As Yvonne poured the red wine into two glasses, her husband Mark sat down and looked at her.
“Penny for them,” Yvonne said as she sat back.
“I was just remembering one or two of the first times I visited some families – you know, in preparation for my debut as Jay Edwards,” Mark said with a smile.
“Now what on earth brought them to mind?”
“Looking at the photos of Lisa when she was six – it reminded me of the first house I visited where I was not invited. Where I discovered just how effective I was at charming people.”
“Oh yeah,” Yvonne said, “where the daughter suggested how they could be tied up…”
“All right – we’ll do what you say,” the woman said as she sat with her blonde haired daughter, looking at Mark. Why she felt so calm when this man had broken in, with a balaclava covering his head and wearing a denim jacket and jeans, she had no idea, but he sounded calm, and somehow, she felt safe…
“Who are you,” the little girl said. She wore a yellow vest with a picture of two princesses on the front over a short sleeved blue top, a tiered skirt made of purple lace, and her hair was in two bunches. Her mother was wearing a grey sports sweatshirt, and blue bottoms, and her brown hair was cut short.
“Well,” Mark said as he smiled, “I’ll be honest. I’m a robber, and I’m here to take something from your mummy – and that means I need to make sure you and your mummy can’t tell anyone I’m here for a while. But- we can make a game of it, if you want?”
“A game,” the little girl said, “how?”
“Yes, how,” her mother said as she looked at Mark.
“Listen – do you have any tape in the house?”
She stared at him as he smiled, and said “yes – in the store cupboard.”
“Well,” he said as he stood up and took her daughter’s hand, “come and show me.” They walked into the hallway, the telephone wire hanging out of the socket, and he watched as she opened a door under the stairs, taking out a roll of red and a roll of white tape before she handed them to him.
“Now then,” Mark said as he looked at the girl, “which for Mummy – red or white?”
The girl looked at her mother and said “I want white Mummy.”
“Then I will have red,” she said, Mark smiling as he said “all right then – turn around, both of you, and put your hands behind your backs.”
“This is exciting, Mummy,” the girl said as Mark took the white tape, crossed her wrists behind her back, and taped them tightly together, before he wound the tape round her waist to keep them secured. He then did the same to her mother, using the red tape in her case as the young girl watched.
“It doesn’t hurt,” she said as her mum twisted round, before Mark walked them back into the front room, the little girl watching as he made her mother lie on the floor and taped her ankles together, then her legs below her knees.
“Can you do that to me while I’m standing up?”
“Of course I can,” Mark said as he knelt down and taped her ankles together with the white tape, and then taped her legs together below her knees as well. “there – how does it feel?”
“Different – nice,” she said as he tore a strip of the tape off, and held it in his gloved hands. “Is that to keep me quiet?”
“It is – can you put your lips together and smile for me?”
As she nodded and smiled, Mark pressed the tape firmly over her mouth, seeing her nod as she watched him use the red tape to gag her mother. She wriggled round and looked at them as he lifted the girl up, laying her on the couch before he made his way to the bedroom…
“When I looked in before I left, the girl had managed to stand up and jump over to where her mother was lying, and was kneeling down to be with her,” Mark said as he sipped his wine.
Yvonne shook her head as she said “at least it was one girl. When I was seeing if I could do this, do you remember when I called on the woman who ran our local shop?”
“Oh yeah – with her daughter and her two friends…”
“You’re going to set us all an escape challenge?”
“That’s right,” Carol Kane said as she looked at the three girls, “and I’ll have one as well. If this lady is indeed going to rob us, we may as well make it fun.”
They looked at the woman, wearing a black leather jacket, dark jeans and gloves, and dark glasses. She spoke in a soft American accent, as she said “that’s right – and your names are?”
“I’m Clare – and that’s my mummy,” the girl in the middle said. She had shoulder length brown hair, and was wearing a black dress with a wrap-round top and a white under part.
“Bobbi,” the girl to her left said, as she brushed her strawberry blonde hair away. she had on a pink vest top and shorts, with a bead necklace and bracelet. “That’s Rhona.”
The third girl nodded but stayed quiet – she was clothed in a short cap sleeved dress with a floral print skirt.
“So how will you get us ready to try to escape?”
Yvonne looked at the three girls, and said “well, I think some tape will do – lots of tape. Why don’t you talk to each other while I get your mum prepared?” She looked at Carol and said “please, kneel in front of the couch.”
The older woman said “all right” as she knelt down. Yvonne had surprised her as she closed the store, and allowed her to remove her overall, revealing the dark blue cotton top, her faded jeans with the legs ticked into a pair of knee length black leather boots, and the blur scarf round her neck.
“You girls all right,” Carol said as she looked over, while Yvonne took some yellow and green rope, and secured her wrists tightly together behind her back.
“Yeah – it’s actually quite exciting Mum,” Claire said as she watched Yvonne take the rope down, and bind her ankles together, before she removed the blue scarf and used it as a thick cleave gag, Carol smiling as it was tied round her head.
