we play it the right way?”

 

“Yeah – yeah she could,” Rachel said with a grin.  “I could say you told me this was a game she had booked, and she had to play as well – she should be back in a little while anyway.”

 

“Oh – why?”

 

“They just called – the book signing has been cancelled, but her mobile phone is dead.  So – what do you want me to do?”

 

“Well,” I said as I opened my rucksack, “I need to be sure you are playing along first.  Please, stand up, and put your hands behind your back.”

 

“Well, it meets trigonometry,” Rachel said as she put her hand behind her, and watched over her shoulder as I crossed her wrists and secured them together tightly with the first length of rope.  I then took some more rope around her arms and body, pulling it tight so that the bands sat above and below her chest, before I took the rope under one arm, up and around the back of her neck, and then under the other arm.

 

“How did you know Mum had some of her jewels with her,” she said as I tied the rope off, and she wriggled round.

 

“Her pictures in the paper.”

 

Rachel shook her head and said “I told her not to – well, she can write about this as well.  Where do you want me?”  I looked over to a long seat by the side of the vehicle, and watched as Rachel walked over and sat down, turning and lifting her legs onto the cushions as she crossed her ankles.

 

“I must say you are taking this very well,” I said as I doubled over a fresh length of cord and started to bind her ankles together.  She nodded as she replied “can you imagine how boring this is, this whole trip?  So some excitement is a good thing.”

 

“I can believe that,” I said as I took the rope between her legs, cinching the binding as I tied the ends off, and then tied her legs together below her knees in the same way.  It was as I tied that off that I heard the car pull up outside, and I saw Amanda get out, talking angrily to the driver as she slammed the door and watched it drive off.

 

“Time for your mum to play,” I said with a smile, Rachel nodding as she heard her mother say “well that was a complete waste of time Rachel – how is…”  She stopped and looked at her daughter as she wriggled round, and said “wow Mum – this was an amazing game you arranged for us to play.”

 

“Game?  What game?”

 

“Hello Mrs Byers,” I said as she turned round, “don’t you remember – you booked me to act the part of the games Player so that you and Rachel could experience what it would be like if he – or she – called.”

 

Amanda looked back at Rachel, and then at me, as she mouthed “shit” and then nodded.  “Please, don’t hurt us,” she then said as she winked at Rachel, who had the grace to just shake her head as she wriggled round.

 

“I won’t if you do as I say – starting with turning round and putting your hands behind your back,” I said quietly as I held up a length of cord.  Nodding, she turned and said “did they call here” as I took the rope around her wrists.

 

“Yeah – sorry Mum, they tried to call you…”

 

“…but my phone was dead – well, I have the feeling I won’t be able to answer it soon anyway,” Amanda said quietly as I tied the ropes off, and then started to bind her arms to her side, the rope again forming two bands as they were forced into her sides.

 

“Now,” I said as I tied the rope off between Amanda’s arms and body, her blouse pulled to the sides, “please, be seated in the seat across from your daughter, and put your feet up on the cushions as well.”  As she did this, I bound her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees, in the same way as Rachel.  As she wriggled round, I then said “so, let me make it easier – where are your valuables?”

 

“I have a choice?  The bedrooms are through there – the box is in the top drawer.”

 

“Good – but before I go, I need to make sure neither of you can raise the alarm.”  From the bag, I took a red bandana, rolledit into a band and then tied a knot in it, before looking at Amanda and saying “open wide.”

 

She graciously allowed me to gag her with the bandana, the cloth going around her head, before I employed a blue bandana in the same way to keep Rachel quiet.  I then went into the room, returning with the box and emptying it into my bag in front of both of them.

 

Amanda looked at Rachel and said “Ukhhthsshhrhkl?”

 

Hyssmhhmm,” Rachel nodded, “bhtssfhnn, rht.  Nasthhrrefhuhh.”

 

Amanda nodded as I helped Rachel to lie down on her stomach, and then tied her ankles to her chest ropes behind her.  As she rolled onot her side, I did the same to her mother, before saying “I believe your ride is due in an hour or two.  Have fun until then.” 

 

They both nodded as I left them to enjoy some close quality time together…

 

********

 

Dear Diary,

 

It was a very strange day today – but it was also an exciting day, and one that I do not think I will forget for a long time.  It started as always, with me getting up, washing and dressing.  Today, I put on a light blue top – the one with the picture of a wolf on the front – old blue jeans and my slippers, with white socks on my feet.

 

Then I went down to breakfast, where my brother and sister were already eating.  Ron was wearing a blue sweat shirt with a funny bowtie and moustache on the front, jeans and trainers, while Paula was wearing a black dress, with a white lace flower on the front and a white lace design, white tights and black shoes.

