Mother and Daughter Moments 38
I also recently visited a Muslim family – perhaps not quite as strict and particular as the one Janna visited, but we still managed to make it a fun time for all.
This was actually when I was visiting Gibraltar – a story for another day – and I saw them leaving a jewellery store. The mother looked to be in her early thirties, and was wearing a white headscarf over her head and shoulders, a long sleeved black tunic with white herringbone stripes, black leggings and tan suede ankle boots.
With her were two girls, aged I’d guess twelve and ten. The older girl was wearing a black leather blouson jacket over a grey t-shirt with “REBEL GIRL” printed on the front, dark jeans and black biker boots. Her sister had a black baseball jacket on over a grey top with a pattern on the front, dark leggings and shorter grey leather boots.
As they walked down the old street, talking to each other, I followed at a distance – I needed to see where they lived, and then I figured I would need to obtain some supplies…
When I returned to the apartment block they lived in, I decided to take the direct approach, and knocked on the front door with a gloved hand – after I pulled the stocking down over my head. It was their mother who opened the door, and then stepped back in surprise as I came in, and held her against the wall, my hand over her mouth as I used my foot to close the door.
“Let’s not have any fuss,” I said quietly as I looked at her, “all I want is your valuables, and for you and your daughters to play a game of robbers. Do as I say, and everyone gets to have some enjoyment. Nod if you understand?”
I had taken a gamble here – she might not have spoken any English – but she nodded as I said “good – now, when I take my hand away, speak quietly and tell me your name.”
As I took my hand away, she stared at me and said “Rachel – who are you?”
“Not important – what is important is you tell your daughters what is happening now, and what is going to happen, is just a game, all right?”
“Are you going to hurt us?”
“No – but I do need to make sure none of you can raise the alarm. So, I want you to turn round, and put your hands behind your back. Once I have them secured, Rachel, you can introduce me to your girls.”
As she turned round, I took from the bag I was carrying a plastic zip tie – I normally would not use them, but this was an occasion when I had to work with what I could get. I held her wrists together and then tightened the plastic strip round them so that they were held firmly together, as she wriggled her fingers, but making sure I kept it over the cuffs of her top.
“Now then,” I said quietly, “let’s go and make sure your girls are secured.” She nodded as we walked into the front room, and I saw the two girls sitting in chairs at a table.
“Girls,” she said quietly, “we’re going to play a game of robbers – this man is pretending to me one and he’s going to make sure we cannot move for a while – or I suspect talk. Perhaps we can all watch a film together, and we see what happens.”
The older girl looked at me, and then said “okay Mamma – what do we have to do?”
“Why don’t you both take your seats and sit in front of the television,” I said with a smile, “and then I’ll make sure you stay in your seats, and your mother stays on the couch. Will you do that for me?”
As they moved their chairs, I directed their mother to a recliner and asked her to make herself comfortable on it. As she did so, I took another zip tie and secured her ankles together as I had her wrists.
“Are you going to use them on us?” her younger daughter said as I used a third one on her legs, below her knees.
“I will on your legs, but not your arms,” I said with a smile, “for them, I need you both to sit on the chairs, and put your hands on your heads for a few minutes.”
“Let’s do as he says,” the older girl said to her sister, and while they sat down I took out of my bag a roll of silver duct tape. I then wrapped the tape round their waists and the chair back, so that they were held in place there, and then asked them to put their hands in front of themselves. Their mother then watched as I taped their wrists together, with their hands palm to palm, and took the tape over their hands as well so that they were covered. I then wrapped more tape round their upper arms and body so they could only wriggle round.
I still had five zip ties left so I used four of them on the girls, to secure their ankles and then their legs below their knees. Both of them wriggled their legs round, making their boots squeak, before I went back to their mother, and helped her to lie on her side.
“We’re not going anywhere now,” she said as I bent her legs slightly, and used the last zip tie to secure her wrists to her ankles. I then took a small sponge ball from my bag, compressed it, and told her to open her mouth.
The girls watched as I eased the sponge in, and their mother closed her lips over it, before I tore a strip of brown sticking plaster form a roll and pressed it down over her mouth. She looked at her girls and said “dhnntbhfhrdhhdd,” the girls giggling as I compressed two more small sponge balls.
Once I had both of them nice and quiet, I turned the television on, and left them to watch a film while I looked round. When I looked in before I left, the girls were sitting quietly, while their mother was trying to get her wrists or legs free – unlikely, the way I had left the ties…
Let me tell you a story of two sisters, two cousins, and a nice playful afternoon…
It was the October mid-term holiday, and I had left our daughter in her nursery for the day while I drove to the other side of the city. Steve and I had spent a few weeks researching a man called Donald Yates who ran a very successful small chain of bars in the area – Steve liked the Real Ale they served in there, but it was the jewellery in the photo of him with his wife that also interested us.
He was married to Yvette, and they had an eight year old daughter called Monica. As I parked outside their house, and watched Donald leaving for the day, I knew Yvette and Monica were inside, as it was the school holidays – so I waited a while, and then checked my bag before I got out of the car.
I was wearing my usual outfit for this visit – a black leather jacket and tight leggings with over the knee leather boots, and a roll neck sweater under the jacket. I smiled as I looked round, and then walked up the side of the house, slipping into the garage area at the side before I took a moment to put my leather gloves on, and then pull the stocking down over my head before I looked round the back.
The garden was clear, so I made my way along and then slipped inside the rear door, finding myself in the kitchen – and seeing young Monica sitting at the kitchen table, drawing in a book. Her light brown hair was held back by a white hairband, and she was wearing a white cardigan over a blue top, a grey skirt with a leopard print, blue leggings, and short brown leather boots, orange socks over her legs and the top.
She looked at me, and put her coloured pencil down as she said “who are you?”
“Me? I’m here to play a game with you and your mummy, Monica – do you think you’d like to play a game with me?”
“I don’t know,” Monica said quietly, “what sort of game?”
“Well, it’s a game where you get to be with your mummy, and you can try to see who wins a game first – but to do this, you have to believe I am a robber, and I need to do things to stop you and your mummy raising the alarm. I know it may be a bit scary to think about that, but…”
Monica looked at me, and then showed me the book next to her colouring book – a Nancy Drew one. “Like the girls in this book,” she said, and when I nodded she smiled. “Josie and I love these books – what are you going to do, tie me up?”
“Well, you and your mummy,” I said as I put my bag down, and took a length of white rope from it. “Who is Josie?”
“My cousin – do I put my hands behind my back?”
“Please,” I said with a smile, and then I doubled over the rope before I tied her wrists firmly together behind her back. As I tied the ropes off, I heard footsteps, and whispered “let me do the talking” to Monica before I put my hand over her mouth.
“Do you want a drink, Mo…” I smiled as Yvette came in, looking at both of us. She had a mustard cardigan on over a white top, a long blue scarf hanging round her neck and in front of her. The legs of her blue jeans were tucked into knee length flat soled tan leather boots, and her eyes were wide open.
“Whrrbhnrhhbbhhdmhhm,” Monica giggled under my hand, as I said “let’s not panic Yvette. This is the special game you hired me to play, and I’ve already got your daughter as a hostage, so you’re going to do exactly what I say, aren’t you?”
Yvette looked at Monica as I felt her nod under my hand, and then she nodded as she said “all right, just don’t hurt us.”
“I won’t, if you do as I say. Are you going to be quiet little one?”
“Yhsss,” Monica mumbled as I took my hand away, and said “sit down then. Yvette, come and stand in front of me, and put your hands behind your back. I need to make sure you and your daughter cannot stop me from doing what I have to do.”
“This is going to be a very special game, sweetheart,” Yvette said as she looked at Monica, while I took her hands behind her back, crossed her wrists, and then tied them tightly together with the rope. As she wriggled her fingers, I poured Monica a glass of milk, and put a straw in it before I put it in front of her, and said “have a drink, Monica, while I make sure your mummy cannot move her arms.
Monica nodded and started to drink, watching as took a longer length of rope from my bag and wrapped it round Yvette’s body, forcing her arms into her sides and her cardigan to either side of her chest as I took the rope above and below her chest.
“Wow – are you going to do that to me as well,” Monica said as I tied the rope off, and looked at her.
“I am indeed – so finish your drink, and then I’ll take care of you as well,” I said as I helped Yvette to sit in another chair, and then bound Monica’s arms tightly to her sides as well. When I had finished, she wriggled round and said “the bad lady has captured Mancy and her mummy!”
“She has indeed,” Yvette said as she stood up, and said “so where are we going now?”
“Let’s go into the front room,” I said as I picked up my bag, and we walked down the hallway – only to stop as the front door opened and a six year old girl came in, a woman who looked very like Yvonne behind her.
