Flattery will get you nowhere
Kay glanced again out of the window of her house, looking down at the gold watch on her wrist as she turned back in. The sunlight streamed through the window, making the bronzed satin of her halter neck dress shimmer as she walked over and sat down on the leather chair. As she crossed her legs, the skirt of her dress rose slightly up to uncover her waxed legs, the claves and feet of which were encased in a pair of the latest Grecian-style sandals.
“Of course they are, but don’t worry – we have plenty of time,” Jane said with a smile as she sipped her cold drink. Her blue eyes twinkled as she ran her hair through her closely cropped brown hair. “It won’t take us long to get to the appointment, and then we can begin to have some fun.”
Kay looked over at her friend and smiled in return. “I know I know,” she said as she played with her shoulder length blonde hair, “but I just want to get on with things. You never know what might happen these days, after all. Is everything ready?”
“The outfits are waiting in the van. Relax, Kay – they’ll be here soon.”
Jane was wearing a floral print cotton dress, the puffed capped sleeves of which were pulled down over her shoulders and the waist pulled in with a brown leather belt. On her feet was a pair of open toed brown suede wedge boots, with her own tanned legs visible between the hem of her skirt and her ankles. She placed the glass on the table by her side and leant forward. “So, anything we need to go over?”
“I don’t think...” Kay started to say, but the attention of both women was taken by the sound of running feet and the door to the room crashing open. Three women came running into the room, one of them brandishing a handgun while another had a baseball bat in her hand. The third, who closed the door behind her, was carrying a rucksack, but what caught the real attention of Kay and Jane was the attire of the new arrivals. All three were wearing grey sweatpants and hooded tops, with the hoods pulled over their heads, and white trainers. On their hands were latex gloves, such as those used by doctors, and over their faces were what looked like white paper masks that only left their eyes showing.
“Who the hell are you?” Kay said as she stood up, only to be shoved back down by the woman carrying the bat. “Shut up, bint,” the one with the gun said, “We’re the West End Dolls and you’re going to do exactly what we tell you, understand?”
Jane looked over at her friend, before nodding and saying “We understand – what do you want from us?”
“Anything you can give us, bitch - close the curtains and then go and take care of the phone.” The masked intruder addressed the last comment to the unarmed girl, who nodded as she pulled the curtains across the large front windows and then left the room. Kay watched her as she left, before turning back to the other two.
“So, you think you’re robbers, do you? Think it’s a big thing to do, to threaten women with guns and clubs?”
The masked woman came forward and pointed her gun directly into Kay’s face. “If it gets the job done, then yes it does. All right – stand up, hands on your heads, and come with us upstairs. You,” she said to the unarmed girl as she came back in,” Start searching down here.” Jane thought she caught a glimpse of fear in the masked girl’s eyes before she nodded and started to rummage through the display cupboard. As she slowly stood up, placing her hands on her head as she did so, Kay did likewise, the hem of her dress falling to just above her knees. The two of them left the room with the armed intruders, and walked slowly up the staircase before entering a large bedroom, in the centre of which was a king size bed, the duvet neatly arranged over the mattress.
“Sit down,” the leader demanded as Kay and Jane were pushed towards the bed. As they sat on the edge, the girl who was carrying the baseball bat placed it by the wall and walked to the window, pulling the heavy red curtains closed as she did so. She then started to search through the large wardrobe, depositing a pile of scarves and several pairs of tan coloured tights on the duvet as she did so.
“Go and search the rest of the rooms up here,” the leader said as the other girl left the room, “I’ll make sure these two don’t give us any trouble.”
“Oh and how are you going to do that on your own,” Kay said with a sneer. “You don’t scare me – once you put that gun down...”
“Ah, but I won’t” the intruder said as she selected two pairs of tights from the pile and passed them to Kay and Jane. “You’re going to tie yourselves up while I watch you. Won’t that be fun, hmm?”
Jane exchanged a glance with Kay who nodded to her. “All right,” Jane said in a quiet voice, “What do you want us to do?”
