The Warmdown

 

 

 

 

 

It was a cold November night, and in the hills on the outskirts of Nottingham the mist hung low, covering the streets as if they had a fine grey duvet over the top.  The brightest lights were coming from the leisure centre, as in one of the studio rooms the aerobics class was just coming to a close.

 

“That’s it, ladies,” the instructor said as he turned the tape recorder off.  “Don’t forget to do your stretches and warm down now.”  The women grabbed their towels, but as the majority started to stretch their legs Wanda Statham grabbed a pair of black felt boots and started to pull them up over her covered legs.

 

“Not stretching tonight, Wanda,” one of her friends called out.  “No time,” Wanda said as she looked over her shoulder, “I need to pick up Jessie and then get home for a call from Billy.”

 

“Is he still out in the Gulf?”

 

“Yeah, but he’s due back on leave next week.  We want to make sure we know when he’s coming home.”  She wiped a towel over her face, the beads of sweat clearly visible on her dark skin, and stuffed it into a bag before wrapping a large shawl around her waist.  Grabbing the bag, she headed for the door and into the cold night air.

 

Wanda was 35 years old, and worked as a receptionist at a local hotel.  Her husband was a serving officer, currently on deployment in the Gulf, and she and her daughter missed her terribly.  She ran her hair through her straight black hair as she unlocked her car door and climbed in, pulling out of the car park and heading for the local high school.  Her shawl was around a leotard, with diagonal stripes of dark blue, turquoise and green, which she was wearing over a black body stocking.

 

It only took her ten minutes to get to the school, where Jessie was waiting in the main entrance.  She was eighteen, and had been taking part in a jazz class in the sixth form.  As she ran to the car, her frizzed brown hair bounced slightly, even where it was held back by a grey headband.

 

“You must be freezing,” Wanda said as he daughter climbed in.  She was wearing a grey Sloppy Joe t-shirt with “Pineapple” written in large pink letters across the front, a grey layered skirt that came half way down her legs, which she had a pair of pink leggings on and grey boots that hung loose on her feet.

 

“Who cares,” Jessie said as she pulled her seat belt on, “Let’s get home.  I want to know when Dad’s coming home.”  She smiled as her mother drove off, heading higher into the hills.

 

The mist had become a fog as they pulled into the driveway of the detached house, the headlights barely picking out the front of the garage as the car came to a stop.  “Grab the bags from the boot, will you dear,” Wanda said as she opened the car door, “I’ll go and put the kettle on.”  Jessie watched her mother walking towards the front door, before getting out of the car herself and opening the boot.  As she picked the bags out, she saw her mother unlocking the door and walking in, and smiled again as she pulled the boot back down.  She made her way up the path, into the open doorway and pushed the door closed behind her.  She could see the light on in the main room, so she dropped the bags and called out “Do you want me to put the kettle on?”

 

There was no reply, so she walked towards the doorway, saying “Mum?  Do you want me to put the kettle on?”  To her surprise, however, the answer was not verbal, but physical as she was grabbed from behind and a gloved hand clamped over her mouth.

 

“Whthfk,” Jessie said as she started to kick out, but her head was pulled back further and she caught a glimpse of steel as a knife was pressed against her throat.  “Shut up and get in there,” she heard a rough voice say, and as she was pushed into the room her eyes widened.

 

Wanda was lying face down on the floor, and across her back was a boy of about eighteen, his hand clamped, over her mother’s mouth as he looked up at her.  “You told me they would not be back for hours,” he called out to whoever was holding Jessie, “What are we going to do now?”

 

“Shut up and let me think,” the rough voice replied as Jessie felt herself been pushed forward.  “Get on your stomach, kid next to mummy,” he said as he pushed Jessie forward onto the floor.  She looked over at Wanda, whose blue eyes were wide open, and said “Mum, what’s going on?”

 

“I need both of you to shut up,” the older voice said, and as she looked up she saw a grey haired man sit down on the couch and run his gloved hand through his hair.  He looked enough like the man sitting on Wanda for Jessie to realise they were father and son.

 

“Whtduwent,” Wanda mumbled under the gloved hand over her mouth. “Take your hand away – both of you, keep your hands where I can see them but don’t get up.” The father said, and as the hand was taken away from Wandas he said “thank you,” while looking at Jessie.  “I’m sorry love – they jumped me when I came in,” she said with a sob in her voice.

 

“Joe, have a look round and see if you can find something to tie them up with,” the father said as he knelt next to Jessie and pulled her head back.  “As for you, mummy, unless you want your lovely daughter here to suffer, you’re going to tell me where you keep your jewellery and money.  What’s it going to be?”

 

Wanda could see the silver glint against her daughter’s dark skin, and shouted “Please, don’t hurt her; I’ll do whatever you want.”  He let go of Jessie, and as her head fell back onto the floor said “Good girl – start talking.”

