The Games Players – After The Event








“So you got home from the station last night, Sir, and found them all in the living room?”


Detective Sergeant Tom Dowling nodded as he sat at the kitchen table, the uniformed officer making notes in his notepad.  “I got back about ten last night, and there they all were, the kids and my wife on the floor, my mother in law on the couch.  All of them were bound with ropes – you’ve seen the photos I took for evidence before I untied them – and they had tape over their mouths.  When I peeled the tape away from Ella’s mouth, she had a blue silk scarf in her mouth – Laura had a red one, and Eve and Adam a folded handkerchief.”


As the officer took another note, he said “so you took the photos, untied them, then called the station?”


Tom nodded, and continued “I then checked the house – jewellery had been taken, along with a few other things.  I then asked them what had happened – but you need to hear from them again, so that it is an official statement.”


“So you will ask the questions, and I take the notes?”


“Please,” Tom said as he stood up and stretched.


“Not much sleep?”


“No – but they slept right through,” he said as he left the room, coming back with a ten year old girl and an eight year old boy.  They both had blonde hair, the boy’s hair cut short and the girl’s long, as he said “Eve, Adam, this is Police Constable Thomas.  He’s going to write down what you tell me about yesterday, all right?”


“Okay daddy,” Eve said as they sat at the table.  She was wearing a pair of pink pyjamas, Adam blue ones, but Constable Thomas could see the faint rope marks on their wrists.


“Okay,” Tom said as he sat down, “let’s talk about yesterday.  I left for work about ten – can you tell Constable Thomas what you were both wearing?”


Adam nodded as he said “I had on a checked shirt over a white t-shirt, jeans, my brown trainers.”


“I had on a white top with my fur vest, and my jeans tucked into my brown high boots,” Eve said, “and my big floral hairband.  I remember you going out to work, Daddy, while Mummy gave us a snack, and then Granny came in.”


“Okay,” Tom said with a smile, “so Mummy went to her job at the television station just after that, probably.  What happened after that?”


“Granny made us some lunch,” Adam said, “and then we went to our rooms to finish our homework.  I had my music on while I was doing maths.”


“And you Eve?”


“I was writing my English essay,” Eve said, “but I do remember hearing the doorbell ring at about 2.30.”


Constable Thomas looked at his pad and nodded as Tom said “okay, so when did you both come downstairs?”


“I knocked on Adam’s door at about 3.30, and we went down to see what granny was doing.  We walked into the front room – and that was when we saw them with Granny.”


“There were two people – a man and a woman,” Adam continued, “and they both had something over their heads that made their faces a bit blurry.  They were wearing black clothes – and they had gloves on.”


“Where was you grandmother?”


“Granny was sitting on the couch,” Eve said, “and she was smiling.  But she also had her hands behind her back, and we both saw the white band round her boots at her ankles.”


“So you could see she was tied up?”


“We were not sure,” Adam said, “and I was scared.”


“So was I,” Eve said, “but then Granny smiled, and she told us we didn’t need to be scared.  She looked at the man and woman, and told us to listen to what they had to say.”


Tom and the constable exchanged a glass before he said “so what did they say to you?”


“The woman came over and talked to us,” Eve said, “she had a nice voice and a nice smile, even if it was covered.  She told us she and her friend worked for a group that help families to play special games – and they were there to play a game of Hostages with us, Mummy and Granny.”


“Did you believe her?”


“I wasn’t sure,” Adam said, “but then she told us it was you who had booked them to do this, Daddy, so we knew it would be all right.”


Tom shook his head and smiled before he said “okay – so what did she say next.”


“She told us we were all going to beheld captive, but they would not hurt us – and we would be just like Granny.  Granny then said it was all right, and they would have fun together, so we both said we’d play as well.”


Adam nodded as Eve continued “the lady gave us each a length of white rope to hold, and asked if it scared us.  We both said it didn’t, so she used it to tie our wrists together behind our backs.  We then both walked over and sat next to Granny, watching as she used some more rope around our ankles.  I remember giggling as it sank into the brown stuff my boots are made from, but we could not move them apart when she was done.”


“Were you scared then?”


“No Daddy – it was actually fun to be there like that,” Adam said, “even when they rolled the scarf up, and made me open my mouth before the woman pulled it into my mouth.”


“She made sure you stayed quiet?”


“All of us Daddy,” Eve said, “we all had the scarf in our mouths as the man turned the television on, and we all watched Paw Patrol.”


“We even saw Mummy on the television,” Adam said, “before the man brought Pizza and drinks in.  They let us all eat and drink before putting the scarves back, and that was when Mummy came in.”


“I bet she was surprised to see you?”


“Oh yes,” Eve said, “but the man and woman told her what was happening, and she asked if we were all right.  We nodded and tried to talk, and then Mummy asked if we could talk to her, so they took the scarves out.”