 

Remember, Ron is a year older than me and Paula three years younger, and I’m ten.  Mummy smiled at me as she put a bowl of cereal down – she stays at home while Daddy works, and she always wears the scarf over her head and neck.  It was her blue one today, the ends over her red top which had little black horses on it, black pants and flat shoes.

 

So we were sitting there, having breakfast and discussing what we could do while Mummy was out doing some food shopping later.  She was going to take Paula with her – but that was when the strange day began, with a ring on the doorbell.

 

Mummy went to see who it was as Ron and I talked – and then we both heard her talking to someone we did not recognise.  It was a female voice, and she wanted Mummy to do something.  It was only when she came back that we saw the visitor.  She was a woman, blonde haired, and wearing a black leather jacket over a sweater, pants and knee length black leather boots.  She was also wearing gloves and big sunglasses, and said hello to us.

 

But it was Mummy I was looking at – she had her hands behind her back, but she was smiling as she said she had a special surprise treat for us all.  Rather than going shopping, we were all going to play a special game that Daddy had arranged, and she had forgotten that it was today it was booked for.

 

Ron asked what sort of game, and Mummy said it was a game of robbers.  The woman was an actress, and she was playing the part of a robber who wanted to take things from the house – and we were going to be the family who lived there.  The woman then helped Mummy to sit down, as she said it was going to be a realistic game – which meant she was going to take steps to stop any of us from moving round or raising the alarm, but it was all for fun, and she would put the television on so that we could watch whatever we wanted as part of the game.

 

Well, Paula then asked the question – why did Mummy have her hands behind her back?  Mummy told her to come and have a look, and as Paula went behind the chair she made a cooing sound – and told me and Ron Mummy had her wrists tied together behind her back.

 

The woman said she had done this to start the game – and she hoped we were all going to play along as well.  Ron didn’t look too sure, but Paula said she would play, and put her hands behind her back.  As we watched, the woman put down a black bag she was carrying, and opened it to take out a length of white rope – and two minutes later, Paula had her wrists tied together behind her back as well.

 

Mummy looked at us, and said it was all right, we should play as well, so we both stood up and looked at Paula as she turned round.  The woman had crossed her wrists behind her back, and taken the rope around and between them so that they were firmly tied together.  Ron nodded as he put his wrists behind his back, and I watched as the woman doubled another length of rope, wrapped it round his wrists, and very quickly had them tied together as well.

 

Well, I couldn’t be the only one not playing, could I?  Paula and Ron watched me as I put my hands behind my back, and I felt the woman gently crossing my wrists – and then very quickly tying them together.  She was very good at it, and two minutes later my wrists were tied so I could not move them apart either.

 

Ron asked what was going to happen nest, and the woman said we should all have a seat while she cleared the breakfast plates away.  As we sat down, Mummy asked if we were all enjoying the game, and we all nodded as the woman put the dirty things into the dishwasher.

 

She then took a longer length of the rope from her bag, and said the next thing the robber had to do was make sure the kids were all properly secured, before she took Mummy round the house.  She went behind Paula and asked her to shuffle forward, before she passed the rope round her body and forced her arms against her sides, making a band round her tummy and one round her upper arms, before she tied the rope off behind her back and used tow shorter lengths between her arms and body, which seemed to make it even tighter.

 

Mummy asked if she was all right, and Paula nodded saying it was like Mummy or Daddy giving her a hug.  The woman then walked behind me as I shuffled forward, and I felt the ropes hugging me too.  I could see it was stretching my top a bit, but that was fine – and Paula was right, it did feel quite nice.

 

When she had tied Ron’s arms as well, she told us all to stand up, and we could go into the room with the television.  As we walked in, she helped Paula to sit in the middle of our long couch, and then we sat either side of her while Mummy sat in her favourite armchair.  The woman walked to the windows and closed the blinds, before she left the room for a few minutes.

 

Mummy asked if we were all enjoying the special game, and we all nodded as we wriggled round.  I felt the rope rubbing on me, and it felt a bit funny, but it was still nice.  When the woman came back, she put the bag she was carrying on the floor, and then knelt in front of Ron, putting his ankles together and using more of the rope to tie them together, taking it around and between his legs as she did so. 

She then tied his legs together, below his knees, and I laughed as Ron giggled – he’s very ticklish, and she must have stroked the back of his knees taking the rope between his legs.

 

She then did the same to Paula, as I saw the bands on her tights, and then to me.  It felt funny – and she did tickle me as well when she tied my legs together, but when she had finished I looked at them, and raised my feet up as I twisted them from side to side.

 

The woman then walked over and turned the television on, saying the robber now needed to take Mummy round the house.  Were we going to be good children, and not call for help?  Well, we wanted to play the game, so we all nodded as she helped Mummy to stand up, and left us watching Miraculous.

