Think Fast, Jay Edwards!








“Hey,” Yvonne Williamson said as she brought two mugs of coffee into the room, and put one down next to her husband as he sat at the table, “what are you looking at?”


“Work,” Mark said as he turned over a page, and nodded.


“Work work or WORK WORK?”


“The latter,” Mark said as he picked up his mug and took a drink.  “A very lucrative piece of work as well, if we can complete it.”


“Oh, and who are you thinking of?”


“Sir Mark Hewton.”


Yvonne let out a low whistle.  “Very lucrative indeed – will Mrs McPhee be needed?”


“Not for this one – his kids have all grown up and left home.”  Mark showed Yvonne a picture of a grey haired man with a younger woman with light brown hair, cut short and with a hint of grey in her temples.


“Sir Mark and Lady Emma Hewton – she’s ten years younger, but that’s not an issue in their relationship.  Married twenty five years – four kids, youngest just turned nineteen.”


“Well, no need for my help then,” Yvonne said as she sat next to him.  “So where are the kids?”


“The boys are twenty four and twenty two – the oldest is married with two kids, a two year old boy and a baby girl.  The other lad is engaged, and they both work with their father – so no issues there.  The oldest girl graduates this year, and the youngest is in the first year.”


“All Oxford?”


“Oh yes – brains and money,” Mark said with a smile.  “Anyway, Sir Mark is away on business, so Lady Emma is alone in the house with the maid – until Saturday night.”


“So let me guess – you visit Saturday afternoon, entertain the wife and maid, and then ask him to transfer some funds that night?”


“That’s right – easy and simple, no problems whatsoever.”


“Don’t say that Mark.”


“Why not?”


“Because you know what happens when you say that...”



Saturday lunchtime, especially just after Christmas, meant the car park at the out of town mall was packed – so nobody noticed the three men in overalls as they walked to the non-descript grey van and got in the back.


“Afternoon Gentlemen,” Jay Edwards said as the last of them closed the door, “my thanks for joining me today.”


“Always a pleasure Jay,” one of them said as he pulled the rim of his hat down, making sure the balaclava covered his face, “will Mrs McPhee join us today?”


“I don’t think so, no – no kiddies today, so no need.  We have two women to keep company until later, and I presume that will not cause a problem?  There’s also a safe to empty if you wish to keep occupied.”


“Nice – so when do we head off?”


“Right now,” Jay said as he went to the front of the van, pulling the divider across as he removed his balaclava, and set off.




As he approached the entrance to the Hewton house, Mark looked up the driveway and frowned.  The car he knew Emma Hewton drove as there, but there was also a larger car, one he did not recognise.


“Are we here Jay,” he heard one of his associates say behind him.


“Yes, but I need to make sure the coast is clear,” he said as he pulled the van up a small lane at the side of the house, making sure it was far enough away from the road to be seen.


“Oh?  What’s wrong?”


“I’m not sure,” Jay said as he stopped the van, opened the glove compartment and took out a set of binoculars, “I don’t think it’s a major issue, but you three stay in there for a few minutes.  I won’t be long.”


Getting out of the van, Mark pulled himself up a tree that stood outside the wall that surrounded the house, and then climbed as high as he could.  From the vantage point, he could see into the rear of the house, and as he looked through his binoculars he got the shock of his life.


He could see through the windows on the ground floor, and there were two men, dressed in boiler suits and wearing balaclavas, emptying the contents of the wall safe into a canvas bag,


“Well, that’s a first,” he said to himself, “and unfortunate.  I wonder where the people who should be in the house are?”  He looked through the other windows, but there was no sign of them.


“Probably secured in a room at the front,” he said to himself as he looked through the lower window again, and saw a third masked man talking to the other two.  All three disappeared, and then two minutes later he saw the third man in an upstairs window.


The masked man looked round, and then pulled his mask off, wiping his brow before he pulled the mask back on again, but that was enough for Mark to recognise him.


“Well, that’s interesting,” he said to himself, “Donald Turner.”


The Turner family were on one of his files – Donald worked for a local bank as a senior clerk, with access to the vaults and the accounts.  Married, two girls aged 9 and 11, he had been on the possible visit list for a while.


Mark sat for a moment – part of him said to put Lady Hewton and her maid through another robbery on the same day was wrong, but also he had planned this for too long – and the potential gains were too big to ignore.