“You look like healthy, strong young women – start by tying your ankles together with those tights, nice and tight, and we’ll take it from there. Make sure you pass the bands between your legs as well – we don’t want you working your way loose too easily.” As she said this, her tone of voice made the two women feel she was enjoying threatening them – perhaps a little too much. Kay shrugged as she pulled her legs up so that her feet balanced on the edge of the bed, her short skirt slipping down to reveal a pair of gold panties, as she wrapped the nylon around her ankles and started to draw them together. Jane followed suit, the material tightening around her ankles with each pass, until both women allowed their feet to drop to the floor.
“Very nice,” the masked woman said as she picked up two more pairs of tights and passed them to Kay and Jane. “Now, your legs above your knees – just as tightly, if you please.” Again, Kay and Jane looked at each other before Jane folded back the hem of her skirt and they wrapped the tights around their legs, the material tightening and pulling their legs together so that they were securely held.
As Kay tied the ends of the legs together and tucked the ends between her legs, Jane watched the armed girl as she walked round and started to rummage through the pile of scarves that had been deposited on the bed. “Hands on your heads, bints” the girl said as she looked up, picking two small silk squares out of the pile. As she walked back round, the two watched her every move. “All right,” the intruder finally said, “Take one of these each, screw them into a ball and push them into your mouths. I don’t even want to see a slither of material peeking out. Understand?”
“Absolutely,” Kay said as she frowned. She picked one of the squares, neatly folded in into a small pad and pushed it past her teeth into her mouth, closing her rouged lips after she did so. As Jane did the same thing, the masked woman continued to sort through the pile.
“You have great taste in scarves lady – I hope they taste great as well,” she said as she walked back round with two black bandanas in her hand. “Let’s see how a combination works – take this, roll in into a band and tie a knot in the middle while I watch you.”
”vry fne,” Jane said as she rolled the bandana into a band and tied the knot in the middle. Without being told, she pulled the knot between her teeth and passed the ends behind her head, tying them tightly together under her hairline at the base of her neck. “Good girl,” the intruder said as she looked at Kay, “now, you copy your friend.”
As Kay pulled the knot between her own teeth, she grunted at Jane, who silently nodded in response. They both looked up as the other intruder came back in, saying “She’s just about finished downstairs – what do you want her to do now?”
“Go and keep an eye on her, make sure she doesn’t do anything stupid,” the leader said as she picked up two large Hermes scarves and handed one to each of the gagged women. “Now then, use these to blindfold yourselves, and then put your hands behind your backs.” Kay and Jane exchanged one last look, before folding the two scarves into bands and tying them over their eyes. They then leant forward and placed their hands behind their back as the masked intruder grabbed more pairs of tights and climbed onto the bed behind them.
Kay could feel the silky material being passed around her wrist before they were forced together, the nylon constricting into a thin band as it was tightened and passed round a few more times. She grunted again as the bands cut into her wrists, but that only seemed to excite the person behind her, who pulled harder as she passed the ends of the legs between Kay’s wrists.
“You like this, don’t you,” she heard the woman whisper into her ear as she felt her elbows been pulled together. As the thin material was passed around again, the feel of the latex gloves against her skin made Kay give an involuntary shudder. She could feel the satin of her dress stretching over her breasts as her shoulders were pulled back, and wondered what she must look like. To her shock, she then felt a pair of lips kissing her bare shoulders, as the voice said “If we had more time, then we could have had some fun, bint – but I need to take care of your friend here. Sit still, now.”
Kay listened as Jane grunted, and then to the sound of someone being made to lie down behind her. More grunts followed, before that sound was replaced by that of drawers opening and things been thrown onto the floor. She sat still, not moving or trying to speak until the voice said “Thanks for everything – we’ll be going now.”
The sound of footsteps could be heard growing quieter, and then all that Kay could hear was traffic outside and grunting from behind her. She leaned slightly back until her fingers touched a silk band, which turned to skin as she slowly felt along it. Realising that Jane was behind her, she tried to find some give in the band, some way of slipping her fingers under either her gag or her blindfold, but Jane had tied them too tightly. Relaxing, she instead concentrated on frying to find the knot that held the thin material around her own wrists, when something unexpected happened.