 

It was about an hour before they came back, and I saw the woman had tied rope around Mummy’s arms and body so that they were held firmly in place as well.  The upper band also trapped the front of her scarf down, and as she sat in the chair she said the robber had made her pretend to give her some of her jewellery, like a robber would.

 

The woman then looked at us, and said she had to make sure we all could not call for help, or raise the alarm now.  But first, she tied Mummy’s ankles and legs together in the same way as ours.  She then put two cushions on the floor, in front of the television, before she looked at us and asked if we wanted to say anything.

 

I did – I said thank you for a nice game, and she nodded before she told me to open my mouth.  I did so, and she put a folded piece of cloth inside, and then as I closed my lips over it she peeled a length of some white tape from a roll, and pressed it over my face.  It stuck to the shape of my jaw and mouth. Paula giggling as she said she could see the shape of my lips under it – and then she had a cloth in her mouth, and some tape over it, and so did Ron.

 

Mummy watched as she then helped me and Ron to lie on the floor, our heads on the pillows as we faced each other, and she pulled my ankles back, tying them to my chest ropes before I watched her do the same to Ron.  She then walked over to Paula and moved her to one side, before she put something into Mummy’s mouth, covered her face with the tape, and then helped her to shuffle over to the couch and sit on it.

 

She then helped Paula to lie on her side, her head on Mummy’s lap, as Ron and I looked at each other.  The woman said the Robber was going to leave them now, and when the film that had just started finished, we could try to get free.  We all nodded as Mummy said something like “whllhllbhhhlrht” and I watched the woman stand in the doorway before we heard High School Musical start.

 

I must have closed my eyes for a minute, but when I opened them again Paula was asleep, her head on Mummy’s lap, and Ron was trying to free himself while Mummy watched.  That was when Daddy came back in with a policeman – and we found out it wasn’t a game at all!  The woman was a real robber!

 

Well, we were all freed, and the policeman got us to tell the story – but when Ron and I talked that night, we both agreed it had been great fun.

 

And we wondered if we could play a game with each other some other time…

 

********

WonderWendy
Hi everyone – first time visitor here, but I was told this was the place to come if you had met the Games Player.  Am I amongst friends here?

 

ViTheFirst
Welcome Wendy – tell us a little bit about yourself.

 

WonderWendy
Well, I’m eleven, and I live in Raleigh, North Carolina.  Are there other Americans who come here?

 

ViTheFirst
Oh yes – you’d be surprised where they have been Wendy.  So you’re from the South?

 

WonderWendy
Yeah – Pops is a police officer, and Mom is a school teacher.  I’m the only kid at home though.

 

ViTheFirst
Your dad’s a cop?  So what happened when he found out what had happened?

 

WonderWendy
It was quite funny actually – I’ll tell you when I get to that part.  Anyways, want to hear my story?

 

ViTheFirst
Go right ahead Wonder Girl.

 

WonderWendy
Well, this was last autumn, and Mom and I had bene to the mall.  It was a cool day, so I had my black coat on over a blue dress, white tights and black knee length boots.  Mom also had a black coat on over her grey jumper, jeans and black ankle boots.

 

As we drove home, she got a text from my Aunt Queenie, asking if we would come round for some cake and drinks.  Aunt Queenie is a great cook, so when Mom asked if we wanted to call round, I nodded and said yes.

 

Problem was, Aunt Queenie’s house was clear on the other side of town, so we had to go home and drop some groceries off first, and then go to her place.

 

ViTheFirst
I’m going to go out on a limb here, and say when you got there, things were a little different?

 

WonderWendy
And then some.  We pulled up on their yard, and walked into the house – Aunt Queenie never locks her front door when she is at home.  We could smell the fresh baking, but when Mom called out for her, all we could hear was a mumbling in the front room, so that was where we went.

 

Well, Aunt Queenie was there, with Star.

 

ViTheFirst
Star?

 

WonderWendy
Star is my six year old cousin – she has short brown hair, and was wearing a sleeveless dress.  It had a wrap effect top, with red and white stripes, and a red tiered skirt, and she had on a pair of pink jelly sandals.  Aunt Queenie had on a red and white sleeveless dress, and black and white moccasins with white ribbons round her ankles – and a length of white rope tied around and between them as well to hold them together.

 

Star was sitting on her lap, and I could see that she also had her ankles tied together, as well as her legs below her knees, and her wrists – and they were tied to her legs.  She looked at us as we stared back, and said “hey Wendy – we’re playing a game of robbers with a nice man who is pretending to rob us.”

 

Aunt Queenie nodded – her arms were round Star in a hug, and I could see her wrists had been tied to her arms as well – as she said that was right – and now we were here, she thought we should play as well.

 

I think Mom was going to say something – but then a man said are we here to play the game too.

 

ViTheFirst
The Games Player?