“So – let’s get you three girls ready,” Yvonne said as she picked up the large roll of masking tape she had collected from the store, “all three of you – hold your hands out, palms together.”
Carol watched as she taped the wrists of each of the girls, then knelt down and taped their ankles and legs together, before she tore strip after strip of the tape off and pressed it over their mouths, covering their lips and chins as they tried to talk to each other.
“There we go,” she finally said as the three girls raised their wrists and posed, Carol laughing, “sit still while I empty the safe.” She walked to the side where a safe door was open, put the contents into her bag, and then walked out, leaving them to try and get free…
Mark nodded as he said “I remember reading about that as well. Hey – what about the McCory family?”
“the first one we ever visited together,” Yvonne said quietly.
“That’s right – before we debuted as Jay Edwards and Mrs McPhee.”
“Let me see – we went into the house while they were eating dinner, we let them finish, we let Mum do the washing up, and then…”
“We took them to their rooms, one by one…”
“What are you going to do to us,” Mrs McCory said as she and her three daughters were escorted into the first bedroom. She was wearing a white top with thin black horizontal stripes over a blue t-shirt, black leggings and dark grey knee length leather boots, and she had her arms round her youngest daughter. Eight year old Hope had on a pink vest with a pink and white striped skirt, while ten year old Faith was wearing a green t-shirt and black leggings.
“We need to make sure you cannot raise the alarm before we go,” the woman said as she looked at the mother. She and the man were wearing black boiler suits and balaclava masks, the man carrying a gun while she put a canvas bag on the floor which she had been holding in her gloved hands, “and we start with Charity here.”
“What do you want me to do,” the eleven year old said as she looked at them. She was wearing a pink t-shirt and dark blue jeans, and like her sisters had bare feet. The masked man and woman had come into the kitchen while they had bene eating tea, and let them finish before they had come up. It had been scary at first, but they spoke quietly, and somehow that had made them all feel better…
“Lie on your back on your bed,” the woman said, “and we shall see.” Opening the bag, she took out some strips of coloured cloth, and smiled as she made Charity put her hands together in the air, then used one of the strips of cloth to tie her wrists tightly together – the second used to secure her ankles in the same way.
“Now then – sit up, and bend your legs, knees between your arms.”
The other girls watched as Charity did that, the masked woman using another strip of cloth to tie her wrists to her ankles, before she whispered into the young girl’s ear, and put her hand over her mouth.
When she removed it, Charity winked at her mother and sisters, as the woman took a roll of silver tape, tore a strip off, and pressed it over Charity’s mouth. “now – don’t move or try to take the tape off,” she said with a smile, “after all – we have the rest of your family.”
Charity nodded as the man smiled, and said in a Geordie accent “right then – who’s next?”
“Me,” Hope said as they went to the second bedroom, the masked woman looking into the bag and taking out three red cloths, and a roll of blue tape.
“Okay my dear,” she said with a smile, “sit anywhere you want.” Hope walked to an old purple chair in the corner of the room, and smiled as the woman said “put your hands together in front of yourself, and press your wrists together so that this cloth stays there.”
She held one of the red cloths up, Hope nodding as she pressed her arms together to hold the cloth in place, while the woman took the blue tape and wrapped it tightly round her wrists so they were held together. She then raised her legs and pressed the second cloth between her ankles while the woman taped them together as well.
“So what is the other cloth for,” Faith asked as her sister swung her legs up and down.
“For her to be quiet – open wide please Hope.”
She giggled as the woman put the folded cloth into her mouth, then closed her lips over it before a strip of the blue tape was pressed firmly over her lips. She looked at her mother and sister, and said “ssshmellrht” before the man smiled.
“Stay there,” he said as they walked Faith and her mother into the next bedroom, the man taking a wooden chair and setting it in the centre of the room before he said “heave a seat, and put your wrists together in front of you.”
“What are you going to do to me,” Faith asked as the masked woman took from her bag a roll of black tape.
“Secure you to the chair,” she said quietly, “sit on the blue cushion, and put your hands together in front of yourself.”
“Do as he says,” Mrs McCory said as Faith sat down, watching as the black tape was torn from the roll wound tightly round her wrists. At the same time, the masked man took her mother’s wrists behind her back, and started to bind them together using the grey tape.
“That’s not so bad, is it,” the woman said with a smile, Faith shaking her head as her wrists were lowered to hr lap, and the tape taken round her upper legs and the seat of the chair. Tearing the tape free and patting it down, she then taped the young girl’s ankles together, before standing up as Faith swung her legs to and fro.
“How does it feel,” her mother asked as she tried to twist her wrists round.
“It’s tight,” Faith said as the masked woman stood behind the chair, and started to wind the tape round her upper arms and the chair back, “but it’s all right. What about you Mummy?”
“I’ll cope,” Mrs McCory said as she watched her third daughter been taped tightly, before a folded cloth was held in front of her mouth. Faith opened wide as the cloth was eased in, and then the black tape wound round her head as the woman held her hair up.
“Check on all three of them,” the man said, the woman nodding as Faith watched him take her mother into her bedroom.
“Right – well done,” he said quietly, “and now it is your turn. Lie down.”