He then heard the front door open and close, and climbed back down.


“Well Jay,” the associate said as he got back in.


“Apologies for the wait, gentlemen,” he said as he started the van, “but we are good to go now.  Get ready.”


Jay drove to the end of the lane, back round and into the tree lined driveway, the car having left, and parked as he pulled the balaclava down, and got out, the three men walking with him as he opened the front door.


“I think the lady of the house and the maid won’t give us any trouble,” he said as he opened the door to the main room – and then stopped for a moment.


Lady Hewton was there, as well as the maid and a young woman, no older than nineteen or twenty – but all three were tied at the ankles, legs and wrists, with rope around their stomachs as well, and gagged with strips of tape.


The really surprising thing was the young girl behind Lady Hewton, looking at Jay as she stopped trying to untie the ropes, and the other young girl holding the telephone.


Jay looked round the room, and then at the girl holding the telephone before he said “Put the phone down, lass.  You know I’m not going to hurt you or your friend, but you need to do as I say.”


“Hello - it’s you, isn’t it,” the girl said as she replaced the handset,


“It is,” the other girl said as she stood behind Lady Hewton, “but if you’re here...”


As they spoke, Jay’s mind was working overtime.  He had expected there to only be Lady Hewton and her maid – but there were three more, and to make matters worse, the two girls not only should not be there at all, never mind the fact they were amongst the last people he needed to see.


“Indeed,” he eventually said, “but what are you two lassies doing here?”


He looked at Lady Hewton, who had not taken her eyes off him as she said “Whrruu?”


“My apologies, Lady Hewton,” Jay said as he smiled, “if you will bear with me for a few minutes?”


As he listened to the girl talking about both of them walking through the park, and then being forced at gunpoint into a car, before they were made to knock on the front door and get a gang of armed robbers into the house, Jay had to fight one other thought down.


Why did he keep running into friends of his family – especially those he had sworn to leave alone?


When she had finished talking, Jay looked at the other masked men with him.  “Will you please keep an eye on Lady Hewton and the other two women – I think we need to talk to these two girls a little more.  Lady Hewton, please accept my apologies – I will be back shortly and will introduce myself then.”

Walking to the door, he motioned to the two girls to follow him, and walked into the dining room, pulling two chairs out and motioning to them to sit down.


 “Patty Pickering and Rachel Rigg,” he said after he closed the door, “what is it about you that means we keep running into each other.”


“I don’t know Mister Edwards,” Rachel said, “but I feel a lot safer with you than the other two men.”


“So do I,” Patty said, “but our mums may be getting worried about us, and those men took our mobile phones.”


“Well, I can’t let you call them from here – one of my men has disconnected the phone by now,” he said in an apologetic tone, “and I’m afraid you’re both going to have to stay here as well.  I know when we visited with Jenny Craig, I hoped that was the last time, but – well, here we are.”


“Jenny – Mr Edwards, I need to ask a favour.”


“Oh, what?”


“I heard the men who brought us here say they were going to rob the Craigs later tonight – I was going to warn them and the police when you came in, but now...  Mister Edwards, can you get a warning to the police?  I don’t want them to go through this.”


Looking at Patty, Jay could see she was genuinely worried about what she had just said.  “How did you hear this?”


“They only tied our wrists and ankles at first – I got free, sneaked out and heard them.  Please – can you do something?”


Jay sat back, an idea starting to form in his mind.  He knew exactly who it was who was going to rob the Craigs - well, who their leader was anyway.  More to the point, he had sworn to Brian and Sarah he would not target them again – perhaps...  Perhaps there was something he could do on this occasion.  But it had to be done in a way that preserved his reputation...


“Amateurs,” he eventually said as he shook his head.  “Look, I can’t promise anything, Patty, Rachel...”


“Well, will you do something else for us?”


“What’s that?”


“If you really can’t warn them, at least make sure we can’t move – I really want to be unable to move if we have to stay here.”

“Me too,” Rachel said, “I missed it too, and I presume the three women here are going to be treated the same way anyway.”


“All right,” Jay said as he made them walk back into the room.  “Sit down, and keep quiet,” he said as we went in, seeing the three older women still sitting on the floor, “I need to call for some additional help.”


Closing the door, Jay walked back into the dining room and took a mobile phone out.