“Coo – what’s going on Monica,” the girl said as she looked at us. She had a short denim waistcoat on over a white long sleeved top with thin black horizontal stripes, black jeans and short tan boots, while the other woman was wearing a short fur jerkin over a black blouse, faded jeans and mid=calf loose brown leather boots.
“We’re playing Nancy Drew Josie,” Monica said as she twisted round, “and now you and Aunt Suzie can play as well!”
“It’s true,” Yvonne said with a smile, “I guess you’re going to play along as well Sis.”
The older woman looked at me, and then closed the door as she said “I must be losing my head. All right – so this lady is holding us hostage as well?”
“I am – so you and your daughter put your hands on your heads, and we all walk into the front room.” As they did this, I followed with Monica and Yvonne, before I said “Suzie, pleas draw the curtains – and no raising the alarm, all right? Josie, come and stand in front of me while your aunt and cousin have a seat.”
And you know what? They did as they were asked – Yvonne sitting next to her daughter, Suzie walking to the window and pulling the curtains over, while Josie grinned as she stood in front of me. I took some rope from my bag, and started to tie her wrists behind her back as Josie turned, putting her hands on her head again and winking at her daughter.
“The games these girls talk about – guess we’re playing along now,” she said as I tied the rope of, and then passed more rope around Josie’s arms and body as I tied her in the same way as her cousin.
“There now,” I said as I tied the rope off. “Now I’m going to do the same to your mother, before I make sure you and Monica stay here and watch something.”
“And what are you going to do with us,” Suzie asked as I walked behind her, and tied her wrists tightly together behind her back, and then bound her arms to her sides.
“Well, let’s make sure your girls are happy first,” I said with a smile as I helped her to sit on a chair, and took more ropes out of the bag. Kneeling down, I smiled as I crossed Monica’s ankles and tied them tightly together, the girls giggling as her boots rubbed together, and then secured her legs together below her knees.
“This is really fun,” Monica said, Josie nodding as I tied the younger girl’s ankles and legs together, and then stood up as both girls swung their legs to and fro.
“Now, I need to take your mummies for a walk, but I am going to put the television on – and then I need to make sure you both stay quiet. In a little while, I’ll come back and take you to be with them, and then you can play the game of escape. All right?”
Both girls nodded as I turned the television on, and found a kid’s channel, before I took two white scarves from my bag, rolling each one into a band and tying a knot in the middle.
“Now then,” I said quietly, “who gets to be first?”
Yvonne and Suzie watched as I eased the knots into their mouths, their lips closing over the white band as I tied the scarves tightly round their heads, both girls nodding before I helped them both to stand up.
“Have fun,” I said as Scooby Doo started, and I took the two older women out of the room, closing the door before Yvonne said “A game? Are you the Games Player?”
“I am,” I replied with a smile as Suzie looked at Yvonne, “and thank you both for playing along. Now, we’re going to go upstairs, and you Yvonne are going to show me where your valuables are. And then, I will make sure you cannot move or call for help, and your daughters can join you for a game of Escape. Okay? Good – let’s walk upstairs, shall we?”
“There now – comfortable?”
Suzie nodded as she lay on the bed, a blue scarf pulled between her lips as the knot kept the folded panties inside her mouth. I had bound her legs at the ankles and below her knees, then pulled her ankles back and tied them to her chest ropes.
“Good – I’ll bring Josie up to you,” I said, Suzie nodding as I walked slowly down the stairs and looked in the front room.
“Hshhtthm,” Josie said as she looked at me, the corners of her mouth pulled back and the white scarf growing grey.
“It is – I’ll take you first, and then take Monica to be with her mother, all right?”
Monica nodded as I lifted Josie up and carried her up the stairs, and then came back down, lifting Monica up as she said “fhnkuhhh.”
“You’re welcome,” I said with a smile as I took her up the stairs, and into her parent’s bedroom. As we passed the spare room, she looked in to see Josie and her aunt side by side – and then she said “Hllhhnhhmm” as I carried her in.
“Hllhhmhnnhch” Joanna said as I put her on her side, facing her mother. I then took more rope and pulled Monica’s ankles back, tying them to her chest ropes as she looked at her mother.
Yvonne had a black scarf tied between her lips, and like her sister she had a pair of panties in her mouth as well, her legs pulled back and secured in a hogtie. She shuffled forward and rubbed her head on Monica, as I said “wait fifteen minutes, and then you can see who gets free first.” As both of them nodded, I picked my bag up – heavy again – and left them, giving the same message to Suzie and Josie before I left the house…
I trust that you are well, and that the business trip was not interrupted too much by the news that you received. I assure you, both Suki and I are unharmed, if a little shaken, but what happened happened in such a way that, despite the material loss, it was an experience we have both thought through and come to appreciate in a strange way.
I did feel, however, it was right to tell you exactly what happened last Sunday afternoon, so that your mind may be set completely at ease. We had attended Church, and I had taken Suki to that coffee shop we all love down by the river. I was wearing my long coat with the large coloured check, and the matching skirt, with the white blouse that has the lace collar and cuffs, as well as those long off white suede boots you like so much.
As for Suki, she was wearing her Sunday dress she loves so much, the one with the grey velvet body and skirt that come to her knees, and the long layered overskirt of lace. She also had on her soft black felt boots, and I had at her request pulled her hair back in a ponytail. Finally, she had put on her grey jacket with the sequins sewn into it all over.
As I said, we went to the coffee shop, and had a late lunch there before heading home. As we entered the house, Suki walked into the front room, while I went to our room, removed my coat and hung it in the closet, and then went to the front room – and that was when I saw the man behind Suki.
He was a tall man, wearing a black jacket over a sweater, trousers and leather shoes – but he also had a pair of leather gloves on, and there was a dark stocking pulled down over his head, so that his face was covered and obscured. Suki must have walked in on him – but to my surprise, she was not afraid, but instead seemed to be excited. I did wonder what was going on, but that was when Suki thanked me for arranging such a wonderful surprise game for her.
That was when I realised who the man was. You will have read, dear, of a man and woman known as the Games Player – two robbers, but their way of working is to make the younger members of the family they visit believe this is a game arranged by their parents. As I looked again at him, I realised he matched the description in the reports – and as he smiled and asked me to confirm this had been booked by you, I had to answer in the affirmative.
I hope you will forgive me that lie, dearest husband, but my concern then was to ensure Suki was not afraid, so I said we had indeed arranged this game, and asked the Player what he was going to do. His smile grew larger, as he said he was playing the part of a bad robber, and as part of the game he was going to do what a real burglar would – make sure that neither I nor Suki could raise the alarm.
The dividing doors to the dining room were open, and he told me as he stood with his gloved hand on our daughter’s shoulder to bring two of the dining room chairs through, and put them next to each other in front of the television. As I walked through, I wondered just what he was going to do, and how long we would be there, but what choice did I have?
As I put the first chair down, the Player told Suki to sit on the chair, and then to put her hands behind her back. As you know, the backs of our dining room chairs have three slats with a gap between them – and I wondered if he was going to begin by binding Suki’s wrists so that she could not move her arms.
When I brought the second chair in, I saw that was indeed what he had done – He had guided Suki’s arms between the slats, and told her to sit back as he used some sort of white rope to tie her wrists together. I asked her if she was all right, and she smiled and nodded as I watched him take the rope between her wrists, and then tie the ends to the place that central spar met the chair seat.
I was then invited to sit in the other chair, and to put my arms around the chair back. Suki watched as I did that, smiling and nodding as the Player used the same rope to bind my wrists together. I have to admit, dearest, that although her bound my wrists tightly together, and then secured them in the same place on my chair as he had Suki’s where she was sitting, it did not hurt – the rope was soft, and he took great care to make sure it was comfortable over the cuffs of my blouse.
I flexed my fingers and watched as the Player said he was going to make sure I could not move from the chair back, and then he would do the same to Suki. So she watched as he took from a rucksack a long length of rope, and then passed it round my upper arms, forcing my arms into my sides as it sat there. He then took the rope around my stomach, repeating it several times above and below my chest. He then took the rope round the chair back, so that I was held fast, before taking the rope under one arm, up and around the back of my neck, and under the other arm.
He then turned to Suki, but he did something different for her – tying the end of the rope to the chair, and then wrapping it round her body and the chair back. I was taken by the way the rope lightened her top as it was tightened round her, but when he had finished she was held just as tightly to the chair.
I wondered what he was going to do next, now fascinated by how exactly he was playing this out, and how much Suki was seeming to enjoy it as a game. He took more ropes from the rucksack, and knelt in front of me, before crossing my ankles and then binging them tightly together. Ge wrapped the rope round them, then pulled the ends back through the middle as it compressed the suede of my boots. Several more passes around, and then between my legs, before he tied the ends off – and then repeated the process around my legs below my knees.
