What Tara Did Next
Tara and Lucinda were relaxing in the Kensington flat of Lucinda’s friend Beatrice. The long autumn nights were beginning to lengthen into the dark winter times, and the two were having a drink before getting ready to attend the Horse of the Year show at Olympia. Lucinda’s father had obtained tickets for the evening of which the highlight was the Puissance or high jump event.
“I’m really looking forward to this – I wasn’t even aware that they still allowed Puissance to take place,” Tara said as she sipped her drink.
“It’s a rare thing these days, and a lot more tightly controlled than it used to be, but it’s still an exciting event.” Lucinda was sat in a chair, nursing her drink in her hand. “It’s just a pity that Beatrice had to be out of town this week – at least she let us use her flat.”
“Yeah, that was nice of her. Where’s Rhona anyway?”
Rhona was Beatrice’s cousin, who shared the flat with her while she attended Art College in the city. A dark haired girl, she very much kept herself to herself.
“She went out a little earlier to have a drink with some friends. I don’t think we’ll see her again until the morning. Talking of which,” Lucinda said glancing at her watch, “We’d better get a move on or we’ll be late for the start of the show.”
“Let me get my jacket and I’ll be ready,” Tara said as she stood up. She was wearing a grey blouse over a black sweater, with the top buttons on her blouse undone and white trousers with the legs tucked into knee length grey suede boots. Placing her empty glass on the table, she picked up her grey leather jacket and put it on.
Lucinda reached over and pulled towards her a pair of dark red leather boots, which she pulled on over her feet and zipped up the side. Her red full length dress covered her knees as she stood up, and she put on her black velvet jacket before picking up the tickets from a side table.
“Come on then – we mustn’t be late for the show!”
The two friends turned off the lights, and headed out into the cold London air.
An hour or so later, a young dark haired woman walked up to the front door of the complex and let herself in. Rhona was a year younger than Tara and Lucinda, but did not come from the same sort of background in terms of love of sport. Her passion was for graphic art and design, and she was finishing her first term at college. She had planned to spend the evening with friends, but the conversation had got around to religion and current thinking about Islam. Despite her clothing, Rhona was a convert to a moderate form of Islam, and rather than getting into an argument she was not prepared to have she had come home instead.
Turning on the hall light, she looked at herself in the long mirror in the hall. She was dressed entirely in black – a round collared dress that came down to just above her knees, silk scarf tied over her hair as an Alice band, cardigan, tights and knee length heeled boots made of a stiff fabric.
Rocking back and forth on her heels, she suddenly noticed that there was a breeze blowing down the corridor. Walking towards the living room, she called out “Is there anyone there”, only to be greeted by a hand slapped over her mouth and another grabbing her arm.
“Are you Beatrice?” a rough voice whispered in her ear, and Rhona shook her head while struggling to break free of the grip on her arm.
“All right, I’m going to take my hand away, but if you scream you will be hurt. Do you understand?”
Rhona nodded again, and the hand was removed. She was turned around to see a man dressed in a dark sweater and trousers, joined a moment later by another similarly attired man,
“Is this her?” The new arrival asked.
“No – must be a flatmate or something. Throw me a sponge, will you?”
“But Bea’s…” Rhona began to say before the first man gripped her by the nose. As she opened her mouth to scream, she caught a brief sight of a squashed green piece of sponge before it was pushed into her mouth.
“Just keep your mouth closed,” she was told as a strip of clear tape was placed over her mouth and lips.
“Get her in here – we need to make sure she can’t raise the alarm,” the second man said, and Rhona was pushed into the living room.
“Now that was some competition!”
Lucinda unlocked and opened the door, and the two friends made their way in from the cold night.
“Oh lord yes – a new world record as well, who would have thought?”
A muffled noise was coming from the living room, and Tara turned to listen closely.
“Rhona – is that you?” she said, but no reply came.
“Strange – must have been the wind or something,” Lucinda commented, and the two girls entered the room.
Rhona was sat on the floor, her eyes blindfolded with her own scarf. Her wrists had been pulled behind her back, and the two of them could see the ropes around her chest, legs and ankles. What had caught their immediate attention, however, were the two guns that were pointed at their foreheads and the breathing that both of them could hear behind them.
“Which one of you ladies is Beatrice?” a rough male voice asked.
“Beatrice? She’s out of the country – what have you done to her cousin?” Lucinda screamed back.
“I told you she wasn’t here,” a younger male voice said behind Tara.
“Damn it – we need to call in and find out what’s happened. You,” the first voice said to Lucinda as she was handed a length of cord, “tie your friend’s wrists together behind her back – and make sure it’s tight.”
“Here we go again,” Tara said as she turned with her back to Lucinda and crossed her wrists.
Rhona could hear what was going on, and was trying to listen in by turning her head from side to side. She knew her cousin’s friends had returned, but obviously was unable to warn them that there were others waiting. She was keeping herself calm, but inside her guts were doing a slow mamba from fear.
“Is that too tight,” Lucinda asked as she cinched and tied off the wrists bindings.
“Less talk – now wrap this around her chest,” the intruder said handing Lucinda a longer length of rope. Doubling it up, she started to wrap it around Tara’s chest, above and below her breasts, and then tied it off behind her back.
While this was going on, the other intruder was on his telephone.
“Boss? The girl isn’t here – she’s not even in the country at the moment.
Hang on – when’s she due back?”
“I don’t know – it’s a business trip,” Lucinda replied as she helped Tara to sit down on the couch beside where Rhona was sitting on the floor.
“No idea boss. All right – we’ll search the place and get out once we’ve made sure nobody can raise the alarm.”