“Yvonne?  It’s me – can you get ahold of that babysitter the Craigs use – April, I think her name is – and get her to come and watch the kids for the night?  Call me back if you can.”


He ended the call, and then looked round the room until he felt the phone vibrate in his hand.


“Hi, can she do it?


“Great – I need to meet you at the lock-up in,” he said as he looked at his watch, “ninety minutes.  I am really going to need your help.


“Yeah, you might say that – I’ll see you in an hour and a half.”


Ending the call, he took a deep breath and walked back into the front room.


“I’m really sorry about that – I need some very special help for these two young ladies.  Lady Hewton, allow me to introduce myself – my name is Jay Edwards, and these are some of my associates.  I must ask you to remain calm, and not to do anything to raise the alarm.  If you and the other ladies agree to keep quiet, we can remove those gags and have a little chat.  Do I have your agreement?”


 “I’ve heard of you,” Lady Hewton said once the tape was removed, “and your reputation.  Why are you here?”


“Well, to be honest, we wish your husband to make a rather large withdrawal when he gets back – which is when?”


“He should return at seven tonight.”


“Good – now, I am aware of who you are, and you must be Agatha, the maid, but you,” he said as he looked at the third woman, “are a surprise.  Why is your daughter-in-law here, Your Ladyship?”


“I called to visit,” the younger woman said, “My husband is coming home with Mark, and we were going to pick up my children from my mother later.”


“Hmm – then we need to do something first,” Jay said as he looked at her, “where is your mobile phone?”


“In my handbag – over there,” she said as she looked over the room, “why?”


“Show me the number on your contacts,” Jay said as he fetched it, “then tell her you and your husband have been invited to dinner by Lord and Lady Hewton.  Can your mother watch the children tonight, and you will collect them tomorrow?”


 “Good,” Jay said after she had made the call, “now that is settled, I need to tell you we will be staying until your husband comes home, and I regret to say you will need to remain bound until they return – but we will turn the television on, and make sure you are entertained.  I also have to say, with regret, we really need to make sure you cannot move.  First however, allow us to help you Emma, you Agatha, and you Samantha, to sit on that very comfortable looking couch.”


Rachel and I watched as the two masked men helped them to sit down, while Jay opened a bag.  “These two ladies have already proved themselves to be escape artists,” he said with a smile, “so I need to make sure they cannot raise the alarm on their own.  Girls, hold your hands out.”


Jay handed them two sponges east, and began to bind their hands and upper bodies as he talked with the other three women, at the same time as his associates were securing their arms with ropes above and below their chests.  He did the same to Patty and Rachel, before making sure they were kept really quiet, Patty lying on a smaller couch, Rachel in a chair.


“Now then,” Jay said as the other three women were just as tightly gagged, “allow me to put the television on – and we will make sure you are given drinks and toilet breaks if needed.  Just grunt three times and nod if you need to go.  Gentlemen – a word please.”


As the other three men came over, Jay whispered “I have contacted Mrs McPhee, but I need to go and collect her.  Make sure they stay there, but allow them a toilet break if they need it – escorted, of course.”


He then looked at the five hostages before saying “forgive me, Ladies, Girls – I need to make a little trip, and will return shortly.”




“You have got to be kidding me,” Yvonne said as she sat next to Jay in the van, wearing a blue boiler suit and adjusting the black leather gloves on her hands, “Patty and Rachel?”


“Not joking,” Mark said as he watched his wife take out her mobile phone, “what are you doing?”


“Making sure my battery is good, just in case – there’s no way we can warm their mothers, is there?”


“Not this time – but I need to do something to stop the Craigs being robbed.”


“So what are you going to do?”


“The only thing I can do,” Mark said as they stopped outside the Hewton house, “stop their leader.”


Taking out the mobile phone he used for contacts, he sent a text, and then said “Ready?”


“Oh this is going to be good,” Yvonne said as she pulled the balaclava over her head, and then walked into the house with him, smiling as they went into the front room.


“Good afternoon Gentlemen,” Mrs McPhee said, “I was told I may be needed?”


“Good afternoon Mrs McPhee,” one of Jay’s men said as he looked over, and the two girls squirmed round, “Jay got in touch with you then?”


“Ay, he did.  Hello again girls – we have got to stop meeting like this.”