Although the ropes were white, I’ could see where my boots were compressed by the bands, as Suki smiled and nodded. The Player then knelt in front of Suki, folded the lace of her skirt back, and tied her legs together below her knees as well, before he folded the skirt back and then secured her ankles side by side.
Somehow, neither of us were afraid, dearest – it was as if making it a game did indeed take the fear away from it, even though I knew we were about to have our valuables – our jewellery, our money – taken from us. The Player said he would fetch a drink for Suki, and he was as good as his word – bringing from the kitchen a glass of cold water with a straw in it, and allowing her to sip from it as he asked me for details of where our valuables and safe were.
Again, I must ask your forgiveness for giving him that information, but I knew I had no choice, to maintain the illusion of the game, and also to avoid any potentials scares for either of us. So I told him of my bureau, and to look in the walk in wardrobe and try the safe number you told to me.
When Suki had finished her drink, he turned the television on and found a film, then said he was going to look round, but he had to make sure we stayed quiet. From the bag, he took a red sponge ball, and compressed it in his hand as he told me to open my mouth. Suki watched, her eyes wide as he pushed the ball gently behind my teeth, and I felt it expand, pressing down my tongue and filling the space. He then took a smaller sponge ball, and put that into Suki’s mouth, before he produced a wide roll of white tape.
We both watched as he tore a long strip off, and then pressed it down firmly – but gently – over my mouth and chin, and then did the same to Suki. I could see the shape of her lips under the tape, but it held firm to my face, and I knew it was doing the same for our daughter as she tried to speak, but could not.
So instead, we watched the film, as I heard his footsteps as he left the room, and walked up the stairs. It was one of the Harry Potter films – the fourth one, I believe, which Suki likes – and we both watched quietly.
About a half hour later, the Player came back in, whispering his thanks into my ear for giving the correct combination, before he checked the ropes were still tight, and asked if we were all right. I watched as Suki nodded, and I nodded in agreement, before he said he would be watching from behind.
I heard him leave after a short while, but Suki was watching the film – and after a while, she started to fall asleep. As she did so, I heard her gently breathing in and out through my nose, and I relaxed, knowing help would eventually come – as indeed it did. The Player had alerted the appropriate authorities, and we were both released.
So be assured, my darling, we are both fine and none the worse for the ordeal – although you should know that Suki wonders if we can play the game again, with you as the robber. Perhaps we should discuss when you return?
Until then, we both miss you.
Your darling wife
How did that song from the soap go – “Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours?” Well, my most recent visit provided a good illustration of that…
Laura Jackson is a cookery writer and blogger, who lives on the Norfolk Broads with her husband, an actor, and their two children – eight year old Annika and six year old Benjamin. I had done my usual research on the family, and knew for example that her husband was currently away on a television shoot. The village they lived in was a quiet one, with one other cottage within walking distance of theirs, so I figured they would enjoy the game in relative peace and quiet.
It was a Saturday morning when I pulled up in the car park for a pub in the village, and got out, putting my rucksack over my shoulder before I set off. I was dressed for a country walk – a checked blouse over a grey t-shirt, grey leggings and long brown walking boots, so I looked the part with my black hat on as I walked down the high street, and turned the corner.
Of course, it was not my intention to visit the nearby wetlands bird sanctuary, as wonderful as it sounded – instead, I made my way to the rear of the Jackson house, pausing to put on my gloves, and pull down the rim of my hat so that the balaclava covered my face, leaving only my eyes and my red lips visible, before I made my way quickly across the lawn, and let myself into the back door.
I found myself in a hallway, and I could hear the sounds of Annika and Benjamin watching television, and of Laura talking on a telephone. So I walked slowly down the hall, seeing the very large and very well equipped kitchen through one door, and then Laura in what looked like an office. Her long blonde hair was pulled back, and she was wearing an off white jersey dress with a cowl neck. Her legs were bare, her feet in a pair of laced brown shoes.
“I’m glad you like the new recipes,” I heard her say as I took my rucksack off, and opened it to take out something, “the book will be with you for review at the end of next week. Look, I need to go – someone’s at the door. Talk to you tomorrow.”
I watched as she put the phone down, and stood for a moment with her hands on her desk, before she said “who are you, and what are you going in my house?” She turned to look at me, and saw the pistol in my gloved hand as she looked at me.
“Let me answer the second question first,” I said with a smile, “I’m here to rob you, and for the first question, the papers call me a Games Player.” I kept smiling as she looked at me, and then whispered “oh. Oh lord, then that means…”
“It does indeed – but here’s what I want to say. If you say this is a game, and you areal going to play the same game, then they won’t feel as scared at what is happening. You may feel a little less afraid as well – and of course, you want them to be unharmed, don’t you?”
I watched Laura as she thought about what I was saying, and then slowly nodded before she said “so what are you going to do?”
“Play a game of Robbers, of course – starting with you. Please, turn round and put your hands behind your back.” I watched as she did so, then slipped a length of white rope from my rucksack, doubling it over and securing her wrists tightly together as she looked back over her shoulder.
“Well, at least it doesn’t hurt,” she said quietly as she wriggled her fingers, while I took a longer length of rope from my rucksack. She then gave out a gasp as I wound that rope round her body, forcing her arms into her sides as I took it above and below her chest, and then took it under one arm, round the back of her neck and under the other arm.
“Does it have to be so tight?”
“It does – it can be dangerous otherwise, but it’s not uncomfortable, is it?” I watched Laura as she thought for a moment, and then shook her head as I put the gun in my rucksack, and then put it on my shoulder.
“Right then,” I said as I opened the door, “we go and get your children to play now, and remember – it’s just a game.” I walked Laura along the hallway, and then we went into the room where Annika and Benjamin were playing. Annika was literally looking like a leopard – in that she was wearing a long sleeve dress in orange material with a black leopard print on it, and matching tights that I could see under the puffball skirt of her dress. She was also wearing black slippers.
Benjamin was wearing a white polo shirt, brown cargo pants, white baseball boots, and a startled expression on his face as he looked at his mother. He had her shade of blonde hair, cut short, while Annika had longer brown hair.
“Mummy,” she finally said, “what’s going on?”
“We’re all going to play a special game,” Laura said as she walked over and sat down, her children sitting wither side of her, “a game of robbers – and this lady is an actress playing the part of the robber. Have a look at what she had done to me.”
I watched as Annika and Benjamin looked at the ropes around her arms and wrists, before Benjamin said “wow – s she going to do that as well to us?”
“I am – but don’t be scared, it won’t hurt, and it is just a game,” I said with a smile, “so you can start by turning round slightly, and putting your hands behind your backs, while I make sure you can’t move them just like Mummy can’t.”
“It won’t hurt,” Laura said quietly as I crossed Annika’s wrists behind her back, and tied them tightly together, before I walked round and did the same thing to Benjamin. I then took two longer lengths of rope, and made sure they really had their arms fixed to their sides, as their mother said “now, I don’t think you two are going to be able to move from this room for a while, but I don’t want you to be scared – I may have to go for a walk to pretend the bad robber is taking my nice things, but I’ll come back.”
“I don’t want you to go, Mummy,” Benjamin said as I took two more lengths of rope, and knelt down, putting his ankles together and tying them in the same way I had tied his wrists, and then secured his legs together below his knees, making sure I took the rope between as well as around his ankles.
“I know you want me to stay here,” Laura said as I moved over, and bound Annika’s ankles and legs in the same way, the white band showing up over her tights, “but I promise you, it won’t be for too long.”
“I’ll be here as well,” Annika said as she twisted her legs round, then moved them up and down, “and we can watch the television – can’t we, miss robber lady?”
“Of course you can – but I will need to make sure you can’t call for help while we are not in the room, so…” I looked at Benjamin, who was shaking his head as he started to cry, and said “no, I don’t wat to play…”
“Benny, I promise you…”
“What is going on? Laura?”
I turned to see another woman had come into the room – a young Muslim mother, with her six year old daughter holding her hand. The young girl had dark hair in a small knot on her head, and was wearing a blue jumper, denim skirt, white tights and camel ankle boots. Her mother was wearing a long brown top, dark leggings and over the knee brown suede boots, her head and shoulders covered by a fawn scarf.
“Oh no,” Laura whispered, “this… This is my neighbour Zara and her daughter Lois. Zara, Lois, this is a woman we employed to play a game of robbers with us.”
I watched Zara as she looked round the room, and then walked over to Benjamin, kneeling next to him and stroking his head as she said “I know you’re a little bit scared, but it is just a game Benjamin – if Lois and I play as well, will you play along too?”
Benjamin looked at the young girl and nodded, as Zara stood up and said “Lois, we’re going to play the game of robbers as well – what were you going to do, Miss Robber?”