 

WonderWendy
I guess so – we turned round to see a tall man, dressed in black and with something over his head, who smiled as he looked at us and said he was pretending to be a robber – and if he was doing that, then we really needed to pretend we had walked in, and play along as well.

 

I wasn’t sure what to do as I looked at Mom.  She had a very funny look on her face, but then nodded and said we did have to play the game too.  The man put a cloth bag down, which jingled a little, and told us both to take our coats off, and then stand with our hands behind our back.

 

ViTheFirst
Were you scared at that point, Wendy?

 

WonderWendy
Not really – I was just curious, and a little bit excited, as the man took some rope from a second bag, and then walked behind us.  Mom looked at me and smiled as I felt the rope around my wrists, pulled tight so that I could not move them apart, and then it went around and between my arms.

 

He tied that off, and then did the same to Mom as I watched.  She was talking to Aunt Queenie, who said the man had surprised them just after she had texted Mom.  She and my uncle had booked it some time ago, but it had completely slipped her mind until he had surprised her.

 

I then felt more rope as it was tied round my arms and tummy, before the man wound it round me at my tummy and my upper arms, so that I could hardly move them at all.  I watched as he did the same to Mom, and then said I should go and sit on the couch next to Aunt Queenie and Star, and Mom could sit next to me.

 

When we had sat down, he took more rope and tied my ankles together, my legs hanging off the edge of the seat, and then my legs below my knees.

 

ViTheFirst
How did it feel?

 

WonderWendy
It was a strange feeling.  Star was happy on my aunt’s lap, but I was too big to be on Mom’s – and when he tied her legs, we were all rather snug on the couch, so while I could wriggle round, I could not really move – even with the ropes.

 

Anyway – he tied Mom’s legs, and then turned the television on to Disney Kids for Star – before he said the bad robber had to make sure none of us could call for help.

 

Aunt Queenie shook her head and said we would all be quiet, but Star looked at her and said she wanted to be like Daphne and not able to talk.  So the man took some cloths from his bag, and one by one pushed one into our mouths.  It tasted funny on my tongue – but then he also tore wide strips of white tape from a roll and pressed it firmly over each of our mouths.

 

ViTheFirst
I love that tape – it’s soft but you really cannot talk, can you?

 

WonderWendy
Not a chance – I could just about move my lips, but that was it, as the man said he was going to watch us for a while, and then left the room.  We all looked at each other, before Mom rubbed her cheek on my head, and said something like “Whllbhhhllrhhttwhndeee.”

 

That was where we sat, Star eventually falling asleep on Aunt Queenie’s lap and I rested my head on Mom’s arm.

 

ViTheFirst
So how long before someone found you?

 

WonderWendy
A couple of hours – then my dad came in with my uncle, and we found out it was a real robbery.  When we were released, my wrists and legs hurt for a while, but I was soon all right.

 

Thing is, I want to play that game again – so is anyone else here in my area?

 

********

 

It was an isolated farmhouse in the Yorkshire Dales – Janna and I had left the baby with her parents while we had a relaxing week’s holiday – and part of that holiday was to visit the home of a certain John Davison, a very successful and award winning film producer.  He lived here with his wife Joan and their four daughters – four year old Jean, seven year old Dawn, ten year old Heather, and twelve year old Fiona.

 

Because it was a remote farmhouse, Janna and I had to approach rather openly – so we drove to the yard outside the house, having made an appointment to talk to Joan about a guide book she had written.  We were both smartly dressed – I had on a dark suit, white shirt, tie and shoes, while Janna wore a black trouser suit over a grey jumper, and black ankle boots.  But we had everything we needed in two laptop cases, and so when we got out, the dark glasses were the only disguise we had.

 

At that point.  We walked up to the doorbell and rang it, to be greeted by Joan.  She was casually dressed – a denim jacket over a long lilac covered dress, with black sandals on her feet.  She welcomed us and asked if we wanted some coffee, and took us through to her home office.  We could hear two young girls talking in the front room, as we sat down and looked round.

 

Joan excused herself for a minute to fetch some coffee – which was the opportunity we needed to remove the glasses, and add the stocking masks over our heads, Janna tucking it under the neck of her sweater, and me into my shirt.  I then stood by the door and waited as Joan came in, put the tray down, walked round the table – and saw Janna sitting there, masked and smiling as she pointed her starting pistol at Joan, and I closed the door.

 

She looked at us, and then said “oh god – what do you want?”  Janna smiled, and said we were here for two purposes – but the one Joan should focus on was that we needed her to persuade the girls she and her husband had arranged a very special game for all of them – one of Robbers.

 

There was the light of recognition in her eyes as she realised who we were, and then pleaded with us not to hurt the girls.  I smiled at that, and said the very reason for telling them this was a game was to keep them calm and make sure they did not get hurt.  She nodded at that, and asked what we were going to do. 

