“When’s Billy coming to pick you up?”
“Not for another hour or so,” Jess said as she came into the front room, throwing herself onto the long couch and putting her feet up as she picked up a magazine. The eighteen year old had her blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, the clip with a red bow holding it off her head, while she was wearing a white top with black sleeves, the legend “I Have Nothing To Wear” in black capital letters on the front. Her long legs stretched out, the denim cut-offs at the top and red Van deck shoes on her feet.
“So you propose to sit there for the next hour,” Eleanor said as she looked at her daughter. She was in her early forties, and was wearing a white v-neck t-shirt with “Let it go” written in a flowing script on the front, denim jeans with stylishly ripped knees, and pink Jellies that matched her quilted effect purse.
“Well then – I’m going to go and get a bottle of water. Do you want one?”
“Go on then,” Jess said as her mother went into the kitchen, and took two bottles of water from the fridge, coming back in and handing one to her daughter before she sat down.
“Where are you going today anyway,” Jess said as she looked over.
“Nowhere in particular, I just want to have some window shopping time,” Eleanor said as she opened the bottle and took a sip. “What about you?”
“Going to the mall – see if we can meet up with some of the others,” Jess said as the front door bell rang. Standing up, Eleanor looked out and shook her head.
“Who is it,” Jess said as she sat up.
“Religion I think – Jehovah’s Witnesses based on what they’re wearing,” Eleanor said as she looked at the couple on the doorstep. The man was in his early thirties, and wearing a light grey suit, while the woman had on a blue floral dress with a dark blue blazer, and matching heels.
“They’re not going to go away,” Jess said as the doorbell rang again, “want me to get rid of them?”
“No I’ll do it,” Eleanor said as she went to the door.
“Good morning,” the man said as she opened the door, “I trust you are well this morning. I was wondering if you had heard the good news of Jesus Christ.”
“I’m sorry,” Eleanor said, “but we’re not interested...”
“Perhaps we can talk to your husband?”
“He’s not here,” Eleanor said as she looked at the woman, “look, I am afraid I am heading out...”
“Well, perhaps you can take something about the message we are bringing,” the man said as he reached into his jacket.
“No thank you, I...” Eleanor stared at what the man was now holding in his hand, as she noticed for the first time both he and the woman were wearing leather gloves.
“We only need a few minutes of your time,” the man said, “why don’t you invite us in?”
“Please, come in,” Eleanor said quietly as she stepped to one side, the woman smiling as she closed the door and said “thank you.”
The man indicated the door to the front room, Eleanor nodding as she walked in and said quietly “Jess...”
“Mum, what’s...” Jess suddenly went quiet as she saw the gun in the smartly dressed man’s hand.
“Hello Jess,” he said quietly, “please, walk over and draw the curtains over the windows, and do nothing to attract attention to yourself.”
“Do as he says,” Eleanor said quietly as Jess walked over, pulling the curtains over the windows before she looked at the couple.
“Thank you,” the man said quietly, “now, please, sit down with your hands on your heads. My dear, would you ensure the telephone is disconnected?”
“Of course,” the young woman said as Eleanor and Jess sat down, placing their hands on their heads as the man placed his briefcase on the coffee table, and opened it.
“Thank you,” he said as the young woman came back in, and handed her the gun, “please, make sure neither of these ladies does anything that they should not do.” He then reached into the briefcase, and took out a roll of black tape.
“What sort of Jehovah’s Witnesses are you,” Jess said as the man walked behind her, and moved her arms so that her hands were together palm to palm behind her back she heard the tape as the end was peeled away from the roll, and then the tight band as it held her wrists together.
“My dear Jess,” the woman said with a smile as she watched her partner tape the young woman’s wrists and hands together, “who said we were Jehovah’s Witnesses?”
Eleanor and Jess looked at each other as the man moved the older woman’s wrists behind her back, and she felt him tape them tightly together. She then felt her arms pushed into her side as the tape was round her body, the band of black growing wider as the tape was taken above and below her chest, and she tried to calm herself down.
“Now, dear lady,” the man said as he looked at her, his hands on Jess’ shoulder. “You are going to go with my partner here, and show her where all your lovely jewels and valuables are.”