The blindfold was taken off her eyes, and as Kay blinked she saw a young girls in her late teens standing in front of her. She was wearing a white hooded top, blue jeans and black mid length suede boots, and smiled as she looked at Kay sitting there.
“When I said I would come back to work with you over the summer, I didn’t expect that you would be getting some practice in,” she said as Kay looked over her shoulder. Jane was lying on her side behind her, her legs pulled back and tied to her wrist with a further pair of tights, but as she lay there she seemed to relax slightly.
“Hang on,” the young girl said as she reached round and untied the bandana, removing the damp cloth and the scarf from Kay’s mouth before doing the same for Jane. “We arrived a few minutes ago, but when we saw both sets of curtains drawn we decided to wait a few minutes in case there was a problem. When we saw the three girls leaving and carrying the bags, Sue dropped me off and followed them as they walked down the road.”
“Girls,” Jane said as she spat the scarf out of her mouth. “Well now, I wonder where they may be going.”
“I’ll need to get some scissors,” the girl said as she looked at the tights. “You’ll need to buy some more pairs, I’m afraid. Think you can afford them, Jane?”
“Don’t worry about that – there should be a pair of surgical scissors in the bathroom. Go and get them and cut us free. Then, call the police – but bring in the bag before you do so from the van.”
“Thank you, officer – I’ll be sure to get that list to you.”
Kay watched as Jane escorted the young policeman out of the room. She turned to the other door as the younger girl came back in, carrying a large duffel bag which she dropped on the couch.
“Sue just rang me – she has the home addresses for those three. Two of them – looks like we have two sisters and a friend to thank for the excitement today. She’s on her way back over now.”
“Thanks, Bobbie,” Kay said as Jane came back in. “I suppose we should be grateful that those three didn’t look too closely under the floorboards. If they had, they may have got more than they bargained for.”
“Not that we could do a lot about it at the time,” Jane said as she closed the door behind her. “So, what do you propose we do now?”
“Wait until dark, and then we pay a couple of visits,” Kay said as she stood up and walked over to the couch that the duffel bag sat on. Opening the zip, she reached in and drew out a white plastic mask, holding it in her hands and looking at the eye slits. “Those three may think they are dolls, but they need to learn a lesson or two.”
“Are you all right, Sally – you look as if you’ve seen a ghost.”
Sally looked up at her mother, who was staring back at her with a concerned look on her face. “Sorry, mum – I have a lot on my mind at the moment, what with A-levels and all that. Do you mind if I go up to bed?”
“Of course not, dear – I’ll see you in the morning.”
As she climbed the staircase, Sally had a lot more than examinations on her mind. When she had agreed to go with Holly and her older sister, she had been told it was to scope out some locations for a media project. It was only when she had got to their house that Holly had told her the real plan for the day – to rob this woman she had seen shopping in the mall the previous week, dressed in the most trendy of clothes and looking as if she had more than enough to spare. Cathy, her sister, had followed her home to her detached house in a quiet estate, and decided with Holly that she was going to be one of their “victims”.
To Sally’s disgust, she had listened to their tales of how they had been inspired by tales of a female gang of robbers to carry out robberies of their own. At first they had avoided where people were, but over time they had progressed to sneaking in when there were people in the house, and once or twice, as Holly put it, had to “make sure they were not disturbed.” She’d tried to leave at that point, but when Cathy produced a baseball bat and made it very clear how she would use it if Sally didn’t “help” them she felt she had to take part. They’d changed into grey sweatpants and hoodies, and then caught the bus round to the estate.
Walking round, they had found the house and walked round to the back, where Holly had produced the gloves and face masks. Pulling up their hoods, they had walked into the back garden and forced the kitchen door, surprising the owner and her friend in the front room. Holly and Cathy had forced them to close the curtains and taken them upstairs, while she looked round the rooms. When Cathy came down, she had forced her to look more thoroughly, before all three left.