 

Janna asked her to stand up, and I walked behind her, taking a length of rope from my pocket as I asked her to take her jacket off.  She did so, putting it on the chair as I guided her wrists behind her back and tied them together, and then smiled as I said we were going to take care of the girls next – starting with the youngest.

 

She didn’t like that idea too much, so I explained if they were happy, then the older girls would play along, even if they knew what was really happening.  That made her a little happier, as she wriggled her fingers, the rope on her bare wrists – the dress was a sleeveless one.  Janna and I then picked up our laptop bags, as we asked Joan to take us to the girls.

 

She led us to the front room, where we found Jean and Dawn watching television.  Unlike her mother with her long brown hair, Jean had long blonde hair, and was wearing a purple dress.  The dress had lilac sleeves, and a white collar and fringe, and she was also wearing pale blue Ugg boots.

 

Dawn was sitting next to her on the couch, also wearing a long sleeved purple dress, but hers had a grey hem at the bottom.  The dress came down to her knees, and we could see the white tights she was wearing under the grey corduroy boots, with two big buttons on the side of each one.

 

Dawn looked at us, and said “Mummy, what’s going on?”

 

“Jean, Dawn,” Joan said with a smile, “we’re all going to play a special game that Daddy and I have arranged.  These people are pretending they are robbers, and have come to take some things from us, but it is just a game.”

 

“Does that mean they are going to be bad to us,” Jean said quietly as she looked at us.  Janna shook her head, and said “no – but as part of the game, you, your sisters and your mum are going to be left so you cannot move or talk very easily.  IT’s a big adventure – would you like to see what your mum has already done?”

 

The two girls nodded as they walked over and look at Joan’s wrists, before Janna said “would you like me to do that to you now – as part of the game?”

 

“Okay – we’ll play, won’t we Jean,” Dawn said, the younger girl nodding as I took some cords from my bag, and then tied the wrists of each of them together behind their backs.

 

“Now, the bad robbers need to make sure you stay in the room…”

 

“I want to go with Mummy, to see what happens to the others?”

 

Janna looked at Jean, and nodded as I said “well, let me show you how you are going to be later on your sister, so that you can tell your sisters what’s going to happen, and that it doesn’t hurt.”

 

“Okay then,” Dawn said as I took a longer length of rope, and tied it round her arms and body so that they were locked in place.  She then sat on the couch, and as I took two more lengths of cord out, Jean looked at her mother and said “Will they do that to us as well now Mummy?”

 

“Would you like them to,” Joan said as she smiled, and as Jean nodded Janna got some longer lengths of rope from her bag, and bound Jean’s arms to her side, as well as her mothers.  Meanwhile, I tied Dawn’s ankles tightly together, and then folded her skirt back as I secured her legs together below her knees.

 

“I can’t move Mum,” she said as she wriggled round.   “So what happens now, Mister Robber?”

 

“Well – do you promise to stay quiet while we go and fetch your sisters, or do I have to do something to stop you talking?”

 

“Stop me talking,” Dawn said, so I took a red scarf from my bag, rolled it up and used it as a cleave gag, before I said “why don’t we go and get your sisters now?”  We left Dawn watching the television and walked up the staircase.  Joan indicate one door, which we could hear music from, so we opened it and walked in.

 

Fiona was lying on her bed, reading a book when we came in as the radio played.  She was wearing a white top with a raunched front, purple pants, and the same style of grey boot as Dawn, her light hair falling over her shoulders.  She looked up – and then jumped up as she said “oh no – Mum…”

 

“It’s all right Fiona,” Joan said quietly, “this is a game we’re all going to play.  These are actors, and they do this thing where they pretend to be robbing a family, and as part of that everyone plays this tie-up game.  See – Jean is happy, aren’t you Jean?”

 

“Yes,” Jean said as she twisted round, “and Dawn is playing as well.  Please play with us Fiona.”

 

She looked at us, and then nodded as she said “all right – what do I need to do?”

 

“Turn round and put your hands behind your back,” Janna said, and as she did so she felt the rope binding her wrists together, going around and between her arms.  Her arms were then secured to her sides with longer ropes, forming the two bands over her stomach and her upper arms, before Janna tied it off.

 

“Now,” I said, “we go and get your oldest sister to play, before we all go back down and join Dawn.  Then my friend here can get drinks and cookies for everyone, before we do the next bit of the game.”

 

Fiona nodded as we left her room, Janna staying with her and Jean outside while I knocked on the door.

 

“What is it?”

 

“Can I come in for a moment Heather,” Joan said, and I asked the others to wait outside as I went in with Joan.  The oldest daughter was at her desk, a purple scarf tied round her neck and covering the tops of her grey jumper and the white top underneath.  The legs of her jeans were tucked into a pair of brown fringed boots, and as she looked at us she went “mum?”

