Looking out of her window, Amanda smiled as she considered the plans she had for that day. Now in her mid forties, she remembered fondly her own student days in the early 1990s, especially the parties at Newcastle University. To her, it had been an opening of her eyes to the lifestyle she was born to live – and now, she lived the dream with her own band.
That dream was also reflected in her clothing – her long silver hair falling over the capped sleeves of her red top, the blue jeans with the rip in the knees, and the over the knee black suede boots with the block heels. Once a rocker, always a rocker, was her motto – and she lived that to the full.
Which, even she had to admit, as a constant source of irritation for her eighteen year old daughter Zoe. She was as tall and as slim as her mother, with straw blonde hair which was even longer than her own, and she did like to dress fashionably, but she was not a rocker. Not by any stretch of the imagination.
And today, the process of finding out where she would like to go to study was beginning – with a trip to her own Alma Mater. Which was why, at only just after seven, she was ready to set off.
“Zoe,” she called as she left her room, “how much longer are you going to be?”
“Give me a few minutes Mum,” she heard Zoe call out as she went down the stairs, “I just need to brush my hair.”
“Like any girl would,” Amanda said as she walked back into her room, and picked up her handbag. Looking inside, she took out her iPhone and stood for a moment.
“Oh what the hell – just for once,” she said quietly as she sat in front of the mirrored door of her wardrobe, crossing her legs as she picked up the phone, and smiling as she took a selfie of herself.
“I wonder if I should post this on my Facebook page.”
“Actually, I have a better idea, dear lady.”
Amanda suddenly looked up as she saw a tall man standing in the doorway, smiling as looked at her.
“Hush,” he said quietly as he produced a small handgun, and pointed it at her. “When I invite people to stay with me, I always ask them to take a selfie first – and you have already done that for me.”
“Oh yes,” the man said quietly as he walked in, Amanda seeing the bag in his hand, “and you and your daughter will be my latest guests, until such time as your manager sees fit to recompense me. Now, kneel on the floor for me, and put your hands behind your back.”
“Please, take me, but leave her...”
“Just do as I say,” he said quietly, Amanda realising she had no choice as she knelt, leaning forward as she put her hands behind her back. The man smiled as he put the bag down, removed from inside it a length of white cord, and then crossed her wrists behind her back, using the cord to secure them together.
“I do like your tattoos however,” he said as he pulled the rope between her wrists. Amanda looked to her right, and the rose tattoo that decorated her upper arm, and then the cross on her left bicep, before she grunted as the rope tightened around her wrists.
“So what are you going to do,” she whispered as the man passed a longer length of rope around her arms and body, the bands sitting above and below her chest as her arms were forced into her sides.
“First, I will ensure you cannot use your arms or raise the alarm,” he said quietly as the bands tightened, “and then we will invite your daughter to prepare as well. After that, you shall see.”
“Why what,” the man said as he passed the rope under her left arm, pulled it up and round the back of her neck, and then under her other arm, before he tied the ropes off. As she wriggled round, Amanda tried not to show how the bands rubbing were making her feel.
“Right,” he said as he helped her to stand, “now to get you ready to travel – open wide now.”
“Why – what are youhhhmmmmm.” Amanda was taken by surprise as he pushed a small sponge into her mouth, easing it with his gloved fingers behind her teeth as she closed her lips over it. She then watched as he took from the bag a wide roll of clear tape, tore a strip off, and carefully smoothed it over her lips, making sure there were no creases or air bubbles.
He turned her so that she could look at herself in the mirror, and she was amazed at how her face looked perfectly normal – and as he put the leather jacket over her shoulders, and zipped it up before tucking the sleeves into the pockets, she looked as if she was standing in the cold.
“Now then,” the man said as he picked up her bag, and took her arm, smiling as he said “let us go to your daughter...”
Zoe looked at herself in the mirror, smiling as she said “well, I think I am ready for a day at the University.” Her long blonde hair fell over her shoulders and down the front of long sleeved white top, the bottom cut so it showed the skin between it and the top of tight black jeans. Around her neck, she wore a large metal necklace in the form of a scarab, while the lower legs of her jeans were tucked into a pair of over the knee brown suede boots.
