The Games Players: Generations
It has been noted, from time to time, that all the families that Steve and I encounter seem to have younger kids, both girls and boys, as well as adults of varying ages – and the question has been asked about what happens if the family’s children are older. Well, given I had just such an encounter recently in the Chilterns, I thought you might like to hear about it.
The family concerned were the Hargreaves – David Hargreaves is a celebrity chef based near Leominster, and he and his family live in a converted barn on the outskirts of the town. Said family consisting of his wife Lynn, his mother Angela, and their children – sixteen year old Rhona, fifteen year old Sorcha, and eight year old Vic.
It was a Saturday morning when I drove up to the home – David was a guest that morning on Saturday Kitchen, so I knew he had left the night before and would not be back until late. As I drove past, I noticed a small red Mini leaving the front of the house, and saw it drive in the opposite direction through my rear view mirror. It looked as if it was a white haired woman driving, who I presumed was Angela Hargreaves, so I knew I would need to adjust my plan accordingly.
I stopped a way down the road and put out some hazard signs, to make it look as if I had broken down, and checked the rucksack I had. I knew I was going to be dealing with older girls today, so I made sure I had enough rope and other items, before I climbed over a gate and walked across a field to the barn.
I was dressed as a rambler – a green, padded sleeveless jerkin over a white jumper, brown combat pants and high brown walking boots, with gloves on my hands and a woollen hat on my head. As I came closer, however, I looked round before I pulled the rim of the hat down, the balaclava covering my face so that only my eyes and lips were visible. I know it’s not quite the stocking mask, but it was necessary.
The rear of the home was absent of anyone, so I slipped over and let myself in through the back door, listening carefully to see if ‘I had alerted anyone to my presence. There was no response, so I smiled as I put my hand in the pocket of the jerkin, and drew out the starting pistol I liked to use on these occasions.
Walking into the hallway, I could hear a conversation going on in a room – the front room, I was able to discern as I got closer. Looking through the partially open doorway, I could see Lynn Hargreaves sitting in an armchair, and her daughters at either end of a long settee opposite her.
Lynn had long ash blonde hair, and was wearing a cream V-necked pullover and blue jeans, the legs of which were tucked into a pair of tan leather boots. Rhona had the same colour of hair, braided on her head, and had a denim jacket on over a short putty coloured dress with a lace hem and panel at her chest, as well as a pair of sandals.
As for Sorcha, she had the same colour of brown hair as her father, but was dressed in a similar style of dress and denim jacket – her dress was white, and the denim not quite as faded as her sister’s was. She also had white plimsolls on her feet.
Now, these were older girls, so this was one of those occasions when it was still going to be a game – just a different way of introducing it. So I took a deep breath, opened the door and walked in, pointing my pistol in their direction as I said “Hello there – please, remain where you are, and listen to what I have to say.”
Lynn stared at me as her daughters started to stand, but I repeated “stay where you are, and listen quietly. I have no desire for anyone to get hurt, but if any of you decide to cause trouble, then the responsibility for what happens is on you.”
“Girls,” Lynn said quietly as she looked over, “she’s armed, please, remain calm.”
“Who are you,” Rhona said quietly as she looked at Sorcha, “and what do you want?”
“The papers call me The Games Player,” I said with a smile, “what does that tell you?” I watched as the three of them looked at each other, before Lynn said “please, take whatever you want, but don’t…”
“I’m afraid you have no choice in that,” I said with a smile as I slipped my rucksack off, “but I implore you all to treat it as a game. You will find it a way of dealing with what happens, and should the others return, then making it a game is less stressful for them.”
I noticed the way Lynn glanced at the clock, and said “so I’m going to get all of you to take part in this stage, so that you all play along. Please, place your hands palm down on your heads until I say so.” I smiled as all three did that, and then opened my rucksack and took out a length of rope – which I passed to Rhona.
“I want you to put your hands behind your back,” I said to Sorcha, “and turn so that your back is to your sister. She is going to tie them together with the rope.” As she did this, I said to Rhona “now, double it over, and wrap it round your sister’s wrists before you take the ends through the middle, and pull them back. Your mother will be watching – and so will I.”
Rhona nodded slowly and did just what I asked her to do, Sorcha biting her lower lip as her wrists were forced together behind her back. “Wrap it round several times,” I said quietly, “then tuck the ends under the top band, separate them, and take them between her arms.”
