Kirsty stood in front of the mirror, running the red stick over her lips as she puckered them in her reflection. Eventually, satisfied with the way they were looking, she dropped the covered stick into her handbag and looked at herself again.
“You’ve still got it, Kirsty,” she said to herself with a smile. She was rapidly approaching her fiftieth birthday, but looked younger thanks to her personal trainer and diet. Her long blonde hair was cut in a fringe over her eyes, while the purple sleeveless dress she was wearing hugged her figure. It was accentuated by the wide black leather belt she was wearing around her waist, and the hem came to just above her knees.
Walking into the front room, she sat on the chair and started to put on the purple wedge shoes that matched her dress. Once her daughters were there, the plan was to surprise her own mother on this, her seventieth birthday, with a meal out at an exclusive restaurant.
Glancing at her Cartier watch, Kirsty stood up and walked into the hallway, climbing the staircase to select the best handbag to use for the occasion. She did not hear the slight click of the front door as it opened and closed again, or the soft footfall in the hallway.
In fact, the first indication she had that the evening would not proceed as planned was when she walked back down the staircase, and entered her front room...
“What time is Gran due to come round?”
Bobbi looked at her watch and let out a slow moan. “In about thirty minutes,” she said to her younger sister as they stepped off the bus. “Mum is going to kill us.”
“Hey - not our fault the lecturer asked to see us before we left the campus,” Kerry said as they turned into their street. Kerry was the younger by a year - nineteen as opposed to Bobbi who was twenty - and the one who looked the most like their mother. Her short blonde hair was cut into a tight bob, while her blue eyes sparkled as she looked round.
She was dressed to keep warm, as well as for comfort, with an old blue and black lumberjack shirt over a brown roll necked sweater, faded jeans and knee length black leather boots over the legs.
Bobbi, on the other hand, took after their not very much missed father. She had long black hair that fell over the shoulders of her black wool jersey dress, the sleeves of which came down to her elbows and covered her bottom. She was also wearing a pair of olive green trousers, and a pair of sturdy tan leather boots came over the legs to halfway up the calves.
“Well,” she said as they turned into their garden and walked up the path, “we may just have time to put on dresses and look more ladylike, but she’s still going to read the riot act to us.” She put a key in the door and opened it, allowing Kerry to enter before she did.
“Sorry we’re late Mum,” she called out as she closed the door, “But...”
She stopped when she saw the tall, well built man standing in the doorway, dressed in a pair of dark blue men’s overalls and with a black stocking covering in his head. “In here,” he said as he waved a gun at the two young girls, “and not a word.”
Bobbi and Kerry looked at each other, and slowly walked past the man into the front room. The curtains were drawn, and the only light came from the standing lamp, but they could see their mother sitting in a wooden chair in the centre of the room. Her eyes were wide open under her glasses, but she was unable to say anything to them - due mainly to the wide strips of black tape that covered her mouth, but also to whatever was under the tape and causing her cheeks to bulge out.
“Very slowly,” the man said as he stood by Kirsty, his hand on her shoulder as she whimpered, “open your handbags, take out your mobile phones and place them there on the table.”
“All right,” Kerry said in a timid voice as the two girls did that. “Why have you tied our mother up?”
Kirsty was sat erect on the chair, with bands of rope around her waist, stomach and shoulders holding her firmly in place. Her arms were by the side of the chair, her wrists firmly tied into place against the chair back, while her ankles had been bound tightly together and then to one of the chair legs, while her legs were similarly secured below her knees.
“Now then,” the masked man said as he held out a canvas sack, “Watches, jewellery, money - in the sack.”
“So this is a robbery,” Bobbi said defiantly. “Why don't you just go and leave us alone?”
“I don’t think you’re in a position to say what we do and do not do, little miss,” the man said as he squeezed their mother’s shoulder, making her yelp in pain. “Now, both of you, sit on the floor back to back.”
“Just do as you’re told,” the man said, and the note of impatience was enough to get them to follow his command. As they settled on the floor, Kirsty watched the man walk over and open the rucksack he had deposited on the table, taking out two lengths of rope and throwing one to each of the younger girls.