“They were very wet, and the lady gave us all a drink,” Adam said, “and then we told them everything we had done while the man tied Mummy’s hands behind her back.  Then he took a very long rope, and tied it round Mummy’s body so that her arms were stuck to her sides.”


“The lady asked if we thought our Mummy looked nice,” Eve said, “and I have to admit, she did with the white bands round her chest.  We then saw the man doing the same thing to Granny, before the woman said she was going to do that to us as well.”


“How did it feel?”


“Strange,” Eve said as she looked at her father, “it was tight, but after a while, it was like you or Mummy hugging me.”  She looked at Adam, who nodded as he said “the man then made Mummy sit on the floor, as he tied her ankles, and then used more rope round her legs, below her knees.”


“We all had that extra rope,” Eve said, “before the woman said she had to make sure we really stayed quiet and with Mummy.  We saw the man put something into Mummy’s mouth, and then covered it with white tape, before the woman put a folded hankie in our mouths, and put the tape over it.”


“How did the tape feel?”


“Soft,” Adam said, “but we really could not talk as the man helped Mummy to lie down, then turned her over and pulled her ankles back before he tied them to the ropes round her body.”


“What happened to granny?”


“Well, the lady helped us to lie next to Mummy on either side,” Eve said, “and then made sure our ankles were like hers.  Granny was helped to lie on her side – but she looked just like us, with the white tape over her mouth.”


“So what did the man and woman do?”


“They said they were going to wait in the kitchen until you came home, Daddy – did you see them?”


Tom looked at Constable Thomas, before he said “I’ll tell you later.  Why don’t you go back to Mummy, and ask Granny if she will come into the kitchen?”


“Okay Daddy,” Adam said as the kids stood up and ran out, Constable Thomas saying “it sounds like them.”


“Yeah, it does,” Tom said as his mother in law Laura came into the kitchen.  The woman was in her late fifties, and was wearing a blue dressing gown.


“Laura – have a seat,” Tom said, “I need to hear from you what happened yesterday.”


“Yeah, I know,” Laura said quietly as she held herself.  “Well, I got here at about one, and Ella went off to work.  I gave the kids their lunch, and then they went to their rooms while I washed up.”


“Forgive me,” Constable Thomas said, “but can you tell me what you were wearing?”


“Details – right…”  Laura ran her hand through her short blonde hair.  “I had on a black jacket with white polka dots over a black dress, and knee length black leather boots.  Anyway, I washed the dishes and put them away, made myself a coffee, and went to sit in the living room.”


“So when did the doorbell ring?”


“About 2.30 – I went to see who it was, opened the door, and then walked backwards when I saw the gun in his hand.”


“Can you describe them?”


“A young couple – man and a woman – about five nine or ten.  Both slim, dressed in black – the woman had knee length boots on – and gloves on their hands.  They both also had stockings pulled down over their heads.”  Laura looked at Constable Thomas, before she said “he rubs off on you.  Anyway, I knew who they were – Ella had told me about some of the stories she had heard but could not use in her reports.”


“The Games Players?”


Laura nodded as she continued.  “I was scared – I mean, you hear what they have done, but still, to see them standing there…  The man looked at me and told me to remain calm – so long as we did what they said, nobody was going to get hurt.  Well, I could hear the music upstairs, so I nodded as went into the living room, and I sat on the couch.”


“The woman sat down and looked at me as he walked behind me, and gently – yes, gently, took my arms behind my back.  I could feel him using rope to tie them together, as the woman said they were here to rob the house, and she knew there were children upstairs – but if I told them, and made it clear to them this was all just a game their father had arranged, it would not be something that scared them.


“Well, I wasn’t going to see them upset, was I?”


Tom shook his head as he said “I know you would not.  So the man tied rope round your ankles as well?”


Laura nodded.  “It felt strange sitting there – but then we heard the footsteps, and they stood up as Adam and Eve came into the front room.”


“They stood there, looking at me, but I smiled and told them there was nothing to be scared of – and that they should listen to the man and woman, who would explain what was going on.”


“Was it the man who talked to them?”


“No – the woman walked over and talked to them, told them that this was all a special game you had organized.  They believed her – I guess because they know what you do for a living.”


“I’ll give them credit for that,” Tom said as he shook his head.


“Anyway, she gave them some rope to hold, and then used that rope to tie their wrists together behind their back.  They then came over and sat either side of me, and I watched as she tied rope round their ankles as well.  Eve seemed to be fascinated by the way it looked round her boots as well.


“Then they gagged us all with rolled up scarves, and we sat there watching television – including the local news.  Then they actually helped us all to have some pizza and a drink before they put the scarves back into out mouths.  It was a few minutes later when Ella came back in and found us.”


“I bet she was surprised to see all three of you like that.”


“You think?”  Laura laughed before she continued “the Games Players explained how this was all a surprise her husband had organised, but I think she knew what was really going on.  She asked us if we were all right, and I tried to say we were, but – well, very wet scarf between my lips?”


“True – but they took them out?”