As she lay on the bed, he took the tape and wound it tightly round her ankles, and then round her legs above her knees, before she rolled over and took the folded panties from her drawer into her mouth, then the strips of duct tape over her lips. She watched as she lay on the yellow covers as he searched the room, mumbling and her boost squeaking as she struggled.
Eventually, he smiled and said “thank you – enjoy your evening” as he left, the woman joining him as they left the house, the sound of the girls and their mother calling to each other following them.
“How did we ever get away with it,” Yvonne said with a laugh.
“We did,” Mark said with a grin, “and it worked – because it allowed us to know what worked and what didn’t, before Jay Edwards and Mrs McPhee made their debut…
“Where’s Mummy and Aunt June?”
“Mah freend Jay is talking to them,” the woman said in a soft Scottish accent, “but I came in so we culd all play a wee game together. Dinnae be afraid Ruth – it won’t hurt, but it will be fun.”
Ruth looked at the woman, wearing a dark blue boiler suit, black trainers and gloves, and a black balaclava covering her head so that only her eyes and red lips showed.
“What’s your name.”
She looked at Ruth’s six year old sister, and said “Ah’m Mrs McPhee – yer?”
“I’m Annie – this is our baby sister Katy,” she said as she looked at the four year old. All three had been taken into the front room by the woman after she and the man with the funny Northern accent had surprised them in the kitchen, and he had stayed with their mother and aunt.
“Why are you here,” Katy asked as she looked up. She was wearing a white t-shirt with pink trim and diagonal lines of red dots, and blue denim shorts, while Annie had on a pink t-shirt with a Smiley face sporting a red band on the top, and blue checked shorts. All three girls were barefoot – Ruth in a white vest top and black jeans.
“Well, Ah’ll be honest – mah friend Jay wans yer mammy to give us some money, and part o the reasone I haf ye in here is to let her dae that. Now, we’ll go in a while, but we hae tae make sure none o ye can tell anyone whas happened fer a while – so we’ll play ah game. Can ye all sit on the couch, hands on yer heads?”
As they did so, Mrs McPhee opened the bag she was carrying, and took out a roll of white medical tape. “Ruth – ye can gae ferst. Stand up an look at yer sisters.”
As she did so, all three girls heard the sound of the tape coming from the roll -a squelchy sound, as Mrs McPhee crossed Ruth’s wrists behind her back and secured them together, taking the rope around and between her arms. When she had finished, she smiled as she said “sit back down – ah’ll tape yer legs next.”
“Will you use that tape on us,” Katy said as Ruth sat down, watching as her ankles were taped together as well.
“Ahll gie ye a choice,” Mrs McPhee said as she taped Ruth’s legs together below her knees, and then pressed a length of the white tape over her mouth, her lips visible under the material as it formed to the shape of her chin.
“So – which o yes wans tae go next?”
“Me,” Annie said.
“White or green?”
“Green please,” she said as Mrs McPhee took a roll of green duct tape, and secured the young girl’s wrists together in front of her.
“All right,” Mrs McPhee said as she taped Kat’s wrists together, and then taped the ankles of both the girls before they sat on the floor.
“Now cover my mouth!”
“Ready, lassie,” Mrs McPhee said, Katy nodding as she smiled and the masked woman gently pressed the green tape over her mouth. Annie looked over and smiled as she watched Katy, Mrs McPhee brushing her long blonde hair from her face before she was tape gagged as well. The Scottish woman then helped them to sit back to back, before she taped their upper bodies together, bent their legs and taped their wrists down to their thighs.
“Whthtbbuuttmmmee,” Ruth said as she wriggled round, Mrs McPhee nodding as she took the white tape and secured her arms to her upper body, then helped her to lie down as she turned the television on…
“The girls are quiet?”
“Mrs McPhee will take very good care of them,” the masked man said as he watched the older of the two women type at the terminal. The younger woman lay on the floor of the room, looking at them over the silver tape that covered her mouth, keeping the sponge ball inside. Her wrists were taped together in front of her, and her ankles taped as well, the hem of her off white vest top rising from the waistband of her jeans as she wriggled round on the floor.
“All right, Mister Jay Edwards – I’ve done what you wanted,” the other woman said as she pushed her chair back, looking at her own taped ankles. She had on a grey jacket over a cream blouse with black dots, that in turn over a dark grey vest, and blue jeans.
“and I am very grateful,” Jay said in his soft Geordie accent, before he took her wrists behind her back and taped them firmly together. “Now, sit on the floor.”
It took her some time, and caused her some difficulty, but eventually she sat down as Jay knelt, and said “open your mouth.” As she did so, he pushed a small sponge ball in, and then taped over her lips with silver tape before he lay her on her back.
The door opened as the masked woman came in. “How are the girls,” Jay said as he looked over.
“Watching ae film - here?”
“All done – let’s go,” he said as he turned the computer off, and pulled the modem cable from the wall, the two older women struggling as they left the room…
“Anyway – ready for the farm visit this weekend?”
“Oh yes – with our friends,” Mark said with a smile, “should be fun…”