“Hllmssmcff,” one of them said as Lady Hewton looked at Jay.


“Mrs McPhee is one of my closest associates, and very very good with children,” Jay said, “any problems?”




“Good – gentlemen, I fear there may not be much left, but do look around the house.  In the meantime, perhaps one of you could make some tea?”


The three masked men left the room, as Jay sat and looked at Lady Hewton.


“Emma, I do regret the fact your daughter in law is here, but I hope you understand that this is necessary.  Once your husband returns home, and we have conducted the business we have with him, you will be left alone, I promise you.”




“Ah yes – I have met both of them before, and I suspect Mrs McPhee is known to both of them as well by reputation, even though she has only met one of them.  As you can see, however, they are happy she is here to watch them.”


One of the masked men came in and whispered “Got a minute Jay?  Something you need to see” into his ear.


“Will you excuse me a minute,” Jay said as he walked out.


“The gang that was here before – one of them left this behind,” the man said as he handed Jay a handkerchief.  “We found it in the open safe.”


“Ah – allow me to keep that,” Jay said as he put it carefully into his pocket.  “Phones and security?”


“Phone lines were cut anyway, but we took care of everything else.”


“Good – keep an eye out,” Jay said as he walked back in, to see Patty settling on the couch, now with silver tape around her head and a scarf covering her hair.




“No, all taken care of – she just wanted a wee chat,” Mrs McPhee said as Jay looked at his watch.


“Now, Mrs McPhee and I need to go out for a short while, but we will be back before your husband’s return.  Gentlemen, put on a musical for them to sing along to.”


“Sngglnggtt,” Samantha said as she looked at them.


“Oh yes – these two young ladies will show you how.  May I suggest The Sound of Music?”


Patty sat herself up on the two seater couch, Rachel jumping over and sitting next to her, as the DVD player was started.  As Julie Andrews started running up the mountain, they both started to sing.




Lady Hewton and the other two women started laughing with us, as we all sang along, not noticing as Jay and Mrs McPhee slipped out of the room.


“Right – stage 2,” Mark said as he and Yvonne set off in the van.


“This is sheer bloody madness you know – why couldn’t we call on Sarah and Brian to help?  They would have done so in a flash.”


“Sarah’s still recovering from the incident – no, this is the only way.  If we pull this off right, hopefully the rest of the gang will hold off.”




The retail park was still busy as the van pulled up, and three more men got in, wearing boiler suits and gloves.


“Mrs McPhee,” one of them said as they got in, “Jay.  What have you got for us?”


“We’ve asked you three to come today,” Jay said, “because Mrs McPhee and I have to move between houses today – I can’t explain why, but bonuses will be paid.


“The target is Donald Turner, Senior Clerk at Bodger’s Bank in town.  He has a wife Clara, and two girls.  Molly is eleven, and Sheila nine.  I have reason to believe they are all at home at the moment, so the intention is we take them all hostage, keep them that way for a while under your supervision while we take care of other business, and then we force Donald to transfer funds.


“I know it is asking a lot for you to watch them on your own, but I think they will cooperate.  Will you work that way with us?”


The three men looked at each other, and nodded as Mrs McPhee said “thank you boys – let’s do this.”




The non-descript semi sat at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, and as the van pulled into the driveway Jay looked up and down the street.


“Right – in through the garage door, no fuss, quick, simple.  Got everything?”


Mrs McPhee and the men nodded as they got out of the van and walked into the garage.  Counting to three, he opened the door to the kitchen and walked in.


Clara Turner was standing at the sink, washing the last plate when she heard the door open and turn round, the five masked and armed people taking her by surprise.  She was wearing a blue petticoat dress that came to her knees over a brown jumper, dark tights and black ankle boots.


Jay walked quickly over, looked into her eyes and said “don’t scream, just very quietly, tell me where your husband and daughters are.”


“Frrrrr Front room and upstairs,” she said as she looked around the kitchen.


“Thank you – Mrs McPhee, take two of the associates upstairs and tell young Molly and Sheila what is going to happen.  You, come with me and Clara while I have a word with her husband.”


Clara offered no resistance as she was taken by the arm and led into the hallway.  As three of the masked intruders went upstairs, Jay opened the door to the front room and took Clara in.


Donald Turner was sitting in a chair, wearing a shirt and trousers, but Jay recognised him as he looked up and said “What the...”