“That’s tight,” Sorcha whispered as the bands tightened, and I told her sister how and where to tie the ends off, and then tuck them in. She then looked at me as I handed her a second length of rope, and said “now, do exactly the same thing to secure her ankles together.”
“What are you going to do to us,” Lynn said as she watched Rhona kneel down and start to bind Sorcha’s ankles, stifling a tear as she did so.
“Encourage you all to treat this as a game of hostages,” I said as Rhona finished and stood up, Sorcha twisting round. I took two more lengths of rope and handed them to Lynn, before saying “your turn now – do the same to your older daughter after she sits down.”
As Lynn swallowed and then knelt behind Rhona as she turned and put her hands behind her back, I saw the way Sorcha was looking at herself, and then at her sister as her wrists were bound. She was frightened, that much was true, but there was something else going on here – as if she was discovering something for the first time.
“Is there something wrong, Sorcha?”
She suddenly looked up to see her mother looking at her, as she shook her head and said “no, Mum, I’m just trying to think of this as a game.”
“Are you sure,” Rhona said as her mother tied the rope tightly round her ankles. Sorcha nodded as Lynn took the rope between her older daughter’s ankles, and then tied the ends off before she stood up.
“I guess it’s my turn now?”
“It is,” I said as I took the ropes, binding her wrists and then her ankles after she sat down. “Before we go for a walk round, however, I have to make sure these two young ladies stay right where they are.”
“How are you going to do that,” Rhona asked, and then her eyes opened wide as I took out a much longer length of rope, and doubled it over before I put it round Sorcha’s arms, pulling it tight under her chest so that not only were her arms forced into her sides, but her chest was forced up and out, her jacket opening to the sides as I made two bands above and below her chest.
She looked down as the ropes rubbed on her chest, and then I heard her gasp as my hands brushed over her chest as I took the rope under one arm, up and around the back of her neck, and under the other arm. I was beginning to think she was enjoying this, as her mother said “Sorcha, seriously…”
“I’m… I’m all right Mum,” the sixteen year old said, “it’s just different, a new experience…”
“Keep thinking that,” I said quietly as I took a second long length of rope and tied Rhona’s arms to her sides in the same way. She was trying no tot show any emotion, and failing slightly, it was clear to me she was confused by what she was feeling as well…
The last thing I did was to kneel down and secure the legs of both young ladies together below their knees, and then I looked at them both.
“Your mum is going to come round the house with me,” I said quietly, “but that means you two have to be quiet as well. I want you to open your mouths, and I will put a folded scarf in. Give it a moment, you will get used to it. Then I will put some tape over your mouths, and leave you here while we look round.”
“And what about me,” Lynn said quietly.
“You will be brought back to be with them,” I said as I folded two large black silk squares, and looked at the girls, “so open wide now please.”
The two girls looked at each other, as they twisted round, but they allowed me to put the scarves in and wait for them to close their lips over it, before I tore long, wide strips of white tape from a roll and pressed them firmly down on their mouths, the shape of their lips clearly visible below. As I did it to Sorcha, however, she moaned softly, and I knew she was enjoying this.
“Now then,” I said as I helped Lynn to stand – and then stopped as the front door opened and closed, and a female voice said “we’re back.”
“Remember, this is a game,” I hissed as we all looked to the door, and Vic Hargreaves came in. He was wearing a grey t-shirt with longer sleeves in a lighter grey, grey joggers with a white stripe down the side, and blue shoes. He looked at us, and at me, and whispered “Mummy…”
“What’s wrong Vic,” the other female voice said before Angela Hargreaves came into the room, and stared at her family. She had curly grey-blonde hair, with a pink cardigan over her white blouse, designer jeans and trainers – but when Lynn said “Hey Angela, Vic – you’re just in time to play the game as well,” I think she realised what was going on.
“Are… Are the girls enjoying this as well,” she said as she looked at the two older girls, Rhona nodding as she tried not to scowl and show her fear – but it was Sorcha who closed her eyes and said “Hhhmmghrhnne” through the tape over her mouth.
“Game? What sort of game,” Angela whispered as she looked at me, her hand on Vic’s shoulder.
“Robbers – I’m pretending to be one, and as you can see Vic, your mother and sisters are already playing. I think it would be great fun fi your gran and you played as well – what do you say?”
Vic looked at his mother, and then his grandmother as Lynn slowly nodded. “All right then, we’ll play as well,” Angela finally said as she looked at me, “so where are you going to leave us?”