 

“In.... In my room, top drawer, it’s a false bottom.  There’s money in the safe in our wardrobe.  Take it all, just leave us alone,” she sobbed as the lad he had called Joe came back in.  “I could only find this,” he said as he tossed a coil of green washing line to his father and held up a roll of grey duct tape.

 

“It will have to do,” his father said as he tore the plastic cover off the line.  “You take care of the daughter; I’ll make sure mummy here is secure.  You, get up on your knees.”

 

Jessie looked over and watched as Wanda was forced to get onto her knees, while the father made a lasso with one end of the washing line and passed it over her head.  Pulling it tightly, he forced her arms tightly into her side, the green clearly visible over the black of her body stocking.  At the same time, she heard a ripping sound as her own arms were pulled behind her back, and then the feeling of the tape sticking to her bare wrists as Joe started to tape them together.

 

Wanda started crying as the older man pulled the rope down her back and started to wrap it round her own wrists in a figure of eight pattern, pulling them together as she felt the tension through the cuffs of her clothing.  Looking over, she watched as the boy called Joe pulled her daughter’s boots off, and wrapped the tape around eh rankles, covering the cuffs of her leggings as he did so.

 

“Back on your stomach,” she heard the older man say as he pushed her between the shoulders.  Falling onto her chest, she grunted as she felt him pulling her legs up and crossing her ankles, before he wrapped the rope around them as well.  While this was taking place, Jessie was rolled over onto her back and watched as the tape was passed around her legs, above and below her knees, pulling them tightly together before she was also sat up and tape passed around her arms and chest,

 

“Who are you?” Jessie said as she looked at Joe.  He looked back at her as he tore the tape off, brushing his gloved hand down her cheek as he said “Just stay calm – we don’t want to harm you, just take your stuff.”

 

“I’m going upstairs,” the father said as he walked out of the room, “See if you can find something to keep them quiet.”

 

“What does he mean, Mum,” Jessie said as she tried to twist her wrists round.  Wanda looked up, then over her shoulder to see the rope running from her wrist to her ankles, then back to her back, before saying “I don’t know, Jessie, just stay calm, and we’ll get through this.”

 

She could see sweat stains starting to appear under her daughter’s arms on the grey material, and said “Please Jessie, calm yourself down.”

 

“I can’t I’m scared,” Jessie said as she tried to twist her arms free.  While they were talking, Joe had gone to a laundry basket which was sitting in the far corner of the room.  Wanda had left it there earlier to take care of when they came home, but now she was wondering what he was looking for.

 

She got her answer when he came back with two pairs of her panties.  Wadding one up, he knelt next to Wanda and said “Open up.”  “Please don’t do that, I want to talk to my mum,” Jessie said, but her pleas fell on deaf ears as he pushed the white cloth into her mother’s mouth, her brown lips closing over the white seam as he picked up the roll of duct tape.

 

The ripping sound made her close her eyes as she heard her mother’s muffled moans becoming quieter and quieter.  Eventually she opened them again and saw a band of silver over her mother’s mouth, he cheek puffed and her eyes red with tears as she looked over at her daughter.

 

“Your turn,” Joe said as he walked over, but Jessie started shaking as she said 2No, please, I....”  A cough racked her as she threw her head back, her breathing becoming shallower.  Joe stopped and looked at her for a minute, before saying “Where’s your inhaler?”

 

“Ntbg,” Wanda mumbled as she inclined her head to the handbag that was on the floor.  Joe picked it up and opened it, taking out a blue inhaler and holding it to Jessie’s mouth as he pressed down on the top.  “Breath it in,” he said, “Slow and deep – I won’t do anything to you yet.”

 

He knelt next to her, stroking her sweaty brow as Jessie slowly calmed herself down.  “Thank you,” she eventually said, “but please, don’t tape my mouth over.  I’ve heard the stories.”

 

Joe stood up and walked over to the laundry basket, coming back with one of Wanda’s stockings.  “How long,” he asked as he sat on the couch beside Jessie, looking at her mother as he did so.

 

“Since I was five,” Jessie said as she looked up at him.  “Look, I’m scared enough as it is, you don’t have to gag me as well.”

 

“If I don’t my dad may have something to say about it,” Joe said as he opened the stocking up with his hand and fed the other pair of panties, which he had wadded up, into the centre of the material.  “Look,” he said as Wanda watched him holding the stocking in both hands, “This will keep you quiet, but if you stay calm you will be all right.”  Jessie looked over at her mother, who nodded and said “mhrfrujsy.”

 

“All right,” Jessie said before opening her mouth, allowing Joe to push the wad of cloth and nylon between her lips.  He pulled the ends of the stocking round, and she could feel the thin band digging into the corners of her mouth as he tied the ends together at the back of her neck.