“Mum will be happy – I almost look like a rock chick,” she said to herself as she heard the footsteps outside, and turned to see Amanda standing there, wearing her black leather jacket, her hands in the jacket pockets. She was looking at Zoe, and her smile seemed – strange.
“Give me a minute Mum,” she said as she picked up a brown suede jacket, “and...” She then saw the man who was standing beside her, smiling as he pointed a gun at her.
“I’m afraid your mum is unable to answer your questions right now,” the man said, “so allow me. You are both coming with me, but before that, I need you to do something for me, young lady.”
“And that is?”
“Please,” he said with a smile, “take a selfie of yourself.”
“Oh my god,” she whispered, “we’re being kidnapped by the Selfie Snatcher?”
“My reputation precedes me,” he said as he bowed his head, and Amanda squirmed round. “So, if you would?”
Picking up her aqua blue phone, Zoe looked at the full length mirror, and then took the photograph, the phone hiding her face and the fact she was frowning.
“Good,” the man said as he watched her put the phone on the bed, and then pulled a chair away, Amanda sitting as she said “mssrreezeee.”
“Now,” he said as he walked behind the young woman, putting his bag down and taking the rope out, “to make you ready for our little trip.” He turned Zoe to face her mother, and as she realised there was some sort of clear tape over her mother’s lips she felt the rope as her wrists were crossed, and then bound together.
“As I told your mother, you will come with me until her manager pays my fees,” he said as he lashed her wrists together. “I promise you, you will be comfortable.”
“Small comfort,” Zoe said as he then started to bind her arms to her sides, pulling them firmly in as the rope secured them into place. As he tied the ropes off, he then picked up her jacket and fastened it round her, tucking the sleeves in before he went back to his bag.
“So how are you going to stop me calling for help? Or get us out of here without anyone realising was happening?”
“First part is easy,” he said as he looked at her, “open your mouth.”
Zoe looked at Amanda, who nodded and then looked down as she felt the sponge pressing her tongue down, and then expanding behind her teeth. She watched then as he tore a strip of clear tape from the roll, and then pressed it carefully over her mouth. As she looked in her own mirror, like her mother she was amazed at how it looked as if she was perfectly normal.
“Now then,” the man said as he reached into the bag, “I have a little present for both of you.” Both Amanda and Zoe looked on as he walked over – and then, as he placed the glasses on them, their world was plunged into darkness as the black painted lenses covered their eyes.
“Allow me to guide you both,” he said quietly as they felt him hold their arms, and then walk. They were stopped, before he helped them to walk down the stairs one by one, and then to the front door.
Leaving their mobile phones at the table by the door, he opened it. To the people passing by, it looked as if the rock singer and her daughter were being escorted out by a driver, wearing dark glasses and coats as they were helped to sit in the back of a car, and then as the doors were closed the driver went back to their house, coming out and closing the door before he got behind the wheel, and drove off...
“Whhrrwww,” Zoe said as she was helped to sit on what felt like a mattress, and then her ankles were pulled together, and she felt the rope sinking into the brown suede. She then felt more rope as her legs were pulled together below her knees, as they were secured further, before she was helped to lie on her side, and she felt the man pulling her ankles back. There was the feeling of more rope being tied, and then she realised she was unable to stretch her legs out again.
The glasses were removed from her head, and as Zoe blinked she saw Amanda looking at her, her eyes wide as she nodded. Turning her head, she saw they were in what resembled a hotel room, and they were both lying on a large bed. They were also still tied and gagged.
“I will bring some refreshment later,” the man said quietly, “but for now, remain calm.”
As he left, closing and locking the door behind himself, the two women started to struggle, and try to call for help.
The Selfie Snatcher smiled as he went to the next door and opened it. The woman lying on the bed had long black hair, and was wearing a sleeveless white tope that hugged her curves, a grey mini skirt and knee length grey suede boots.
“Good news – the ransom has been paid, and you are going home.”
“Hfknnhgdd” she said through the knotted cleave gag in her mouth, the ropes making her top cling even tighter...
Jardine looked up as the sergeant came in. “We just got another call Boss – the Selfie Snatcher struck. He’s taken Amanda Wells and her daughter.”
“Oh great – what else could go wrong,” he said as he looked round. “The Family of Crime?”