“Hello Donald, my name is Jay Edwards.  Now, stay calm, and you and your family will only have an interesting night...”


“You’re bank robbers?”


“That’s right,” Mrs McPhee said as she looked at the two young girls sitting on the bed, “and tonight, my friend Jay is going to ask your daddy to do something at his bank.  Now, in order to make sure he does that, we’re going to be staying with both of you and mummy for a little while.”


Molly and Sheila nodded as they nervously swung their legs to and fro.  Molly was wearing a blue t-shirt with the SHIELD logo on it over a long sleeved black top, jeans and short black felt boots, while Sheila was wearing a green t-shirt, pink leggings and brown leather boots.


“Now, the bad news is that we need to make sure that you, mummy and daddy stay where we can keep an eye on you, so we need to use some rope to stop you moving around, and some special tape to stop you talking.  Here – feel it.”


She took a length of rope and a roll of white micropore tape from a bag and gave it to the two girls to hold.


“The good news is, at least for a few hours, you will all be together, and I’ll sit with you while you watch some of your favourite programs.  Then you can eat some dinner, and go to bed – but I promise you, if you do what we ask, you have no need to be afraid, all right?”


“And you promise it won’t hurt?”


“Well, it may be a little stiff because you can’t move your arms and legs, but that’s all.  So, will you do this for me?”


The girls nodded as Mrs McPhee smiled at them.  “Good – then put your hands out in front of you, as if you are praying at church.”



“Let me get this straight,” Donald said as he felt the rope holding his arms to his sides, “one of your men will take me to the bank later, and force me to make a large withdrawal?”


“In return for which, your wife and daughters only spend the night here, bound and gagged,” Jay said as he put his hand on Clara’s shoulder.  She had her wrists bound behind her back, and ropes around her upper body above and below her chest, as well as around her ankles and legs below her knees, while a large strip of white tape kept a sponge ball in her mouth.


As they both looked to the door, they saw Molly and Sheila  come in with Mrs McPhee.  They both had their wrists tied together in front, and ropes around their arms and chests, with strips of tape over their mouths as well.


“Sit down girls,” Mrs McPhee said, as she began to bind their legs, and then their wrists to their knees.


“Now,” Jay said as Donald opened his mouth, and felt the sponge pressing down on his tongue before the tape was smoothed over his mouth, “what’s your favourite thing to watch as a family?”


“Scuubebddd,” Sheila said as she wriggled on the couch.


“Good – prepare for a Scooby Doo marathon,” Mrs McPhee said.  “Now, my friend Jay and I need to leave for a little while, so will you behave for our friends?”


The two girls nodded as Jay smiled at them.  “Thank you – make sure they stay calm and are cared for,” he said as they left the room, and the films started.




“Yssss,” Patty said as she sat on the floor, playing Frustration with Rachel, Lady Hewton and her daughter in law.  They had all been allowed to go to the toilet when Jay and Mrs McPhee returned, and now had their hands tied in front, but the gags still in place.


The delicious smell of food came through, and then the sound of a car pulling up, as Jay looked at the party.


“I must ask you all to remain quiet,” he said as the group took up their positions, listening to the main door opening and closing.


From the other side of the door Jay heard a young man call out “Mum?  Samantha?”


“They’re probably talking in the front room,” an older man said, before two men walked in.  They were obviously father and sun, the older man smartly dressed with greying hair, the younger just as smartly except for the absence of a tie.


 “Emma, darling, we’re...” the older man said before the both stopped and stared at the bound and gagged quarter, while Jay quietly closed the door and stepped forward.


“Our apologies for the intrusion, Sir Mark, Mister Hewton,” he said, “but my name is Jay Edwards, and we are in charge this evening.  Your wives are safe and fine – and we will explain about the two girls later.


“For now, kindly hand your mobile phones to my associates, sit with your hands on your head – and do nothing unless I say so.  Understand?”


“Msreeejhnnn,” Samantha said from under the band of white tape around her mouth.


“I know who you are,” Sir Mark said quietly, “have they hurt you or Samantha, Emma?”


Lady Hewton shook her head, before his son looked at Jay.


“What do you want?”


“For Sir Mark to conduct some business for us,” Jay said quietly, “Now, sit down, and stay calm – Mrs McPhee, please remove all gags.”