“I think we’ll take you up to one of the bedrooms,” I said as I took more lengths of rope form my bag, “but it is unfair of you to leave this room unlike Lynn here. So I want you both to stand in front of her, and put your hands behind your back.
“You sound funny, sis,” Vic said as he looked at Rhona and Sorcha, both of them twisting round as the ropes held their arms firmly in place.
“Shhshluhhshn,” Rhona mumbled, and I almost saw a smile on her lips as I bound her younger brother’s wrists tightly together behind his back, and then those of her grandmother behind hers.
As Angela flex her fingers, I knelt down and secured their ankles together while Lynn and the girls watched, before I said “right then – just before we go, something I need to do to make sure the older girls stay here.”
“What’s that,” Lynn said as she jumped over to join the other two, all of them watching as I helped Rhona to sit on the floor, then lie down with her head on a pillow before I pulled her ankles back and tied them to the chest ropes.
I helped Sorcha to lie down, her head to the back of the couch, and then pulled back her ankles. As I secured them to her chest ropes, I whispered into her ear “nod or shake your head. Are you enjoying the way this makes you feel?”
As she nodded slightly, I said “relax, enjoy the experience, and keep the secret to yourself.” She nodded again, as I picked up the bag, and said “after you.”
I watched as the other three started to jump out of the room, and to the staircase, before one by one they sat on the stairs and pushed themselves up at my direction. When we all reached the top, I said with a smile “now then, we will visit your grandmother’s room first. Will you lead the way Vic?”
“Okay,” he said with a smile as he jumped to a door and pushed it open, all of us going in to see a large room with a double bed. “Very nice,” I said as I looked round, “now, we start by making you all a little bit more secure, so stand still while I do this.”
I started with Lynn, her mother in law and son watching as I wrapped the long length of rope tightly round her body and pulled her arms into her sides, forming the usual bands above and below her chest. I then took the rope under one arm, up and around the back of her neck, and under the other arm as she looked at Vic.
“You really look different like that Mum,” he said as Lynn nodded – then they both watched as I repeated the process on Angela. Looking at Vic, I then said “do you want to be the same” – and he nodded, so a few minutes later he also had his arms bound tightly to his sides.
“Now,” I said to him, “jump over to the bed and sit down. I’m going to secure your legs like your sister, and then I need to ask your grandmother something.”
“Will I have the tape over my mouth as well,” he said, sounding excited as he jumped over and sat down.
“Yes you will – but not just yet,” I said with a smile as I knelt down and bound his legs together below his knees, then helped him to lie on his side so that he could watch before I bound his ankles to the ropes behind his back – not too tightly, but tightly enough.
“Now,” I said as I looked at Angela, “the bad robber wants you to point out where your valuables are, or your grandson may not like what happens.”
“Please tell her, Granny,” Vic giggled as he twisted on the bed, Lynn shaking her head as Angela said “very well then – look in those drawers first…”
After a few minutes, ~I had her valuables in my bag, and she was lying facing Vic on the bed, her bound legs pulled back and her ankles secured to her chest ropes as Lynn watched.
“Time for you both to be quiet,” I then said as I folded two pieces of cloth, “open wide, and then close your lips over it.”
“Will he be all right,” Lyn said quietly as I put the cloth in Vic’s mouth first, and then covered his mouth and jaw with the white tape. He looked up and nodded as he said “Hllbhffhnmhmmme.”
“I’ll watch over him,” Angela said before I gagged her in the same way, and then I turned the television on so that Vic could watch it. “I’m going to take your mum into her room now – when I come and give the word, you can try and escape and see who manages to do so first, all right?”
Vic nodded, the smile clear under the tape as I helped Lynn to jump to her room. “Tell me where your valuables are now,” I said as she sat on the bed, watching as I tied her legs together below her knees.
“I need to know – have you seen how Sorcha felt like this?”
I stood up and smiled as I said “I did notice – and that is something for you to talk over with her after this. For now, however, open wide, and then I can make sure you stay there…”
When I looked in Angela’s room, Vic was asleep, his grandmother looking over and nodding as I closed the door and walked down the stairs. I had left Lynn hogtied on her bed, with her valuables in my bag as well, but there was one thing I needed to do first.
And that was to check the front room, where Rhona was still lying on the floor, but Sorcha had rolled over, a smile clearly visible under the tape.
“I’m leaving – the rest of your family are secured upstairs,” I said with a smile. “Wait thirty minutes, and then you can try to escape.”
As I left, however, something told me Sorcha at least was not going to try…