Pulling her white nightgown over her head, she climbed into her bed and turned the light off, trying to put the events of the day behind her. She could not go to the police – the others would know it was her, and Holly with a gun was more terrifying then her sister with a bat – but she felt terrible about what had happened. Eventually, her eyes closed and she fell into a fitful slumber.
The room was dark when Sally suddenly opened her eyes. The soft night breeze was blowing the net curtains through the open window, and there wasn’t a sound to be heard, but she was sure she had heard something. She looked round the room, blinking as she did so, but everything seemed to be in place. The dressing table was unchanged, her bookshelf was neatly stacked, and in the mirror of the dressing table she could see the closed doors of her wardrobe and the white face floating in the air...
Slowly, Sally turned her head to one side, and there did indeed seem to be a white face floating there, staring down at her. She looked back, transfixed as the head tilted to one side, and to her surprise her bedcovers were pulled back. As she looked to the other side, she saw another face floating there, lower than the other one but also staring silently at her.
“What’s going on?” she said as she lay there, but neither face said anything. The higher face merely seemed to place something over the lips, while she felt someone taking her hand and helping her to stand up. As her eyes adjusted to the gloom, Sally could see that it was not a ghostly face, but rather someone dressed entirely in dark grey, from head to foot, and the face was a white mask with only the eye slits visible.
As she quietly said “Oh God”, she felt something being draped over her shoulders and her arms being gently pulled behind her back. As she stared forward, she realised that what she had felt was rope, as it was wound around her bare arms and her wrists were gently pulled into the small of her back. As the rope was passed around and between her chest and arms, the white face kept staring at her, a gloved finger held to the lips of the mask as she was gently and securely bound.
“Please, we don’t have anything valuable, why are you doing this to me,” Sally pleaded as she was helped to sit back down on the bed, but the two faces said nothing. As the smaller woman knelt in front of her, she could see that she was wearing a grey bodysuit, with a hood pulled over her head, grey soft gloves and shoes. She was doubling over a length of rope, which she passed over Sally’s legs and used to pull them together, before passing the ends through the loops and using them to bind her ankles together. As this was being done, the other masked woman sat down and brushed Sally’s dark hair with her gloved hand.
“Please, stop, if this is about earlier today I was forced to take part, I ...” The two masked women stopped and looked at Sally. “This is about earlier today, isn’t it,” Sally said quietly, and the two intruders nodded. “Oh god, oh god,” Sally said as she started to sob, great breaths coming from her mouth as she did so. “I swear, it was Holly and her sister, they forced me to help them, I’m so sorry, I’m so sorry. Please, do what you want with me, but don’t hurt my mum or tell her, please...” Her words were cut off by great sobs, and as the smaller intruder tied the knot between her ankles she looked up at the other masked woman. The white face looked back to Sally, and with a gloved hand held her chin up to look into her eyes. Registering the fear and regret, she stroked Sally’s dark hair and simply nodded, before reaching behind her and showing the frightened girl a blue bandana.
“All right – I guess I deserve it,” Sally said, and as she opened her mouth the scarf was pulled into her mouth, the ends knotted together behind her mouth. She was then helped to lie down on her bed, her head resting on the pillow as the covers were gently pulled over her body. Sally watched as the faces slowly faded into the gloom, and thanked God that nothing else had happened, before another thought crossed her mind.
If they had found her, what would they do to Holly and Cathy?
“Oh come on – the little wimp needed a kick up the backside. Why do you think I asked you to go back downstairs?”
“I presume to stop her running out of the house and raising the alarm, but I found her sitting down and crying instead. Why on earth did you think it was a good idea to invite Sally the Softie along?”
Holly sat back in the wooden chair and laughed. “Oh, I wanted to put the fear of whatever into her. Anyway, it was fun, wasn’t it?”
Cathy started laughing as she sat in her blue denim bib-front dress and white t-shirt. “Yeah, well we certainly did that. Where did you put the stuff?”