 

As he stepped back, his father walked back in with a pillow case, the contents of which jangled as he checked the gags on the two women.  “Nice job, Joe,” he said as he put his arm around his son’s shoulder, “but we need to get out of here.  Let’s just make the youngster her a bit more comfortable.”  To her surprise, Jessie felt herself been lifted up by the two men, who deposited her on the couch as Wanda looked on.  Laughing, the two men walked out of the room, leaving Jessie on her side and looking down on her mother’s black and silver face as she looked up.

 

“Rulrghtmm,” Jessie mumbled as she felt the wad between her lips getting heavier as her mouth dried out.  She had not realised how much saliva the improvised bridle would absorb, but she was getting the message very clearly now.

 

Wanda looked up again at her daughter, and nodded as she tried to stretch her legs back.  The green rope was clearly visible on her clothing, as was the fact she had very little room to stretch her legs back.  Moving her legs towards her bottom, however, she had a bit more slack.

 

Jessie watched as her mother started to wriggle from side to side, wondering what it was she was trying to achieve.  To her eyes, the rope looked too tight to work loose that way, but as she watched she realised that her mother was not trying to loosen the rope – she was trying to loosen the shawl that was still tied around her waist, the long point having worked up under her body so that it looked like a thick belt around her waist.

 

Eventually, she heard her mother say “fnle” and as she looked she saw that the knot at the side of her mother’s body had worked loose.  She watched, saying “Whtrudng” as Wanda rolled over onto her back, planting her feet firmly on the floor before rolling onto her stomach again, then back.  As a result, she was now effectively lying on the shawl, with her leotard visible as the rope went under her breasts.

 

“Gvmamnt,” she mumbled as her chest rose and fell in a slow rhythm.  Jessie watched as Wanda pushed herself back with her feet, moving slowly towards the couch as she did so until her head hit slightly against the front of the long seat.  Looking up at her daughter, Jessie could see a smile in her eyes as she rolled again onto her stomach, and then wriggled her body back as she raised her chest until she was sitting on her knees, the rope hanging loosely between her back and her ankles.

 

“Dndknicldstldt,” Wanda said as she looked at her daughter, the sweat glistening on her dark forehead as well.  She shuffled round so that her hands were next to her daughter, and looking over her shoulder she said “brngurhdclsr.”  Jessie shuffled herself to the edge of the bed, watching as Wanda looked over her shoulder and felt her daughter’s cheek with her hand.

 

Moving closer, Jessie felt the thin nylon band dig slightly into her cheek as her mother fed her fingers under the material and started to slowly move them forwards, stretching the stocking as Jessie felt her mother’s fingers brushing against her lips.  She held her breath as the now soaked mass was pulled from her mouth and down over her chin, a splattign sound audible as it hit her neck.

 

“uh.... Uh....” Jessie said as she slowly breathed the air in and out, before saying “Thank god, are you all right mum.”

 

“Ys, bttsrtrnnjs” she said as she looked over her shoulder.  Jessie looked up at her mother’s back, looking carefully at the large knot in the centre of her back where the rope from her legs had been secured in place.  “Do you want me to try and untie that knot with my teeth,” she said as her mother nodded.  Shuffling herself up so that she could reach the green rope, she started to pick away at the rope, slowly pulling the end strand free from the knot and pulling it down with great care.

 

The telephone rang, and the two women stopped to listen.  As the answering machine gave the usual “Leave a massage” note, Jessie started to scream out “NO!!!!” as they heard her father asking if they were there.  Turning back to Wanda, she continued to gently pick at the rope, slowly unravelling the rope as it began to fall away.

 

Eventually, after what seemed an eternity, the rope fell down onto the floor as Wanda sat down and stretched her legs out.  For her part, Jessie sat herself up and slid down to sit next to her mother, putting her head on the older woman’s shoulder as she said “Do you want me to try and take that tape off?”

 

Wanda shook her head and nodded to her feet, where the rope now lay between her legs.  “All right,” Jessie said as she slid down onto her back and shuffled across the floor, stopping at her mother’s feet and using her teeth to feed the rope out between her legs.  After what seemed to be another eternity, Wanda managed to free her ankles and with some twisting loosen the rope around her wrists enough to pull one arm free.

 

Reaching up, she pulled on the tape at the side of her head and peeled it away in one movement, spitting out the sodden panties as she did so.

 

“My brave, brave girl,” she said as she reached down and hugged Jessie, “I’m so sorry you went through this.”

 

“You’re sorry?  I’m sorry you went through this as well – what are we going to do?”

 

“I’m going to free you,” Wanda said as she pulled the rope over her head, “once I get a pair of scissors.  Give me a few minutes to look upstairs and phone the police.”

 

Jessie sat still, watching her mum run out of the room as she rubbed her wrists.  She could hear her saying “shit” from upstairs, before she ran down the stairs and stopped by the telephone.  “They’ve ransacked both our rooms,” she said as she looked in the doorway, “just let me...  Hello, Emergency?  Police please – we’ve been robbed.”

 

 

 

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