As the masked woman ungagged Lady Hewton, she waited until the cloth was removed, before she said “I’m sorry Mark – I’m afraid we’ve been robbed twice.  These two girls were forced by one gang to knock on the door, and when Agatha answered it they forced their way in.”


Sir Mark looked at the two girls sitting on the floor, and said “Are you girls all right?”


As they both nodded, he looked at Lady Hewton again.


“They got free, and were about to call the police when this second group arrived.”


“That’s right, Mark,” Samantha said as the cloth was taken from her mouth, “these poor girls must have been terrified, but they kept all three of us calm.”


The girls both blushed as Sir Mark said “well, you have been brave – all of you.  So what happens now?”


“You all have dinner,” Jay said, “and then – we talk.”




Sir Mark watched as first his son, then his wife, and finally his daughter in law were escorted out of the dining room by one of the masked men, while at the same time the woman he had heard called Mrs McPhee was making sure the two young girls could not use their hands or move their arms.


“Sir Mark, let’s talk in the front room,” Jay said as he watched the older man stand up, and walk with him to the front room where they had earlier played the game.


“I have your word they will not be harmed?”


“Of course,” Jay said as one of the masked men joined him, “so long as you do what we ask.  My associate here is going to drive you to your City office, and then wait as you access the computer system.  At that point, he will ensure a suitable transfer takes place, and leave you secured before he contacts us.  At that point, we will leave, and your family – as well as the two unfortunate girls – will still be here.”


“What is they fall ill or...”


“We watch them constantly – so calm yourself on the point, Sir Mark.  If you are ready?”


The financier nodded as he stood up, and said “I don’t know why I’m saying this, but thank you.”


“You’re welcome – contact me the moment the transaction is completed,” Jay said, the associate nodding as he bound Sir Mark’s wrists together behind his back, and then escorted him out.


As Jay turned, he saw another of the masked men escort Agatha up the stairs, her hands now white fists, her arms bound tightly to her side, her mouth covered by a scarf tied round her head.  As she went up, Mrs McPhee came back down with the other man.


“Everyone secured?”


“Ay,” Mrs McPhee said as she looked at him.


“Good – we need to return to the second target.  I want both of you to check them every fifteen minutes, and make sure there are no problems.  We’ll be back later.”


The man nodded as Jay and Mrs McPhee slipped out and into the van, Yvonne removing her balaclava as Mark drove off.


“One down...”


“One to go – I just hope this works,” Mark said as they went onto the main road.


“It has to – we need to stop this other guy from being able to lead the gang against Jennifer and David.”







“Hello there,” Mrs McPhee said as she knelt in front of Molly and Sheila, reaching up and removing the tape from their mouths, “I bet you’re both hungry, aren’t you?”


“Yes,” Sheila said as she wriggled round, “and I need the toilet.”


“Well, I’m going to take these ropes off and take you up, and perhaps Daddy can phone for some pizzas?”


“An excellent idea,” Jay said as he looked at Donald and Clara, “and then we can get down to the business we came to discuss with your father.”  Removing the tape and sponge from Donald’s mouth, Jay said “I’m going to untie you and Clara, but do nothing to raise the alarm – place the order, accept the order, and that is all.  Understand?”


“Yes,” Donald gasped, “I understand, just don’t hurt them...”




“Thank you daddy,” Molly said as she finished her slice of pizza, and took a drink of her juice, “that was delicious.”


Sheila nodded as she looked at the empty pizza boxes on the table, the three masked men standing and watching with Jay and Mrs McPhee.


“Well, if you have all finished,” Jay said quietly, “perhaps Clara can go upstairs and get ready for bed – it’s time to make sure you all spend the night secure in bed.”


“Please, do you have to...”


“We do,” Jay said quietly, “to make sure your darling husband here does what we want him to do.  Please, go and put something suitable on, and leave some clothes for young Molly and Sheila in the bathroom.”


Clara nodded slowly as Mrs McPhee said “don’t worry – you’ll come back down once you have all changed,” helping her to stand as she was escorted out of the room.


“Will it hurt?”


“No,” Mrs McPhee said as she looked at Sheila, “you may be a bit stiff, but we’ll make sure it doesn’t hurt, all right?  Now, let’s all go through to the front room and wait there.”