“I was going to leave the children in ere while Laura and I walk round the house,” I said as I looked at Zara, watching her nod as she said “and they were to be quiet?”
“Then Lois and I have been unlucky enough to walk in on a robbery, and were left with them as well. I will watch them, Laura, and make sure they come to no harm.”
“So will we be like them, Mummy?” Lois said, and when she nodded she said “I want to sit with Benjamin.”
“Can she sit with me please, Miss Robber?”
“Of course she can,” I said as I took some rope from my rucksack, “do you want to be tied first, Lois?” she nodded, so Zara watched as I bound her daughter’s wrists and arms, and then watched as Laura stood up before Lois jumped onto the couch, watching as I said to Zara “hands behind your back, please.”
“I’m not as scared any more Mummy,” Benjamin said as he nudged Lois – I got the feeling there was a mutual liking there as Annika rolled her eyes and shook her head.
“Little brothers – they can be a pain, can’t they,” I said over Zara’s shoulder, Annika nodding as I made sure the wrists and then the arms of the young woman were well secured. I then invited her to sit in an armchair, the others watching as I tied her ankles, then her legs below her knees – and then did the same to Lois as she giggled and wriggled round.
“Now, the bad robber needs to take your mummy for a walk round the home,” I said as I looked at the three children and Zara, “So I need to make sure you all stay quiet. Put your lips together, and smile for me –when your mummy comes back, then you can all have a drink before the next part of the game.”
Laura watched as I took out a roll of white tape, and tore a strip off, pressing it over Zara’s mouth before doing the same to the three children, and then turning the television on. “Just sit quietly, we won’t be long,” Laura said as they all nodded, and we walked out.
“Now,” I said with a smile, “let’s start with your office, and the safe…”
When we came back into the room, Lois and Benjamin were trying to talk to each other, while Annika had fallen asleep, lying on her side with her head on the arm of the couch.
“We’ll let her rest,” I said as I put the try down, with glasses of water on it, and straws in the glasses, before I let Laura sit and bound her ankles and legs as well. As she wriggled round, I peeled the tape away from Benjamin and Lois’ lips, Benjamin smiling as he said “that was actually fun – thank you” before he took a sip form the glass.
“Yeah – this is a good game mama,” Lois said before she took a sip, Zara nodding before I peeled the tape away from her lips and allowed her to take a drink as well.
“So what is going to happen now,” she said as Laura took a drink as well.
“Now, the bad robber has to realty make sure you all stay quiet, and cannot raise the alarm,” I said as I took out of the roll two folded squares of cloth. I put one into Laura’s mouth, and one into Zara’s, before I covered their mouths with fresh strips of the white tape, the shape of their lips visible underneath.
“You’re not going to put anything in our mouths, are you,” Benjamin said quietly as I smoothed the tape over his mother’s mouth.
“No – with Annika asleep, I don’t want you to be different and upset her when she wakes up,” I said as I put fresh tape over their mouths, and then started a film for them all to watch as I quietly slipped away…
It has been a long and hot summer, and both Janna and I had taken some time to have a family holiday and such things – but we had been planning more visits during that time as well, and now was the time to get back to my other job, as I sometimes call it.
Bob and Mary Carr were lottery winners, and their picture had bene in the papers with their children, seven year old Maisie and three year old Chuck. They said they were living the time as they deserved to, but I did wonder what I would be able to find if I called round.
That was the challenge, however, as I found myself opening the door in the garage of their semi-detached house, and listening to see who was home. There was no obvious noise, but when I looked out of the window I could see Mary playing with Chuck. She was wearing a black top with jeans, her black boots coming up to her knees and over them at the front, while Chuck was wearing a white shirt and jeans. He was playing on a new swing set, so I decided to make my way into the main room of the house.
And that was where I found young Maisie, sitting at a table and doing her homework. She looked up at me, in my black jumper and pants, gloves and with the stocking pulled down over my head, and whispered “coo – are you a robber?”
Honest – an unusual trait, so I said “yes I am, and I’m going to rob your mummy today. What do you think that means I should do with you?”
Maisie looked at me, and said “I guess you have to tie me up – will you tie Mummy and Chuck up as well?”
“I suppose I will have to – what are you doing?”
“My homework – I need to finish it though, so what are you going to do?”
I smiled as I said “I am going to tie your ankles, and do something that will stop you talking properly, but then you finish your homework before I do anything else, all right?”
She nodded as I looked at her, wearing a pink and white striped dress with Minnie and Mickey Mouse on it, and a pair of black mid-calf leather boots with a fur trim and on the side, before I said “turn round a little and let me see your legs.” As she did this, I slipped my rucksack off, and took a length of rope out, which I doubled over and used to tie her ankles tightly together, taking the rope around and between her ankles. I then tied her legs together below her knees with a second length of rope, before she twisted back round and said “how are you going to stop me talking?”
I took a black scarf from my rucksack, and rolled it into a band, before I said “open as wide as you can, and then you can finish your homework, while I have a look round.”
“Thank you,” Maisie said quietly as I pulled the rolled up silk scarf between her lips, tying t round her head as she closed her lips over it, and then started to write in her book again while I looked round the front room.
“Coo – Mummy, look at Maisie!”
I turned round to see Chuck standing in the room, smiling as Mary came in and said “oh my god – Maisie!”
“Thrsshrhbbhrrhrrhmhm,” Maisie said as she giggled, and then Mary turned slowly and looked at me, holding her son as she did so.
“Hello there,” I said quietly, “as I was saying to Maisie, I’m here to rob you today – but she wanted to finish her homework, and I let her do that. The thing is, I now need to make sure you and young Chuck here cannot raise the alarm.”
“Oh god no,” Mary said as she hugged Chuck, “no, please, not him…”
“Why can’t I be like Maisie, Mummy,” Chuck said as he turned his head and looked at her, “I want to be like her!”
“Chuck, please, it may not be very nice…”
“Maisie seems to like it, and I want the masked man to do it to me as well!”
Mary looked at me, and whispered “no, please…”
“Chuck,” I said as I knelt down and looked at him, “I can’t do exactly what I am going to do to your mummy and sister, but I promise you, you won’t be able to move or speak either, all right?”
“What are you going to do to Mummy,” Chuck said as I stood up and took some rope from my bag. “Let me show you,” I said with a wink as I walked behind Mary, and gently took her hands behind her back, crossing her wrists and then tying them tightly together while Chuck watched, and Maisie kept writing in her book.
“Cool,” Chuck said as I tied the ropes off, and then I used some rope to tie them against her back, taking the cords round her waist. “now, young man, for you I don’t want to hurt your arms, so I want you to cross your wrists in front of you, all right?”
Chuck grinned as he did as I asked, and watched as I tied his wrists together, and then took the rope round his waist so that he could not move them at all.
“What are you going to do next,” Mary whispered – and then she got her answer as she watched me use a longer length of rope to bind Chuck’s arms to his sides, with one band round his stomach and one round his upper arms.
I tied those ropes off, and then tied Mary’s arms to her sides in the same way. “Now, have you finished your work yet Maisie,” I asked as I looked at the table, Maisie smiling over the scarf as she nodded and put her pen down.
“Well, I am going to take your mum and Chuck for a walk upstairs, but that means you have to stay down here,” I said as I lifted her up, Chuck and Mary looking at each other and twisting round as I sat his sister at one end of a long couch. “Bend your legs for me,” I said with a smile, and when Maisie did that I told her to put her hands under her legs, then used some rope to tie her wrists together under her legs. TO complete her binding, I tied her arms to her sides in the same way as her mother the rope rubbing on her bare arms as I did so, and then tied one length of rope from the chest ropes to her legs.
“We’ll be back in a few minutes – and then Chuck and your mum will eb the same as you,” I said with a smile, Maisie nodding as I took the other two up the stairs. “Show me your bedroom,” I said quietly, Mary nodding to one door as I took them in, then helped Chuck to sit on the bed while Mary sat next to her, and I started to search the room.
“Will you make me quiet in the same way as Maisie,” Chuck said as he looked at me. “Not quite, but it will feel like it,” I said with a smile as I put what I had found into my bag, and then took the belt from his father’s dressing gown. “Here we go – open your mouth as wide as you can.”
“Do you really have to do that,” Mary said as she looked at me, but Chuck frowned before he said “I want to be like Maisie!”
“Don’t worry, this won’t hurt,” I said as I gently pulled the belt between his lips, Chuck smiling as he closed his lips over it and I tied the ends at the base of his neck, then tied them down to his chest ropes as well. “Now, I need to make sure Mummy is quiet, and then we can go and join Maisie, all right?”