“After Ella asked them to.  The woman gave us all a drink, and the kids told her what had happened while the man took her hands behind her back and then bound them together.  It was when he wound the rope round her to secure her arms that I knew things were getting serious.  I saw him collect another rope from the bag she had carried in, and come behind me as I felt my arms being forced against my sides.”


“Did the kids say anything?”


“The woman asked them if they thought Ella looked nice, and they both looked at me.  She then said she was going to do the same to them, and she picked two ropes up and walked behind us as the man came round and helped Ella to sit on the floor.”


“Okay – then what happened?”


“She tied the ropes round both of them so that their arms were against their sides, just like us, while he tied Ella’s ankles together – and then secured her legs below her knees.  The woman asked how it felt, and Eve said it was all right – and then she tied our legs together below our knees as well.  She then said we all had to be kept really quiet with Ella.  We watched as he folded a blue silk square and pushed it into Ella’s mouth, then covered it with a wide strip of white tape.


“She then folded a red silk square and put it in my mouth, before I felt the tape on my chin.  It really didn’t hurt, but it really stopped me talking.  We then watched as Ella was helped to lie on her stomach, and then her legs were pulled back, her ankles tied to the ropes round her chest.”


“They then made sure the kids were the same as her?”


Laura nodded as she said “yes – they were lying on their stomachs, either side of her, as I was helped to lei on my side on the couch, my head on the armrest.  They then said they were going to wait in the kitchen until you came home, and we settled down as best we could.”


Tom nodded as he said “so I came in…”


“You came in, saw what had happened, and then took photos of us after you had taken the tape and scarves out of our mouths.  You know the rest…”


Tom nodded as he said “thanks, Laura – can you ask Ella to come in?”


“Sure,” Laura said as she left, and then his wife came in.  She was wearing a blue tracksuit with a white t-shirt and trainers, and as she sat down she said “you know I am going to be the headline this evening?”


“Yeah – I think so.  Tell us what happened after you came back?”


Ella nodded as she said “I got back about eight, after I had changed at work – I had on my brown cardigan, blue top and white vest, my jeans tucked into my old brown boots.  I came in, took off the white scarf round my neck and hung it up, walked into the front room, and there they were – Eve, Laura and Adam, their hands behind their backs, ropes round their ankles, and rolled up scarves between their lips.”


“That must have been a shock.”


“Not as much as the man and woman dressed in black standing there.  I knew who they were – after all, I have reported on some visits they had made – and I asked all three of them if they were all right.”


“Who spoke first?”


“The man – he said they were all fine, and enjoying the surprised game my husband had booked them to play with them.  Well, they did try to talk, but all I heard was the mumble, so I asked them if they could remove the gags.”


“Which they did?”


“Which they did.  The masked woman helped them to have a drink, before she moved the glasses and pizza remains I could see to one side.  Adam and Eve then told us what had happened – how they had come down to find Granny and the masked couple, and they were told it was all a big game.  How they had been bound hand and foot, gagged with the scarves, watched television and saw me – and had tea.


“At the same time, the man came behind me, and whispered into my ear to keep the game up as he tied my wrists together behind my back.”  Ella stopped for a moment, before she said “then he tied the ropes round my arms and upper body, and I really could not do much more than twist round.


“Not that I felt I could – I wanted the kids to keep thinking this was all a big game, as he took more rope and walked behind Laura, binding her upper body in the same way.”


“The kids said the woman asked if you looked nice.  How did you feel?”


“Scared, worried – but the ropes themselves did not hurt, actually, they were…”  Ella blushed and then said “anyway, Eve said I did, and then she said they were going to do the same thing to them.  I was then helped to sit down, watching as the man tied my ankles tightly together – and then secured my legs together below my knees as well.”


“And the female Games Players finished binding the kids?”


“Yeah – we all had the ropes round our chest, round our ankles, round our legs.  She asked Eve how it felt, and she said it felt nice as the man held that folded scarf in his gloved hand.  I knew I had no choice, so I opened my mouth, let him push it in, and then he covered my mouth with the white tape.


“I had to watch as the kids and Laura were gagged in the same way, before I was heled to lie on my stomach, and he hogtied me.  I could feel the heels of my boots with my fingers, but nothing else.  The women then helped Eve to lie on my left hand side, Adam on my right, and they were hogtied as well while Laura was helped to lie on her side.”


“What happened then?”


“They said they were going to wait in the kitchen until you came back, and left us there.  Let me guess – they had gone when you finally looked?”


Tom nodded.  “I came in…”


“You came in, saw us there, and took those photos before you removed the tape and scarf from my mouth.  I told you – quietly – what had happened, and the rest you know.”


Tom nodded as Constable Thomas closed his notebook.  “Okay – I’ll be through in a minute, and we can all go out for lunch.”


“Sounds good,” Ella said as she stood up and left, Tom looking at the constable. 


“You’ll have the transcripts sent to me later?”


“Yes Sir – will we ever catch them?”


“One day – hopefully…”







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