“Yes – you are going to practice Christian charity and give to the poor. Namely, us.”
“And if I say no?”
Jess gasped as the hand on her shoulder tightened its grip, and said “Mum...”
“All right – all right, I’ll do what you ask,” Eleanor said quietly.
“Good,” the woman said as she took her arm, and helped her to stand up, “come with me please, and we will start upstairs.”
“Do as you’re told and you’ll both be just fine,” the man said as Eleanor and the woman went upstairs, and the man took a second roll of black tape from his case. Walking behind Jess, he started to use it to bind her arms to her sides, the tape going above and below her own chest.
“What are you going to do to me,” Jess said quietly as she twisted her body round, the tape crinkling but holding firm.
“Make sure you are comfortable – that looks like a comfortable recliner.”
“I was relaxing there before you...”
“Quite – make yourself comfortable on it again,” the man said, helping Jess to stand and watching as she walked over and sat on the long red recliner.
“Put your legs up,” the man said, and as Jess complied he took the band of black tape and secured her ankles together side by side.
He then taped her legs together above and below her knees, and around her thighs, so that bands of black went from foot to shoulder.
“Lie down, place your head on the armrest,” the man said as he picked up a cushion from the armchair and put it in place. Jess moved her head down as she watched the man go back to the briefcase and take two more things out.
“Now,” he said as he walked over, “open your mouth...”
“Thank you,” the woman said as she placed the last of the small velvet bags into her own large shoulder bag, “you have been most cooperative.”
“I had a choice? Your partner has my daughter downstairs, doing god knows what to her...”
“I assure you she will come to no harm,” the woman said with a smile. “Now, there is something I need you to do for me.”
“And that is?”
“Open your mouth,” she said as she took a sponge ball from her shoulder bag, and compressed it in her gloved hand.
“What are you going to do with – oh god, please...”
“Remain calm,” the woman said as she eased the sponge into Eleanor’s mouth, the material expanding inside and pressing her tongue down as the older woman closed her lips over it. She watched as a strip of white micropore tape appeared from the shoulder bag, the backing paper easily removed before it was pressed down over her lips and jaw.
She could feel the material moving with her mouth as she tried to talk, but only a low mumble was coming out, as the woman took her by the arm and walked her back down the stairs.
“Hmmmm,” Jess said as she saw her mother come in, her own mouth and jaw covered in a strip of white tape that conformed to the shape of her face. She watched as Eleanor was taken to the couch, and made to lie on her side, her head on one arm and her calves over the other while the man taped her ankles and legs together.
Putting the tape roll back into the case and closing it, he said “thank you for your donation to God’s work ladies. I understand that we must show ourselves out, but I hope you enjoy the rest of your day.”
Jess and Eleanor looked at them as they picked up their bags, smiled and walked out, the front door closing behind them as both women started to struggle in the tight black bands, the tape crinkling as they moved around but holding firm.
Jess lay still, panting through her nose as she looked over at her mother.
“Whtrwwggntddd,” she said as Eleanor looked back at her.
“Ednttknnlffedntknn,” her mother replied as she looked to the clock. An hour had passed, and all she had done was made her top wet...
“Jess? Are you in there?”
The two women looked at each other as they heard Jess’ boyfriend, and then screamed out “HLPPSSSSSSS!”
“Jess, are you...” Billy looked in and whispered “Damn” before he knelt down and peeled the tape from his girlfriend’s mouth, and then eased the sponge out.
“Call the police,” she gasped, “we’ve been robbed....”
“You about ready to go out,” Jan called out as she looked at herself in the mirror. The older woman was wearing a pink sleeveless jerkin over a round necked black top, jeans and black boots.
“Coming mum,” Jan said as she came down the stairs. The younger woman was wearing a leopard print top with a white waistband and peach coloured neck, black denims and scuffed brown cowboy boots under the legs.
“Oh who can that be,” her mother said as the doorbell rang, and she opened it to a young smartly dressed couple.
“Good afternoon,” the man said as she opened the door to him, “I trust you are well this afternoon. I was wondering if you had heard the good news of Jesus Christ...”