“Hhllrhhtt,” Chuck mumbled as I took one of his mother’s headscarves, rolled it into a band and tied a knot in the middle, and then pushed that into Mary’s mouth, tying the band round her head. “now then,” I said with a smile, “let’s go back downstairs…”
“Uhrrlhkhnnhw,” Maisie said as we came back in, the other two nodding as I looked at her. “chuck, do you mind if I take care of your mother first,” I said quietly, the young boy shaking his head as Mary sat down, and I used more rope to secure her ankles together, and then her legs below her knees, before she lay on her side and I bent her legs slightly so that Maisie cold stay where she was, using some more rope to secure her ankles to her chest ropes.
“Shtnhcthmh,” Mary mumbled as she looked at Chuck, both of them watching as he sat down and I secured his ankles, then his legs below his knees in the same way. He then lay on his side, smiling over the cotton belt with the darker areas at the side of his lips, and looked at his mother, saying “whrrhhltheshmmnh” as Mary nodded.
“Don’t move,” I said as I went and searched the rest of the house. When I looked back in, Mary and Chuck were talking to each other, Maisie giggling as she twisted round, their boots squeaking as well, so I smiled and left them to make my escape…
I recently read on a chat room the story of what happened to one mother when the man they call the Games Player called on her family. Well, that gave me the courage to write down what happened when his female friend called on us, and how surprising it all was to me.
We live near Pinewood on the outskirts of London, where my husband is a screenwriter. It’s an old detached house, and I live there with my children, Tom who was twelve when this happened and April who was eleven. Bill, my husband, was away doing some research for a script on the autumn day this all happened, and I was alone in the house when I heard the knock on the front door.
As it was an autumn day, and I was not expecting anyone, I was casually dressed – an old brown top with a scoop neckline, jeans and black slippers. Back then I had my red hair short and tightly permed, and I remember I had a necklace round my neck. Nothing fancy – just a bead one.
So anyway, I went to answer the knock on the door – Tom and April had gone into the nearby town of Gerard’s Cross to watch a film, and they were due back at about that time, so I figured they had left their keys at home again. So I opened the door and smiled – and then stepped back as the woman who was standing there walked in.
She was also dressed in brown – a leather jacket over a roll neck sweater, leggings and knee length leather boots. But she was also wearing brown leather gloves, and had a stocking pulled down over her head, covering her face as she smiled at me.
“Hello,” she said quietly as she stood there, a gun in her right hand and pointing at me, “Don’t panic, I’m only here to take your valuables, things that can be replaced.” She spoke calmly, never raised her voice, but I knew what she was there to do.
I remember asking “what are you going to do to me,” hoping the kids got delayed, but she waved me into the front room and told me to sit down, as she sat in a chair opposite, and then said four fatal words.
“Where are your children?”
“Why are you asking?”
“Well – I suspect they are about to return from wherever they are, and I also know that you know I will need to stop them raising the alarm as well. Am I wrong in thinking they are due back?”
For a moment, I debated whether or not I should lie, but there was something in the way she was looking at me that told me she was not joking, so I swallowed and said “no – I’m expecting them back any minute. What… What are you going to do to them and me?”
“Keep you quiet, make sure you cannot raise the alarm – but I know a way to make it less scary for them – and for you. We’re going to make a game of it.”
“Make a… Oh my…” I suddenly realised who it was sitting there – I had read of the Games Player, and the rumours there was actually two of them, but now I was looking at the reality – the female one was sitting there in front of me. But at the same time, I did not want to deceive my children.
It was a moot point, anyway – as I heard the front door open and close, and then saw Tom and April come into the front room. Tom had short blonde hair at that time, and was wearing a dark blue hoodie, jeans and black trainers. April had longer blonde hair, cut like a bob, and ha don a striped wool jacket with a wool belt over a grey long sleeved top, and jeans with the legs tucked into a pair of mid-calf brown suede leather cuffed boots.
“Mum,” Tom said quietly as he looked at the masked woman, April looking at the gun, “what’s going on?” I looked at them, and then at her, before I said “listen carefully. This lady is one of the Games Players,” I continued as I looked at her, “and she is going to rob us. She wants us to treat this as a game, however – if we do that, so you promise you will leave us all together in the same place?”
“Of course I will – but I have to tell you now, you won’t be able to move or talk. Does that scare you?”
“A little,” April said, “but I can do this. Can you Tom?”
Her brother nodded as I said “good – I want you both to sit on the couch over there, and all three of you put your hands on your heads until I tell you to move them.”
“Let’s all do this,” I said quietly as I put my hand son my head, both Tom and April going and sitting on the couch as the Player opened the bag she had put on the floor, and removed several lengths of white rope. Looking at me, she said “stand up, and close the curtains over the windows, then sit back down with your feet up on the chair, and don’t move, understand?”
I nodded as I did that, then watched as she held the ropes and stood up, walking over to the children before she said “cross your ankles for me, both of you.” She then knelt down, and double one length of rope over before she wrapped it round April’s ankles and pulled them together, wrapping it round them several more times and then separating the ends before she took them between her legs, and then tied the ends off. When she had finished, I could see the white band, the soft leather compressed under it, as April tried to move her ankles apart and then said “I can’t move them!”
“That’s the idea,” she said, and I saw April giggle as she used a second length of rope to tie her legs together below her knees in the same way. Somehow, treating this as a game was taking all the fear out of it, as I saw Tom watch her binding her sister’s legs, and then his own in the same way.
The Player stood up and smiled at them, then at me as she went back to her bag and picked some more ropes out. Walking back over, she looked at Tom and said “your turn first this time – put your hands together as if you were praying, and hold them out.” I watched, amazed as he calmly did that, and watched her bind her wrists together in the same way as his ankles, then as he lowered them down she tied another length of rope from that to the rope below his knees.
“I really can’t move now Mum,” he said as he wriggled round, and she did the same to April – she even giggled out loud as her wrists were secured to her legs, and she did seem to be enjoying it.
“Now, I’m going to put the television on, and then I am going to take your mother for a walk round the house,” she said as she walked over and turned the large set on, finding the Disney X channel before she said “but I do need to make sure neither of you can call for help. Which reminds me – your mobile phones?”
April and Tom looked at each other, before Tom shrugged and said “in our pockets.” I watched as she found them, and put them in her bag, before she took out form there a wide roll of white tape and tore a strip off. It made a strange, squelchy sound as she did that, and then she looked at both of them before she said “who wants to be first?”
Tom nodded, and I watched as she gently pressed the tape down onto his face, covering his mouth so that I could see the shape of his lips underneath. She then tore a second strip off and smoothed it over April’s mouth, the two of them looking at each other as the Player walked back over to me.
“Shall we,” she said as she picked the bag up, and I stood slowly up, looking at them as I said “are you both going to be all right?” As they nodded, I walked over and kissed them both on the forehead, before I was walked out of the room. I watched as the Player disconnected the phone, and then we went into the downstairs office.
We did the same thing in each room after that – she asked me where any valuables were, and got me to open the safe and strongboxes before I had to sit down with my hands on my head, and watch as she stole our things. After the downstairs office, we went up the stairs and into our bedroom, me sitting on the bed as she took my rings, my earrings, watches, pearls, brooches, and so on…
“Thank you,” she eventually said as she pulled the curtains over those windows as well, “but now it’s time to make sure you cannot raise the alarm. Once I have you secured, I will bring the two kids up to join you.”
“And how are you going to secure me,” I asked quietly, and then I saw the ropes as she took them from her bag.
“Like tom and April – put your hands together in prayer, and hold them up.”
Nodding, I did as she asked, and watched as she bound my wrists tightly together. It was tight, but it didn’t hurt and as not uncomfortable – just very secure as she pulled the rope between my arms to make it even tighter, and then tying a second length round that bit.
“Get comfortable – lie in the centre of the bed, head on your pillows, and put your hands above your head.”
I knew what she was planning to do then – our bed at that time had an iron headstand, and I watched as she took my wrists above my head and tied the ends to the centre of that stand. I knew they were fixed in position then, as she took two more lengths of rope, using one as she crossed my ankles to tie them together, and then the second to hold my legs together below my knees. Finally, she tied some rope form my ankles to the foot of the bed.
As I twisted my legs round, I watched as she then took a small white cloth from her bag, and folded it into as pad. “Open your mouth as wide as you can,” she said as she came over, “and then close your lips together. Once I have finished this, I will go and bring your daughter up first.”
I nodded as I felt the pad on my tongue, tasted the clean cotton before I closed my lips, and she smoothed a longer strip of the white tape over my mouth. IT tugged a little on my skin, but again it didn’t hurt, and it really did keep me quiet.
She looked at me, and then left the room as I wriggled round, trying to talk with little success. A few minutes later, she came back in carrying April in her arms, and laid her down on the right-hand side of me, taking her bound wrists above her head and tying the rope that had gone to her knees to the headstand.