 

“Listen carefully, I do not want to shout,” Joan said as she walked over.  “We’re bene robbed by this man and his female friend outside, and they have me and the other girls tied up.  But as far as they are concerned, this is a game organized by me and your father.”

 

Heather looked at me, and said “they’re the people in the papers – the Games Players?”

 

“That’s right – but you’re old enough to know what’s really going on.  He is going to bind your wrists and arms, and then we will join the others – but I need you to keep pretending this is a big game as well, so that they don’t panic.  Please, do that for me and them Heather?”

 

The older girl nodded as I walked behind her, and bound her wrists together behind her back, as well as her arms to her sides.  “I want to do something, if you will allow me – use the scarf in your mouth, so that the girls see what happens if you try to call for help.  I promise, it will only be for a few minutes.”

 

“Okay then,” Heather said as I removed her scarf, and pulled it into her open mouth as Joan kissed her on the forehead.  I then opened the door, and said “your older sister would not be quiet, so I had to use this for a while.”

 

“Are you all right,” Fiona asked, Heather nodding as she said “Htsohrtfftheghm” as we all walked back down the stairs, and into the front room.  Huuhghhsss,” Dawn said as they watched her wriggle her legs round, before the four girls sat on the couch, side by side.  Janna then secured their ankles together, and their legs below their knees – lifting Jean’s skirt back to do so, and then putting it down, before she said “I’ll go and get the drinks and cookies.”

 

“Now,” I said as she left, “hen my friend comes back, I’ll make sure you all get something to eat and drink – and then I need to take your mum for a walk round the house.  My friend will stay with you – but that’s when we do have to stop you all from talking for a while.”

 

“Okay mister robber,” Jean said with a smile as Janna brought the drinks and a plate of biscuits in, and I removed the gags from Dawn and Heather.

 

“Are you all enjoying the game so far,” Heather said, the other three girls nodding as Janna put a straw into the glass, and allowed her to have a drink first.

 

 

 

“All right, had everyone had enough?”  As they all nodded Janna took four white cloths from her bag and folded them, before saying “I’m going to put these in your mouths, and then some tape over your lips.  It won’t hurt, and you can pretend to struggle if you want, but don’t try too hard, all right?”

 

The four girls nodded as one by one their mouths were stuffed, and their lips covered with wide strips of white medical tape, looking at each other as I said “Mum is going to come with me now.  I wonder – while we’re away, want to find out if anyone of them want to be more unable to move?”

 

Janna nodded as I took Joan by the arm, and said “let’s go and have a look in your room…”

 

 

 

When we came back, Joan looked at her two older daughters, and said “huuhllrhttt?”

 

Yssmhm,” Heather said as she and Fiona lay on their stomachs on the floor, their ankles pulled back and tied to their chest ropes.  Dawn was sat in the armchair, her legs ticked under her, and I could see Jana had tied rope from her ankles to the chest ropes at her back as well.

 

Jean looked over, and said “chnnhhlhhnuhhmhhmmm?”

 

Joan nodded – I had folded one of her headscarves and put it into her mouth, then taped her lips over – as she sat at one end of the couch, watching as I tied her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees, gathering the skirt of her dress as I did so.  Jean was then helped by Janna to lie with her head on her mother’s lap, as I said “the bad robbers will leave you now – we’ll watch, and you can try and escape after the film has finished.”

 

Well, naturally, we left – and called an hour later from a nearby town to let the authorities know of their situation…

 

********

 

This one is a tale of two sisters, and their daughters – actually, let me be honest at the start.  This a tale of twin sisters, and their daughters who look so alike they could be sisters…

 

Alderley Edge is a very, very exclusive area in Cheshire – at one time, if you were a footballer in Manchester at one of the two big clubs, chances were you lived with your family there.  But it wasn’t the family of a footballer I was going to call on.  Rather, it was the family of one of the local bank managers.  Cathy Grayling was in her early thirties, and lived in a very nice house in the village centre with her husband and her six year old daughter Jen.  Cathy came from a Chinese family, and as I watched her walking back from the local shop with Jen her heritage was obvious.  Her long dark hair came over the shoulders of her grey hooded top, a pale blue vest underneath, while the legs of her dark blue jeans were ticked into a pair of soft grey suede booties.

 

Jen was wearing a light blue gilet over a long sleeved blue jersey dress, light grey leggings, and a pair of light brown soft boots with a bear face on the upper of the foot.  Very nice and cute – and as they walked up to their front door, and Cathy let them both in, I checked my supplies before heading out of the car, and up the back alley.