Tara could now see the two black-clad men who had surprised them. The gruffer, older one pulled a chair away from the dining table.
“You,” he said to Lucinda, “sit here and put your hands to the side. Tie the other one’s ankles and legs.”
The younger man knelt in front of Tara, and crossed her booted ankles before starting to wrap cord around them. Meanwhile, the other intruder pulled Lucinda’s wrists behind the chair and began to tie them together, fixing the rope to the back of the chair when he was done. This had the effect of forcing Lucinda’s breasts to strain against her jacket – a sight not lost on the younger man.
“Nice rack,” he said looking at Lucinda as he grabbed more rope. The older man looked at him as he wound rope around Lucinda’s chest and the back of the chair, securing her in place.
“You just concentrate on that one,” he said as the young man tied Tara’s legs together above her knees, and then laid her out on the couch with a pillow under her head. Tara wriggled around in an attempt to get herself comfortable, then watched as Lucinda’s ankles were tied together and secured to a leg of the chair.
“You start searching the rest of the flat – I’ll finish off here,” the older man said as he wrapped more rope around the seat of the chair, fixing Lucinda in place.
“Are you all right, Rhona?” Tara whispered, and Rhona nodded her head. “Just stay calm – we’ll get you out of this as soon as possible.”
“Enough talking from you, young lady” the man said as he came over to Tara with a green sponge and a roll of thick clear tape. Forcing the sponge into a small ball, he gripped Tara’s nose, and as she opened her mouth pushed the sponge into the cavity. Three strips of clear tape were then used to secure the gag in her mouth.
“I suppose you’re going to do the same to me?” Lucinda asked as he walked back across the room.
“Of course – and your phones are all dead, so don’t think you can call for rescue. You’ll just have to find your own way out.”
Lucinda just smiled, then opened her own mouth to allow another sponge to be put in, followed by tape over her mouth.
“Got it!” the younger man called, as he came in holding a file of paper. “It was hidden underneath one of the beds.”
“Good – let’s get out of here,” the older man said, and the two men left the bound and gagged girls.
The three sat in silence for a short while, with Tara and Lucinda looking at each other. Eventually, Lucinda nodded at Tara, and she rolled over so that she was facing over the back of the couch. Looking over her shoulder, she slowly edged her way down until her hands were directly behind Rhona’s head.
“Rhn – st stl, m gng t tr t nd yr blndfld” Tara mmphed, and Rhona turned her head to listen.
“Jst st stll” Tara repeated, and Rhona nodded. Tara found the knot holding the scarf in place over Rhona’s eyes, and very carefully began to unpick the knot,
After a few minutes, Rhona felt the scarf loosen, and with a few shakes of her head it fell down to hang loosely around her neck. She looked at Lucinda, sitting in the chair with ropes around her black jacket, red dress and boots, and tried to talk to her.
“kp clm, rhna” Lucinda mmphed back, “nd d wht tra sys.”
Tara, meanwhile, had moved back in the opposite direction on the couch, and had managed to get herself into a seated position. Rhona watched as she swung her grey and white clad and bound legs over her head, then slipped off the couch to sit next to Rhona on the floor.
“R y ll rght?” Tara mmphed, and again Rhona nodded, although Tara could see tears starting to run down her cheeks. She turned her back to Rhona, and with her head indicated that she wanted her to let herself lie on the floor with her heads towards Tara’s hands.
Catching on, Rhona slid herself down to lie on the floor, with the unfortunate effect of her skirt riding up slightly, then turned and placed her face near Tara’s hands. Lucinda watched as Tara very gently picked at the edge of the tape over Tara’s mouth.
Slowly, very slowly, the tape began to come away from Rhona’s skin, until eventually Tara had managed to pull the tape off and it dangled from her hands. Tossing it to one side, Tara then grabbed ahold of the now sodden sponge and gently eased it from Rhona’s mouth.
“Oh thank god,” Rhona spluttered, “I thought I was going to be stuck like that forever. Are you two all right?”
Both Tara and Lucinda nodded, and Tara looked over her shoulder and down at the ropes around her wrists. Lucinda had tied the final knot on top of the binding, in a position that could now be reached by Rhona.
“This was all part of your plan, wasn’t it – if you had to tie Tara up, do it in a way so that I could undo some ropes if I was ungagged.” Rhona said to Lucinda, who nodded and tried to smile. Rhona moved closer to Tara, and with her teeth began to pick at the knot holding her wrists together.
Half an hour later, the rope had loosened enough for Tara to shake her wrists free, and wriggle her arms round so that her hands were in front of her. Having done this, she started to push the ropes around her chest up and over her head – Lucinda having tied them in a way that made that possible – and then removed her own gag.
“Are you all right, Rhona?” Tara said as she hugged the younger woman.
“Yes, but I’d really appreciate it if you untied my hands and arms – then I might be able to get Lucinda free as well.”
It didn’t take long for Tara to free Rhona from her wrists and arm bindings, and the two girls soon made short work of the ropes around their ankles and legs. Rhona then went over and removed the gag from Lucinda’s mouth.
“I’m sorry you had to go through that, Rhona,” Lucinda said as the young woman untied her arms, “but I knew if I tied Tara in a way where she could help you, it wouldn’t be long after they left before we were free.”
“You speak as if this has happened to you before,” Rhona said as she looked quizzically at the two girls.
“Long story,” Tara said as she headed to call the police from outside, “We’ll tell you all about it later. For now, I’m glad I could help you out. Any idea what that file was?”
“No – but I’ll have a few choice words to say to Beatrice when she gets back!”
“Come on,” Lucinda said as she took Rhona by the arm, “I’ll make some coffee and tell you a story. It happened last summer……”