She looked at me and said “hllhhmhmmeee” as the tape moved over her lips as she twisted her legs round while the Player left the room again. She then returned with Tim, laying him down on my other side and securing his wrists to the headstand as well.
“Now, I’m sure someone will come and free you in a little while,” the masked player said as she picked her bag up, and left us in the room. I turned my head, and managed to give both of them a kiss with my taped lips on their heads, as we all heard her leave the house.
“Swhthhrwhghnnhdh,” I mumbled as I looked at Tom and April.
“Whchldtrhhndghtfhrrr,” tom said as he looked up and tried to twist his wrists round, looking to find some way to get at least one free, while April twisted her legs round, and then looked at me.
“Nhtyht, bhtucvhntrdshmfhn.” I looked at April and then rubbed my cheek on the pillow. She watched me for a moment, and then she turned her head and started to do the same. My hope was that she would begin to ease that tape away from her mouth, and she was able to talk, she might be able to do something I could not.
Turning my head to Tom, I said “Whtsshmh” and rubbed my cheek on the pillow again, then smiled as he also started to rub his mouth on the pillow to try and get the tape away. I watched them each in turn, wondering who would be first.
It was April who finally managed to peel the tape away, and then look at me and Tom as she said “do I call for help now Mum?” I shook my head, and then looked up, April following my line of sight and then said “I get it.” You see, she hadn’t tied either April or Tom’s ankles to the foot of the bed, and April was able to slowly push herself up, until she could start to pick on the knot holding my wrists in place on the ironwork…
“Keep going Sis,” Tom said as I turned my head and saw the tape hanging from his cheek – and then we all heard the sound downstairs, before I recognised my neighbour calling out “where is everyone?”
“Upstairs,” Tom called out, “we’ve been robbed and tied up, and Mum is still unable to talk!” I heard the steps coming quickly up the stairs, and then saw Mrs Grimond as she looked in, said “oh my god” and then came over to untie us…
That all happened a month or so ago, and I’ve been talking to my husband, and the children, about what happened – and how we felt about it. And since then, we’ve all been playing some similar games to see how we really feel. Right now, as I type this, Tom and April are lying on their beds in their pyjamas – my husband has tied them both up, and put tape over their mouths, in the same way as the Games Player did. I’m sitting in a chair at the computer, wearing a white nightdress, my ankles and legs tied and my waist tied to the chair, and with tape over my mouth.
And once I’ve typed this, my husband is going to tie my wrists behind the chair and to the chair back, before I try to get free….
What’s the longest time I have ever been on a visit to play with a family? Well, there was the time I got stuck in a cellar while the father and son returned, but more recently it would actually be one both Janna and I did on a visit to the US – purely because of the time it took to do certain things, and a certain family practice…
We were in Vermont, and during the week I had been doing some business there, and Janna had been doing some sightseeing – our daughter was at home with my mother – we had also been researching the family of the mayor of the town we were staying in. He lived on a farm on the outskirts of the town, with his wife Polly and their five children – Fourteen year old Hope, Thirteen year old Faith, twelve year old Matthew, ten year old Mark and four year old John.
As you can imagine with names like that, they were pillars of their church and their community. It was on the Sunday morning we attended their church – me in a smart suit, shirt and tie, and Janna in a grey jersey dress with a black blazer over it. It was actually quite a moving service, from what we caught of the message – because our attention was focused on the Green family.
Polly was wearing a long woollen white top with elbow length sleeves, a matching belt tied round her waist, black leggings and over the knee leather boots in a patchwork of bronzed colours. She also had a long red scarf wrapped loosely round her neck, as did Hope, although hers had thin black stripes on white. She was wearing a white sweatshirt, jeans and a pair of brown riding boots, while her younger sister was wearing a green wrap top over a white one, a black knee length skirt, tights and flat shoes.
Their father, Derek Green, was casually dressed, as were the two older boys in blue shirts, blazers and jeans – the boys wearing black jackets, their father a brown one. Finally, John was wearing a dark grey jumper with white stripes, a striped shirt underneath, dark trousers and trainers. All the family had the same strawberry blonde hair as their mother, except for Mark who had dark hair like his father.
When the service came to an end, we watched the family as they climbed into a large SUV, and then headed off. We knew their father had to go into town that day for a meeting, so we spent some time having coffee and talking to the pastor, before we both got into our hire car and drove off.
As we approached the farmhouse, we stopped to add the finishing touches to our outfits for the day – the black leather gloves, and the stocking masks pulled down over our heads – before we parked at the side of the house and made our way round to the front door. I was carrying a holdall with what supplies we had obtained, while Janna had the starting pistol we used to begin with in her hand.
As we made our way quietly into the hallway, we heard footsteps and Polly saying “I’ll call you all up when it is time for dinner.”
“Don’t’ worry Mom, we’re going to keep the boys occupied,” we both heard one of the girls say and then we saw Hope and Faith go through a door and run down some stairs. I looked at Janna, an unconscious decision been made between us, and we made our way slowly along the corridor, and then looked through the door.
There was a set of stairs heading down, and we could hear voices from down the stairs – clear female voices, and not so clear male ones. As we made our way down, we could see the backs of both Faith and Hope as they were kneeling on the floor, and seemed to be doing something.
“You finished little sis,” Faith said as she looked to her right.
“Yeah, I’m down – right you two, scoot back to back, and we can finish getting you both ready.” We stood at the bottom of the stairs and watched as they moved back, smiling as we saw Matthew and Mark scoot round. They were still wearing their jackets, but as they moved we could see the way their wrists were tied behind their backs – and the strips of silver tape over their mouths, as well as the clear signs there was something behind that tape.
“Ghsswwhsthrtwhn…” Mark shook his head, and then glanced to the side, turning his head more slowly when he saw us standing there, Janna putting a gloved finger to her covered mouth.
Faith and Hope had moved to the side now, a fresh length of rope in their hands, as they started to bind the ankles of the two older boys together. We had obviously stumbled across them playing their own game, and the girls were in charge.
“Hfuhbhnnprhctshn,” we heard Matthew say as Hope tied his ankles, taking the rope around and between them, and then looking at her sister and brother. “Hey – what are you looking at bro?”
The two girls stood up and turned round, Matthew saying ”hmhghdd” as he finally realised we were there. “Hello,” I said quietly as Faith and Hope looked at each other, “I see you like to play tie-up games, right?”
“Yes,” Hope said quietly as she looked at us, “but…”
“Okay – first, let’s not do something like call out to your mother and disturb her,” Janna said quietly as she walked towards them. “So let me answer your questions – yes, we are robbers. Yes, we are going to tie you up, and make sure your brothers are really secured. And yes, if you make it a game all of you play, then it can be fun.”
“Dhwhhfachss,” Matthew said as he wriggled round.
“No,” I replied with a smile as I walked forward, and put my bag on the floor before looking at them. The girls had done a very good job of securing both of them at the wrists and ankles, and when I said “is there a cloth in your mouths,” both of the boys nodded.
“Oh god,” Faith finally said, “but John does not play our games, are you going to…”
“Yes we are – but we will talk to your mother about that as well. For now, we need to make sure you four are really secure.”
“So,” Janna said with a smile, “I want both of you to kneel on the floor, put your heads on the cushions of the seat, and cross your wrists behind your back. While I take care of you, my friend here will take care of your brothers.”
I nodded as I took a longer length of rope from the bag, and started to wrap it round Mark’s upper arms and body, while Janna took two shorter lengths of rope and knelt behind the girls, Faith and Hope looking at each other as my wide doubled the first length over and wrapped it around the older girl’s wrists.
Once I had Matthew’s arms secured, I did the same thing to Mark, the two boys grunting slightly as their arms were forced tightly against their sides, but I needed to do something to make sure they could not undo each other’s bonds. So, as Janna doubled over a longer length of rope, and passed it round Faith’s arms and chest, I took a roll of silver tape from the bag and said to the boys “make your hands into fists.” Once they had done that, I covered their fists in the tape as Mark said “Whchnntfhreeeshhfrrnh.”
“That’s the general idea,” I said as I used more rope to secure them together at their waists, and then secured their legs below their knees, the white band visible over their jeans, the legs pulled up slightly as they each looked at their brown shoes with the neat band of white rope over their socks.
“We’re all going to be in a bit of trouble,” Faith said quietly as Janna tied the rope round her arms and body, the two bands framing her chest as her blue top was forced more open than it had been. Hope nodded as she wriggled round, the bands on her chest as her scarf was forced against her.
“Well, I see the boys are going nowhere,” Faith said as they both sat on the floor, watching as I handed Janna two lengths of rope, and then crossed her ankles before I started to bind them together. She watched as I took the rope around and between her ankles, and then used the second length below her knees, while Janna secured her sister in the same way. As Hope tried to move her legs, the leather of her boots squeaked slightly, making the boys giggle as well.