The two girls walked through with their father, waiting until Clara came down, wearing a pair of cream silk pyjamas with a pair of bedsocks over her feet, the legs of the pyjamas tucked into them, and a second pair in her hands.


“Why don’t you two girls go with Mrs McPhee, and get ready for bed,” Jay said with a smile, watching as they walked up stairs before he said “Donald,  help Clara to put those socks over her hands please?”


“Just do as they say, and we’ll be fine,” Donald said as he pulled the thick socks up over his wife’s hands.


“What about you?”


“I’ll cope,” he said as Jay then guided her hands behind her back, and bound her covered wrists tightly together with rope, before binding her arms to her sides, the rope going above and below her chest.  As he tied it off, Molly and Sheila came down, both wearing white one piece sleep suits with mittens over their hands.


“Be brave girls,” Clara said as Mrs McPhee took two lengths of rope, crossed the wrists of each of the girls in front of themselves, and then secured them tightly together, before taking the rope around their waists and making sure they were locked in place.


“Get your coat on Donald,” Jay said with a smile, “time for you to go to work.”


Donald slowly stood up, and kissed his wife and children on their foreheads, before he left with one of the masked men.


“All right – let’s all go upstairs,” Jay said as Mrs McPhee tied rope around the arms and stomachs of the two girls.  They walked slowly up the stairs, looking at each other before they went into Sheila’s room, watching as Mrs McPhee put a folded cloth into the young girl’s mouth, and then wrapped white tape around her head to seal in into place.


“Lie down dear,” she said quietly as Shelia lay on her bed, watching as her ankles and her legs were secured, and then her ankles tied to the foot of the bed.  “I’ll be back once your sister and mother are secured,” she said, going with Molly and making sure she was gagged and secured in her room, and then going to the main bedroom.


“What happens now,” Clara said as she sat on the bed, watching as her ankles and legs were secured by the other two masked men.


“Relax, try to sleep,” Jay said, “It will all be over soon.  Now, open your mouth please.”


As he wrapped the tape around Clara’s head to keep the folded scarf inside, Mrs McPhee looked in.


“Both girls are asleep,” she said as Clara lay on her side, and her legs were pulled back so that her ankles could be tied to the chest ropes.


“Good – sleep well, Clara,” Jay said as they left, turning the light off and going downstairs.


“Watch them – we have to be elsewhere,” Jay said as he looked at his watch.  “I’ll call you when I hear the job is done, and you both make your own way home.  You will be paid in due course.”


Both men nodded as Jay and Mrs McPhee left, and drove back to the Hewton home.


“Any problems,” Jay said as they walked in.


“None,” one of the men said as Jay’s phone went off.  Looking at the message, he said “Job done – is everything cleaned up?”


They both nodded as he said “Forgive us if we can’t take you back – there is something we need to do here.  We’ll be in touch – and good luck.”


The two men nodded as they left the house, and Jay walked upstairs with Mrs McPhee.  “Well, this is it,” he said as they entered the room where Patty was lying sleeping, so he gently shook her and said “Patty?”


She slowly opened her eyes as Mrs McPhee said “Get up Patty – you need to take a toilet break.”


They waited as she slowly stood and they removed the ropes, as well as the hand coverings, before Mrs McPhee walked her to the toilet.  She stood outside for a few minutes, then as Patty came out she started to re-bind her – leaving the covering off her hands.


“Back to bed,” she said as she escorted Patty back, and re-tied her legs, watching as she settled down again before the two of them went and did the same for Rachel.


As they left the young girl with her hands uncovered, Jay and Mrs McPhee went down the stairs, turning the lights off as they did so, and then out to the van, sitting in the front as Jay went onto the main street and parked.




“Now, with luck, Patty can get free and call the police,” Mark said as he rubbed his head.  Taking his phone out, he looked at the message, and then dialled a number.


“This is Jay – any problems?


“No – job done, vacate with our thanks.”


“So both transfers have taken place?”


“Yup,” Mark said as a light went on in the house, “let’s just hope the Craigs were not disturbed.  Come on – I’m ready for my bed, and I don’t want to be here when the police arrive.”


“Paper’s arrived,” Yvonne said as Mark came into the kitchen, “and you need to take a look across the road.”


“I do,” Mark said with a quizzical look, but as he went into the front room he found both Charlie and Lisa looking across the road, and then the police car outside the Craig house.