 

I was in my usual attire for this game – black leather jacket over a roll neck sweater, leggings, knee length boots with a flat sole, gloves, and as I made my way into their garden I pulled the stocking down over my head, pressing my hair down as I smiled walking to the rear door.

 

It was unlocked, and so I slipped inside – just in time to see Jen coming into the kitchen.  She looked at me, and I put a gloved finger to my lips as I heard Cathy say “wait up, little one – let me come and…”

 

“Hello,” I said as she came in, staring at me as she put her hands on her daughter’s shoulders, “You must be Cathy and Jen.  I’ve come from the agency you spoke to – about the special game you wanted to play?”

 

“Special game?  What spec…”  Cathy looked at me for a moment, her head to one side, and then said “oh…  Right…  That special game…”

 

“Ah, now you remember,” I said with a smile as I looked at the kitchen table.  “Perhaps you should sit down, Cathy, and tell Jen what’s going to happen.”

 

I watched as Cathy sat her daughter in the chair, and said “Jen, you know how much your dad and I love you, right?”

 

“Yes, Mummy,” the little girl said as she looked at me.

 

“Well, we decided that we wanted you to know what it could be like if – and it’s unlikely – somebody bad wanted me or your daddy to do something.  So we contacted a special agency, who will come and pretend to be the bad people, and play a game with us.”

 

“What sort of game?”

 

“Well,” Cathy said as she looked at me, “she has a mask on because she is pretending to be a bad person.  She is going to make this just as if one of them came, but it’s all make believe – and nothing bad is going to happen to you.  Isn’t that right,” she finished as she looked at me.

 

“That’s right Jen,” I said with a smile, “part of the game is you and your mummy are not going to be able to move or talk for a while, but you will both be together and play along together.  Now, did your mummy say she was going to get you a drink?”

 

As she nodded, I looked at Cathy and said “well, Jen should have her drink – and then I can show you how Mummy is going to be as part of the game.”

 

Jen nodded as her mother went to the fridge, while I put my rucksack on the table, and took out a length of rope.   “Hold this for me,” I said as I gave it to Jen, “tell me how it feels to you?”

 

“It feels soft,” Jen said as Cathy put a glass of milk on the table, and she gave me back the rope.  Taking a drink, she watched as I guided Cathy’s hands behind her back, crossing her wrists before I tied them tightly together.

 

“Is it all right, Mummy,” Jen said as I tied the knot off.  Cathy nodded, and said “it doesn’t hurt – come and have a look.”  I watched as Jen walked round and touched the bands of rope, then said “are you going to do that to me as well?”

 

“I am,” I said as I took another length out, “so put your hands behind your back, Jen, and once I’m done, we’ll go and sit in the front room.”  The little girl put her hands behind her, Cathy smiling to encourage her as I crossed her wrists and tied them together as well.  When I had finished, she wriggled her fingers and said “it’s tight, but it’s nice.  What happens now, lady?”

 

“Let’s go into the front room,” I said as I picked my rucksack up, “and then we can see what happens.”  The two of them walked in front of me as we went into the front room, and I looked round, before saying “why don’t you sit next to each other on the couch.”

 

As they did so, I went and closed the curtains, before I came back in and said “now, the bad robber lady needs to use some more ropes to keep you from getting your hands free.”  I took a longer length of rope from my bag, and looked at Jen as I said “would you like to go first this time?”

 

“Okay,” she said as she shuffled off the seat and stood up, her mother watching as I wrapped the rope around her body and pulled it tight round her tummy, then mad two bands to hold her arms against her sides – then tied that rope off, and used two shorter lengths to tighten the bands even more.  I then helped her to sit back on the seat, and Cathy to stand up, before I tied her arms to her sides as well, framing her chest as I did so.

 

“It feels like a big hug Mummy,” Jen said as she wriggled round, Cathy nodding and saying “it is, isn’t it,” as I took the rope under one arm, around the back of her neck, and under her other arm.  It was as I tied this off that the doorbell rang.

 

“Jen, I need you to be very quiet – your mummy and I will be right back,” I said as I took Cathy out, and whispered “whoever it is, get rid of them quickly, or they will be playing as well.”

 

She nodded as she stood at the door, and I opened it slightly so that she could poke her head round.  “There you are Sis – what kept you,” was the female voice I heard before the door was pushed in, and a ten year old girl came in, who looked like an older version of Jen.  She was wearing a fur jacket with pale blue sleeves, the hem of a grey top visible under the jacket, a blue denim tiered skirt, dark blue leggings and a pair of tan Ugg boots with a fur lining.

 

“Hey Aunt Cathy – what is…” she said and then she saw me, and her aunt, before a woman came in, the spitting image of Cathy.  “What the…” was her response as she looked at me, while I closed the door.