“Look at it this way – all of you can try to escape at the same time,” Janna said with a smile as she pulled the rope between Faith’s legs.
“So, this is what is going to happen,” I said quietly as I looked at all four of them, “My friend here is going to stay down here and keep an eye on all four of you, while I go and see your mother and little brother. When we are finished with what I want to do, I’ll bring them both back down here to join you, and you can try to escape together.”
“But I don’t think we’re going to succeed,” Hope said quietly as she wriggled round.
“True,” Janna said as she took two cotton squares and folded them into wads, “but now we need both you girls to be quiet. Open wide, and then once you’re silenced we’re going to make sure you are even more secure than your brothers.”
“Because it’s obvious you are in charge,” Janna said as she pushed the first cloth into Hope’s open mouth, and I picked up a smaller bag that was within the larger one, leaving them with her as I made my way up the stairs.
As I stepped into the hallway upstairs, I heard a young boy say “why can’t I play those games Mommy?”
“Because you’re not old enough yet,” I heard Polly say as I walked to the kitchen, and stood in the doorway, smiling as I saw her preparing a meal and John drawing on a sheet of paper at the table – at least, until he looked at me, and said quietly “Mommy, who is the masked man?”
“What masked ma…” I smiled as Polly turned and looked at me, letting the tea towel she was holding in her hand drop to the floor as she whispered “oh my god – who are you?”
“Me? I’m the man who has come to help you and your family play a grand game of escape,” I said with a smile, “my friend already has the rest of your family playing in the den downstairs – and, once you have taken me on a tour of your lovely house, you and young John here are going to join them and join in.”
“You… You’re robbing us?”
“I’m playing a game of robbers – you understand, don’t you Mrs Green – or can I call you Polly?”
John had been looking between both of us as we had bene talking, before he said in an excited voice “so I finally get to play as well.”
“No you don’t…”
“Yes he does, Polly – you all need to play,” I said quietly as I looked at her, “so turn the oven off, and dinner is going to be a bit later today. While you do that, young John, I want you to come over here and stand with your back to me.”
Polly looked at me, and then nodded as she said “do as the masked man says John.” She walked to the oven, while I put my smaller bag on the table and opened it, taking out a length of white rope as I said “we’re going to start by tying your wrists together behind your back. Can you put them there for me John?”
“Sure I can Mister Robber,” he said as he put his hands together, watching his mother as I wrapped the doubled over rope round his wrists and secured them tightly, but comfortably together. “That’s tight,” he said as he wriggled his fingers when I had tied the rope ends off.
“But it doesn’t hurt, does it?” As John shook his head, I looked at Polly and said “your turn now, come over here, and put your hands behind your back.”
“He’s only four, do you have to do this to him,” she said quietly as I walked behind her, crossed her wrists and then started to tie them together.
“Well, imagine how he would feel if he was the only one not playing – and besides, it’s important you are all together, and need to figure out how to free each other.”
“Why – what have you done to the others?”
“You’ll see in good time,” I said with a smile as I pulled the rope between her arms and tied the ends off out of reach of her fingers. I then used a longer length to start to fix her arms to her sides, John watching as he said “Mommy, you look very pretty when he does that to you?”
I could see the blush in Polly’s cheek as I tied the ropes round her, framing her chest as I stretched the top she was wearing over it, and then tightened it by taking the rope under one arm, up and around the back of her neck, and then under the other. Looking at John, I said “do you want me to do this to you as well?”
Polly was about to say no, and then she saw the grin on her youngest son’s face as he nodded, then stood still as I secured his arms to his sides as well in the same way.
“There – you’re just like your older brothers and sisters now,” I said as I tied the ropes off behind him. “What we’re going to do now is take a walk round the house, while mommy here shows me where she keeps her earrings, her rings and things like that. Then we go to join the others – but before we do that, I need to make sure you cannot call out for help.”
I took out of the bag a small white cloth and folded it, Polly shaking her head and saying “no, please…”
“He will be fine, so long as he stays calm and breathes in and out through his nose – just like you and the others,” I said with a smile, “we found Matthew and Mark already gagged in this way – weren’t they?”
John looked at his mother, who nodded and said “all right” before he opened his mouth and allowed me to put the cloth in, and then cover his mouth with strips of silver tape. “Now, if you will lead the way,” I said as I picked up the bag, Polly walking out first and then John between us as we went from room to room.
“I’ve shown you everything,” Polly eventually said as I put her rings into my bag, “now what?”
“Nhwwuhchnthhlkmhmmee,” John said as the tape crinkled over his mouth.
“Quite right,” I said as I folded a white scarf, “open wide.” As Polly allowed me to gag her, John was twisting round, before I smoothed the silver tape over her mouth and said “right – let’s join the rest of the family, shall we?”
We walked down into the den, Janna smiling as she said “I see you have the others” as we walked in. Faith and Hope were lying on their stomachs on the floor, their ankles pulled back and tied to the ropes round their chests, silver tape over their mouths as well as all four said “whrhhlphlhnn?”
“Htshmmsshh,” Polly said as they walked over to a long couch, John sitting at one end and her at the other as Janna took some ropes. “Ready to have your legs tied,” she said as she looked at John, waiting as he shuffled back and then starting to tie his ankles together as I knelt down and started to bind Polly’s.
When we had finished securing their legs, I helped Ben to lie so that his head was on his mother’s lap, while Janna turned on the television. We then sat and watched for a while as the family tried to twist round, before I said “we’re going to leave when the next film starts. Give us one hour, and then you can try and escape, all right?”
They all nodded as John looked at his mother, and then they started to watch Maleficent as we slipped up the stairs…
We read the news report the next morning – they had waited for the hour, and then tried to escape, but all they managed to do was the two boys finally getting their hands free of the tape by the time their father got home…
The fact I live close to my daughter, Rebecca, and her girls Sara and Chloe, has been a godsend these last few weeks, after her divorce had been finalised and that no-good ex-husband of hers was locked up. To have involved her in that scam…
Anyway, she had managed to retain many of the things he had bought her, and I was more than happy to take my share of looking after the girls when she had to go to work. That was why I was heading to their house that morning – given Sara was eight and Chloe seven, they were a little too young to leave on their own while she went to work.
It was a colder autumn day, and I was wearing a long sleeved blue top, red patterned leggings, and knee length black suede boots, a long coat over the top and a wool scarf wrapped round my neck. I have to admit, looking back, the only thing in my mind was wondering what I was going to do with the girls between them finishing their homework, and me taking them out to the cinema that afternoon – a surprise treat for them.
Anyway – like I said, not much on my mind, as I walked to their house. I saw the old car parked outside, but figured they were just visiting a neighbour as I let myself in, and called out “it’s just me – are you all busy?”
There was no answer, but I could hear someone moving around upstairs, so I just figured they were busy and would come and see me when they were finished doing whatever they were doing. So I took my coat and scarf off, hung them on the coat stand, and made my way into the kitchen to make a coffee.
I could see the girls had left their exercise books and bags on the table, and as the kettle was boiling I checked their workings, then closed them and put them back into their bags. Whatever it was their mother was doing with them, it was certainly keeping them quiet…
Anyway – coffee made, I took the mug in my hand and walked into the front room. The first thing I noticed was that the curtains were drawn across the windows.
The second was the sound of Chloe saying “Hllhgrhhnnree, whrphllnnhghm.”
Why did she sound so funny? Well, Chloe was sitting on an armchair, wearing a cream cable knit jumper, a dark blue pair of cut-off denim shorts, white leggings and her knee length black leather boots with the flat soles. That was fine – what was strange was that her legs were straight out, and there was a band of white rope tied round her ankles, holding her legs together. She also had a band tied round her head, a black band with her lips closed over something.
As my eyes adjusted to the gloom, I realised her ankles were not the only thing that were tied together – her legs were also tied together below her knees, and her arms were going behind her back, another band of rope around her stomach. “What on earth is going on,” I whispered as I put my mug down and looked at her.
I slowly turned round to see Sara lying on her side on the couch, her head resting on the arm of the seat, a white band pulled between her lips and tied round her head, holding her brown hair down. She also had her arms behind her back, and the band of rope round her arms and stomach, her white wool cardigan to the side and showing her black top underneath. Her jeans were tucked into a pair of brown boots with three rows of tassels, but there was rope tied round her ankles and her legs below her knees as well.
Did Rebecca do this? I stood back, looking concerned as I said “did… Did your mother do this to you?”
“Nnnn,” Chloe said as she shook her head, “htwhshsthhhwhmnhhn.”
“The woman? What woman?”
“Ah – I see another family member has decided they want to join in the game as well. I presume this is your mother, given the resemblance?”