“Any idea what’s happened Dad,” Charlie said as he looked at his father.


“No – but I’m going to see if everything is all right,” Mark said as he stepped outside, walking across the road to where John and Jennifer Craig were talking to a police officer.


“Hey,” he said as he came over, “everything all right?”


“Yeah – for once,” John said, “it’s been quite a night.”


“What happened?”


“Well, apart from Patty and her friend Rachel disappearing into thin air yesterday?”


“You’re joking!”


“I wish I was – Jess was half out of her mind last night, and I know Barry Hampton went round to sit with her.  We were up until the small hours as well.”


“Did the girls know?”


“No – they went to bed,” John said, “so they missed the real fun when this group of armed and masked men broke in and tried to rob us.”




“Yeah,” Jennifer said, “about one in the morning.  We were about to go to bed when they came in through the patio doors and threatened us.”


“But you said tried...”


“I know,” John said as the telephone started ringing in the house.


“Mum,” Jenny called out, “It’s Aunt Jessie.”


“Excuse me,” Jennifer said as she went inside, and John continued “The police turned up and stopped them before they could really get started.  Our darling children slept through the whole thing.”


“But you’re all right?”


“Yeah – but we haven’t heard from Jess yet to see if...”




The two men turned round and watched as Jennifer came running out.


“What’s wrong?”


“Patty and Rachel – you’re never going to believe what happened to them, but it was Patty who raised the alarm with the police!”


“Patty?  Patricia Pickering?”


“I know – and it’s a long story, but apparently she’s a heroine in a few ways.  I’ll tell you inside – Connie’s apparently going to talk to her and Rachel later.”


“Mark – I’ll talk to you later, all right?”


“Gotcha,” Mark said as he walked back across the road, shaking his head.


“Is Cassie all right,” Lisa said as he came back in.


“Hmm – oh they’re all fine.  Wait until the police car goes and then you can go over,” Mark said as he walked back into the kitchen, Yvonne handing him a coffee.




“It worked,” Mark said after he had taken a drink,“ I don’t know exactly how or why yet, but it worked.”


“The local paper might help,” Yvonne said as she handed it to her husband, “Page 5.”


Mark turned and looked at the articles.  “Robbery foiled at Holderness home... Gang caught red handed... Admit to second robbery earlier that day at home of financier Sir Mark Hewton... Leader of gang still at large...”


“So what do you think happened?”


“Patty must have rung her home – Mark said Barry Hampton was with her mother.  I guess she also called the police so the warning came from two directions.”


“Oh she called the police,” Yvonne said as she turned the paper over, and pointed at another article.


“Double robbery at financier’s home...  Gang use two girls kidnapped from street to gain entry... Home then targeted by notorious Jay Edwards gang... Patty Pickering, 10, managed to free herself and friend and call police...  ‘Girls were true heroines’  says Lady Hewton...”


“There’s another article about how the Jay Edwards gang struck twice last night, also holding the family of a bank clerk hostage while they forced him to transfer a large sum elsewhere.”


Yvonne sat down and looked at Mark.  “It should never have worked, but it did – you, Mark Williamson, are a true hero.”


“Yeah – but the girls rightly get all the credit,” Mark said with a grin as the telephone rang.  Standing up, he lifted the handset and said “Mark Williamson?”


“Busy night?”


“Brian,” Mark said as he took the phone in the kitchen, “I was wondering if you would call.  How’s Sarah?”


“Back to normal, thanks for asking.  I’ve been reading the paper – young Patty does seem to have had a busy day as well, doesn’t she?”


“So I have been reading and hearing.”


“Come on, Mark – what really happened?”


“Well, I hope you’re sitting comfortably...”





“Oh God,” Brian chuckled as Mark finished the story, “all right, I can see why you did what you did.  If Sarah had been fit enough, you’d have asked us to help, right?”


“Right – but given the circumstances...”


“Understood – and John and Jennifer were saved from another robbery, so credit to you for that as well.  Right – I need to go and look after the kids for a little while.  I’ll talk to you soon.”


“Not too soon hopefully,” Mark said as he ended the call, and looked at Yvonne.


“Why don’t we go out for lunch,” he eventually said, “do you honestly feel like cooking today?”


“Nope – bit tired,” Yvonne said with a smile, “let’s do that.”







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