“What’s this for,” Bobbi said as she looked at it.
“For you to tie your legs together - below your knees, nice and tightly and properly, or else I’ll make you both strip and do it myself - your choice.”
The two girls looked at their mother, who simply shook her head as a tear ran down the side of her face and over the black tape. “When you put it that way,” Kerry said as she bent her legs and wrapped the rope around them below her knees, Bobbi following suit as a voice from upstairs said “Problem?”
“No - just her kids,” the man called back up, “Keep looking up there.” Turning back to the sisters, he checked the way they had tied their legs before saying “Good - now do your ankles,” as he passed them a second length of rope.
“Can’t we take out boots off first,” Bobbi said as she looked at him.
“No,” was the reply, “I like to listen to rope rubbing on leather. Make sure you do it tightly again, and then move your legs around.”
“Pervert,” Bobbi mumbled under her breath, only to cringe when he said “I heard that.” Reaching down, she wrapped the rope around her ankles and pulled tightly, the brown leather compressing under it as she secure them tightly together side by side.
Kerry was crying softly as she tied her own ankles together, hoping it was tight enough to pass his inspection. As she stretched her legs out, her boots rubbed against each other and the rope, squeaking and making their captor smile.
“Now what,” Bobbi said as she shot an angry look at his smiling face. “Going to make us tie each other’s wrists?”
“No,” he said as he tossed each of them a white handkerchief, “I’m going to make you gag yourselves. Put those in your mouths.”
“You have got to be...” Bobbi started to say, but then she saw her mother slowly shaking her head.
Kirsty had been forced to gag herself as well, while the two men had tied her legs and waist to the chair. She looked at both her daughters and nodded to show she knew what they were thinking, and as they both pushed the cloths into their mouths she hoped the terror would not last much longer.
The intruder threw them a roll of black tape each, and said “One strip over your lips, then several more overlapping over that. Once you are finished, link your arms and put your hands on your lap.”
Kirsty grimaced as she heard the terrible ripping sound, while her daughters covered their mouths with strip after strip of the tape. Eventually, they hooked their elbows around each other at their sides, and placed their hands on their laps, palm down.
“Now then,” the man said as he knelt in front of Bobbi, and stroked her hair from her eyes as he held a length of rope in his other hand, “Stay perfectly still...”
Gloria slowly opened the gate and made her way up to the front door, hoping that Kirsty had a nice quiet evening in planned. She had not exactly enjoyed the prospect of coming out on her seventieth birthday, but her daughter had been very insistent, and eventually she had given way.
She pulled the sides of her coat around her, covering the pale blue twinset she was wearing as well as the tweed skirt, and walked to the front door, pressing the bell to let them know she had arrived. When there was no answer, she tried the handle, and as the door swung in she said to herself “Oh god - surprise party.”
Closing the door behind her, she slipped off her camel coloured great coat and hung it up, looking at herself in the hallway mirror. Yes, her hair was grey, but she still looked good. The set of pearls around her neck were real, but she wore them anyway.
“After all,” she had said to the friends at the day centre, “I like to wear my things.” Taking a deep breath, she walked into the front room and said “Well, let’s get this...”
“Msrrrmmm,” Kirsty mumbled as Gloria stood there, taking in the scene before her. Her daughter in a chair, obviously very tightly bound and gagged. Her granddaughters on the floor, Bobbi facing her with her wrist crossed and tied together against her stomach, and Kerry obviously behind her, the black tape covering her mouth.
“Good evening,” she heard a man saying behind her, “Please take off your pearls and hold them out to the side.”
“Are you all right,” she said to the three of them as Kerry turned her head to look at her. They all nodded as she unclasped the pearls, holding them to the side as she saw a gloved hand take them from the corner of her eye.
“Now your watch,” the voice said, “out to the side as before.” Gloria slowly complied, saying “I presume you have not hurt my children,” as she did so.
“No - they have been as good as gold,” the voice said as a second man walked into the room. He looked to be in his late twenties, and his short hair was plastered down onto his head by the stocking mask.