I slowly turned round and saw Rebecca standing there, staring at me for a moment before she looked at the girls, and said “yeah – Mum, this is a surprise game of robbers we’re all playing today. I took the day off work – I wanted to surprise you as well.”
She wasn’t the focus of my attention though – that was the woman standing behind her, the stocking pulled down over her head and flattening her hair as it distorted her face. She was wearing a brown leather jacket over a sweater, and I could see the knee length leather boots she was wearing. Obviously, this was not really a game – and then I realised what was going on. Rebecca had her arms behind her back as well, and there were two bands of rope round her arms and chest, keeping them firmly against her sides. She was wearing a loose fitting top with black shoulders and front, and a black and white checked sleeves and back. She had on her old black pants and black knee length fabric boots, but the look in her eyes was clear.
“Well, it seems I need to join in the game as well,” I said as I looked at the girls, relieved to see them smiling over the scarves tied in their mouths. “What do you want me to do?”
The woman looked at me and nodded, as she said “I want you to stand with your hands on your head, while your daughter takes a seat.” I didn’t really have a choice, so I did it, saying “I hope you two are having fun” as Sara and Chloe both nodded.
Rebecca sat down on the couch where Sara was lying, while the masked woman put a bag she was carrying down, and then looked at me. She indicated the other armchair, and said “sit down – and don’t move. Remember, I have your family hostage.”
Whoever she was, she said it in a way that told me not only was she getting the girls to play along, but she was also in charge, so I sat down and watched as she took a length of white rope from the bag, telling Rebecca to cross her ankles before she tied them tightly together.
She also secured my daughter’s legs together below her knees, before she did something unusual – she picked Sara up and lay her with her head on her mother’s lap, my granddaughter looking up and smiling at her mother as she sat there.
“You promised we could all watch a film when you pretended to leave,” Rebecca said as she looked at the masked woman.
“Of course you can – but given your grandmother is here now, I need to make sure she is playing along as well.”
She looked at Chloe, and then at me, before I saw her smile as she said “of course – but I need to make sure she cannot get off the chair first.” Walking over to me with her bag, she said to me “cross your ankles” and then knelt down, taking more rope out of the bag as she did so.
I watched as she wrapped the rope round them – she was obviously experienced in doing this, as she pulled the rope tight and wound it round several times, and then between my legs. I tried to move them, making a squeaking sound as my boots rubbed together, and then heard Chloe giggle as she moved her legs, her leather boots making a louder squeak.
The masked woman then tied my legs together, below my knees, before I raised them up and looked at them. The coils were neat, but I wasn’t going anywhere – so =I lowered them again as the masked woman walked over and picked Chloe up. She carried my younger granddaughter over and sat her on my lap so that she could see the television as well, and whispered into my ear “give her a hug.”
Rebecca looked over and nodded as I did that – and then watched the woman as she crossed and tied my wrists together, and then tied them to the rope around her legs at her knees. I wasn’t as tightly tied as the others, but with Chloe sitting there, I was just as immobile.
She looked up and smiled, the scarf noticeably darker at the corners of her mouth, and rested her head on my chest as I heard the woman say “open wide.” I then felt the knot on my tongue as she pushed the rolled brown scarf into my mouth, and tied the band round my head.
She then did the same thing to Rebecca, using a red scarf on her, before she turned the television on and stuck Toy Story 4 into the player. Rebecca and I looked at each other as she said “now, I’m going to pretend to go, but remember – don’t try to escape until the film finishes, all right?”
The two girls nodded as they snuggled against us, Rebecca and I watching as the film started, and the masked woman slipped behind us…
As the film finished, I looked at Chloe, who was sleeping with her head against me, and then at Sara asleep with her head on Rebecca’s lap. We looked at each other, and then started to try and get the knots out of our mouths, twisting our heads round and using our tongues as well. It took a while, but eventually we both managed to do so, the wet silk knot landing on our chests.
“Thank god,” Rebecca whispered, “I’m really sorry Mum.”
“She surprised me in the kitchen – made me convince the kids this was just a surprise game. I had to watch as she tied them up, gagged them, left them down here on a promise to sit still while she took me upstairs and took my jewellery.”
“It’s all right,” I said with a smile, “it’s actually been kinda fun, and the girls were not scared. Was she…”
“Yeah – she told me. So, how do we get out of this?”
And on that, I had no idea – and still had none when Rebecca’s colleague came to see what had happened to her…
My granddaughter’s sixth birthday party certainly was different. Her parents had to be away that weekend on a business trip, so I’d agreed to let her have five of her friends round at my place for a birthday tea and sleepover. It was the surprise guest who made all the difference…
She and her five friends had come straight from school. Josie, my granddaughter, had long brown hair, and was wearing a white t-shirt with a heart print on it, a pink skirt and tights, and short black leather boots. Soo was wearing a black pinafore dress over a pink jumper, dark tights and black boots with a fur trim, while her twin sister Lou was wearing a blue leotard with a denim gypsy style skirt, tights and black boots.
Then there was Amy, in her blue striped polo shirt, blue and pink floral leggings, brown skirt and sandals… Lauren in a pink smock dress with a denim waistcoat, black tights and flat shoes… and finally Ashley, who took off her blue rain jacket to reveal a pink t-shirt, purple trousers and black ankle boots.
As for me, I was wearing a brown chintz top over a long sleeved chocolate brown top, matching leggings, and knee length burgundy leather boots. The girls were happy to be there, and even more happy as they played some games – simple ones, and it was when they were sat in a circle, playing Pass the Parcel, that the doorbell rang and I went to see who it was.
What I was not expecting was a man dressed as a clown, who came in and asked if he was too late for the party. Thing is, I hadn’t booked a clown – but then he showed me a gun, and said he was here to entertain the kids, and play some games with them – including a game of kidnap.
I stared at him for a moment – what was he talking about – and then he looked directly at me, and told me he was going to rob me, and stop me or the girls raising the alarm – and to stop them being afraid, we were going to make what he did part of the party. He asked me if I understood – I understood all right, but the last thing I wanted was for Josie and the girls to be scared – so I agreed to do what he asked.
As we went back into the main room, Ashley looked up and asked Josie if the clown was here for the party. Well, he said he was – but this was going to be a special surprise party, because he was a crooked clown! The girls looked at him as I laughed, and said that was right – he was a clown who was going to pretend to be a crook and rob us.
That was when Lauren asked if that meant he was going to tie all of us up – and when he said he was going to, she just said “cool.” Josie looked at me, and I smiled as I said it was going to eb all right. She then asked what he was going to do first, and he said he was going to tell jokes during the party tea – but as part of the game, he was going to make sure they could not got out of their chairs.
Which led to a very strange birthday tea – the girls were all sat round the table, laughing, giggling, eating and drinking – but the man had tied their waist to the chairs with lengths of rope, taken from a very full bag, and as I served the food to the girls the clown kept telling jokes and doing tricks.
I then put the birthday cake in front of Josie, as the clown led the girls in singing Happy Birthday – and when Josie blew the candles out, they all clapped and cheered. Which was fun – and then the clown said it was time for him to get them all to play his game – and as part of the game, he was going to do something to the girls before he took me for a walk round the house.
He took some more lengths of rope out of the bag, and one by one he took the arms of the girls behind their backs, me watching as he tied their wrists tightly together. I asked Josie if it hurt, but she shook her head as the clown said he was making sure they could not use their hands while I was out of the room.
But he also said it was part of a game, as he told me to put bowls of jelly and ice cream in front of them – and then told then they had ten minutes to try and eat it without using their hands. He took me by the arm, as well as some more ropes, and counted down as we left the room. While we walked up the stairs, I could hear them laughing again – as he took me to the top of the stairs, and then tied my wrists tightly together behind my back.
In the next ten minutes, he took me into my room and took my jewellery and money from the boxes and safe, before he took some more rope and bound my arms to my sides, the bands above and below my chest, and then made sure I really could not move. We then walked downstairs, going back into the dining room to see that Amy had finished, and the girls had very messy faces.
The clown smiled as he wiped their faces, and then told each girl to open their mouths as he put the cloth in – before he covered their mouths with white tape, and said we were going to have a silent singalong.
I have no idea why the girls let him do that, but they did, as he released the girls and they walked single file into the front room. They stood and watched for a moment as I sat on the couch, the clown laughing as he tied my ankles and my legs below my knees, then let me lie on the couch before the girls sat next to each other on the floor in front of me.
He then used more ropes to tie their ankles together, and then their arms to each other. Josie and Amy were at one end of the row, so he tied Josie’s left arm to Amy’s right, then went down until he secured Soo’s left arm to Lou’s right.
He then pushed a folded cloth into my mouth, and taped it over, before he started the Blu-ray of Hairspray, the girls singing along as he watched from the door, then slipped out, leaving me to try and get free…