 

“Clare,” Cathy said quietly, “I wasn’t expecting you or Pippa today.  I’m afraid you’ve interrupted a game.”  Clare was wearing a brown Hunter style jacket over a cream sweater, the collar of a white blouse visible at the neckline, blue jeans and knee length black leather boots.  “This is an actress who is pretending to be a robber – and Jen and I are the people she is robbing.”

 

“And she did this to you,” Clare said quietly.

 

“I did,” I said with a smile, “and Jen as well.  Are you sisters?”

 

“Twin sisters,” Clare said, and then she looked properly at me, and said “oh…”

 

“You understand,” Cathy said, Clare nodding as Pippa said “can I see Jen?”

 

“Why don’t we all go and see her,” I said as we walked back into the front room, Jen looking over and saying “hey Pippa – the bad lady had tied our hands and arms.  Is she going to do yours as well?”

 

“I…  I think she will be,” Clare said as I nodded, and said “why don’t you both put your hands behind your back – I’ll do to both of you what I have done to your sister and cousin, and then we can go on to the next stage of the game.”

 

“So long as we stay together,” Clare said as she and Pippa stood with their hands behind their backs, Cathy sitting with Jen and talking to her as I made sure they both had their wrists tied together, and their arms tied to their sides, Pippa wriggling after I had tied the knots.

 

“Now then,” I said as I looked at them, “before I take your mummy for a walk round the house, Jen, I need to make sure you, your aunt and your cousin all stay in this room.  Mummy will come back and join you after the walk, all right?”

 

“So are you going to tie our legs like our arms?”

 

“In the same way,” I said as I looked at Clare.  “Cathy, stand up please, and your sister can sit between both of them.”

 

“It’s fun, isn’t it Aunt Clare,” Jen said as she shuffled over, Clare sitting down and then Pippa next to her as I took some more ropes out of the rucksack.  I started with Jen, the rope sinking into the soft material of her booties as I tied her ankles tightly together, and then secured her legs together below her knees, making her giggle as I passed the rope between her legs.  I then tied Pippa’s ankles and legs in the same way, both of them with their feet hanging over the edge of the seat before I asked Clare to put her feet on the coffee table for a moment.

 

As she did so, I crossed and bound her ankles tightly together, and secured her legs below her knees, before she lowered them and wriggled with the girls.

 

“I’m going to turn the television on, and find something for the girls to watch,” I said then, and after I found a program for them I made sure I had both the mobile phones of the mums.  I then said “can I trust all of you not to call for help while Jen’s mummy is out of the room, or do I need to make sure you stay quiet.”

 

“You can trust us,” Clare said, the two girls nodding as I escorted Cathy out.  As I closed the door to, I said “can I trust them?”

 

“You can – they’re not scared, and my sister will not do anything stupid so that they are.  I presume you now wish to actually rob me?”

 

“Your perception is correct – please, cooperate and minimize the mess that may be made.  Shall we?”

 

 

 

 

When we returned a while later, Clare was leading the two girls in a sing-a-long to the program on the television.  “Having fun,” I said, both of them nodding as Cathy sat in an armchair, and I bound her ankles and legs together as well.

 

“I have a challenge for you,” I then said as I stood up, “how do you think it would sound if you tried to sing along, but you could not talk.”

 

“How would you do that,” Jen asked as the mothers looked at me.

 

“Well, first things first – I have these sponge balls,” I said as I took them from my bag, “do you think you could fit one of them into your mouth?”  The two girls nodded as I compressed two of the balls, and then their eyes opened as I pushed them into their mouths, the sponge expanding behind their teeth.

 

Whtshhtdhn,” Pippa said as I compressed the other two balls.

 

“It keeps your tongue down and stops you making much noise – doesn’t it Mummies,” I said as a ball went into their mouths as well, Jen giggling at the red sponge between Cathy’s teeth as her mother said “Whhchnntthlkffrrr.”

 

“Now,” I said as I took a roll of white tape from my bag, and peeled the tape free, “this makes sure you cannot open your mouth and push the ball out.”  I tore a strip off and pressed it firmly over each of their mouths as they looked at each other, before I said “Just breath through your nose, you’ll all be fine.”

 

Bhtthwsdhdwhwshn?”

 

“You try,” I said as I found Frozen and got it ready to play.  “But first – let’s do something to make sure none of you can really move.”  I put two cushions on the floor, and helped Cathy and Clare to lie on their stomachs, pulling their ankles back and tying them to their chest ropes as their heads lay on the cushions.

 

I then helped the two girls to lie on their sides, heads on the two arms of the couch, and tied their ankles to their chest ropes, before I said “the bad robber will watch for a while – but when the film finishes, you can try to get free.  Just don’t do anything that could hurt you, all right?”

 

All four of them nodded as I made my excuses, and left the room – and then the house…

 

 

 

 

 

 

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