“Another one,” he said in a strangely high pitch.
“Not a problem,” the voice behind Gloria said, “check the rest of the downstairs rooms. Please, put your hands behind your back.”
“I find it rather uncomfortable to be like that,” Gloria said as she looked at the others. “If I must be restrained, I desire to be so with my arms by my side.”
There was a moment’s silence, and then the horrible ripping sound as the voice said “Very well - put your hands by your side, palms against your legs.”
“Like this,” Gloria said, and as she watched the roll of black tape was passed around her body, starting at her hands and wrist as they were forced into her side, and then up to her chest, covering her arms to just above her elbows.
“Go to the couch,” the voice beside her said, “and lie flat on your back.”
“As you wish,” Gloria said as she walked over to the three seater couch, and sat on it, before slowly lowering herself to rest with her head on the armrest and her legs on the cushions. She then got her first real look at the other, taller man as he removed the brown fur lined boots she had been wearing, and started to tape her ankles together.
“Well, at least this is comfortable,” Gloria said as she watched him lift her legs and tape them together up to her knees, leaving her looking at a black sheath down to her ankles. “And now I suppose I must be silenced as well,” she said as she looked at the two masked intruders.
The taller man said nothing, but folded a handkerchief into a pad and held it in front of her mouth. “Do you have to do this - I am unlikely to raise the alarm,” Gloria said with an attempt at a smile.
“I do have to - professional ethics,” the man said, “but I will try to make it as comfortable as possible. Breath in and out through your nose, and you will be fine.”
“Great - a caring robber. Did you say the same to them,” Gloria said as she looked at her family.
“Eventually,” he said, “now open wide.” Gloria nodded and allowed him to push the cloth into her mouth, closing her lips and waiting as he smoothed several lengths of the black tape over them as well.
“Got everything,” he said to the younger man, who nodded as he picked up the rucksack. “Try not to get too upset - I’m sure your husband will be home soon,” the taller man said as they both left, ignoring Kirsty’s muffled screams of “Whthhsbnndd!”
One thought was in her mind - that her husband had left her and the girls five years previously, and they lived alone. Who was going to come to their rescue now?
The girls were having the same thought, as they watched their grandmother wriggling on the couch, the tape rustling slightly as she did so. Gloria turned her head to look at Bobbi, and then she did something strange - she motioned with her head for her granddaughter to come over.
“Wrrtdtgfr,” Bobbi said as she looked over her shoulder at Kerry, but Gloria kept indicating with her head, so she nudged her younger sister and shuffled a little forward. Kerry was taken by surprise, but then followed suit, as inch by inch they shuffled on their bottoms across the floor towards their grandmother.
It seemed to take an eternity, but eventually Bobbi was sitting at her grandmother’s head, watching as Gloria turned onto her side and started to rub at the edge of the tape gag against the cushion.
“Whtrudngmmm,” Kirsty said as she watched, but then her moans turned to muted cheers as slowly, slowly the edge of the tape started to stick to the side of the cushion. After another eternity, she managed to peel the tape away from her mouth and moved her head to within reach of one of Bobbi’s hands, opening her mouth so that her granddaughter could ease the now very wet cloth out and drop it on the floor.
“Mwwww that’s better,” Gloria eventually said as she worked her mouth. “Now, I’m going to try and sit down. Move back a little bit.”
Bobbi pressed back, and as Kerry slid one way she followed, watching as Gloria turned herself over and slid onto her bottom. The older woman stopped for a moment, before looking at her granddaughter’s wrists.
“Hold still,” she said as she leaned over, “I’m going to work at the knot with my teeth. Not how you expected to celebrate my birthday right?”
Bobbi nodded and said “hweddudtht,” as Gloria started to pick at the knot.
“Girl guides - I told you girls you should go...”
“It’s not like you to do that?”
“Do what,” the older man said as he drove the van away from the house.
“Leave them with a way of escaping,” his daughter said as she pulled the stocking off her head and shook her hair out.
“Ah, I liked them - they were nice and compliant. Besides, I always like to give them a sporting chance,” he said as they headed to their next appointment...