“In the bedroom for now,” Holly said as she stood up and took a can of beer from the table. She was wearing a black and red metallic print shift dress, with black leggings that came to halfway down her thighs. “She certainly had a lot of lovely stuff to nick, and her friend had a body to die for.”
“Yeah – I could see you wanted to have more fun with her. Don’t think the owner took too kindly to being hogtied, but it’s something I’ve always wanted to try. Maybe we can visit there another time?”
“Maybe, but for now – hey, has the fuse gone?”
The room had plunged into darkness, to the surprise of both of the women. As Cathy stood up, Holly could just about see the gleam from the top and sleeves of her t-shirt. “I’ll go and look,” she said as she slowly made her way towards the door.
The hallway was also completely dark as Cathy walked slowly down, the socks on her feet muting any footfall on the wooden floor. Opening the door to the kitchen, she let her eyes adjust slightly to the light coming through the window and made her way to a tall cupboard at the far side of the room. Opening the door, she peered inside to see where the fuse box was. “I need a torch,” she mumbled as she stepped back, but as she turned round she was surprised by two things.
The first was the sight of a white, featureless face seemingly floating in mid air.
The second was the gloved hand that fastened itself over her mouth as the face titled to one side.
“Cathy, have you fixed the fuse yet?” Holly called out as the room stayed in darkness, but when no answer came she began to wonder if something else had happened. Before she had a chance to call out again, however, the lights flickered back into life.
“Well, I guess that answers that question. Do you want a can opening, Cathy? Cathy?”
The door to the room opened, but to Holly’s surprise Cathy was not the only person who came into the room. She was accompanied by two other women, dressed from head to toe in grey bodysuits with hoods over their heads, and gloves on their hands. Not even the fact their faces were covered with featureless white masks caught Holly’s eye immediately.
What did was Cathy’s eyes pleading at her over the knotted bandana that had been used to gag her. Her arms had been pinioned behind her back, and Holly could see coils of rope wrapped around her arms and chest, leaving her looking like a ham ready for hanging up. As Holly registered the position her sister was in, her face turned to the two women either side of her, and her jaw dropped visibly.
“Oh shit – it’s really you isn’t it,” she whispered, eliciting a slight nod of the head from one of the two intruders and a grunt from her sister. “Oh shit, oh shit, I never thought, never knew...” The other Doll simply placed a gloved hand to her lips as she stepped forward, a coil of rough brown rope in her other gloved hand. “Please, we only were trying to make a small living; we only wanted to honour you...”
As she was taken by the arm and spun round, Holly began to realise that perhaps the two China Dolls in the room were not best pleased about something. As she had read in the reports, they said nothing, but as she saw Cathy sat down and a long length of rope wrapped around her ankles, she knew they were going to experience something of how they worked. She watched as the Doll unravelled the rope, doubled it over and tied a small loop in the centre, before draping the rope over her shoulders, the loop in the centre of her neck.
As the Doll walked back behind Holly and started to wrap the rope around her arms, pulling them behind her back as she did so, she could see Cathy as the length of rope was passed up her calves and used to secure her legs together above her knees. Quickly, methodically, the Doll used the rope to pull Holly’s arms behind her back and tie her wrists together, passing the ends through the small loop and pulling so that her arms were held parallel to each other behind her back. As the Doll began to pass the remaining rope around her arms, pulling them tightly into the sides of her chest, she kept whimpering “Oh God, Oh God, Oh God....”
Cathy was sitting, watching her sister, unable to intervene. When the two Dolls had surprised her in the kitchen, it had taken less than five minutes for them to secure her arms and gag her with the knotted scarf before they had flicked the fuse switch and frog marched her beck into the room where Holly was waiting. She was the stronger of the two, but had realised as soon as she had seen the face who had visited them, and knew there was little or nothing they could do about it. All she could was watch as her sister was bound as securely as she was, and then forced to accept a knotted scarf in her mouth as well.
Holly grunted as she was made to sit on the floor, and as one of the Dolls straightened out a further length of rope she nodded to her partner. The second Doll left the room as the rope was passed around Holly’s ankles and pulled tightly, her whimpers quietly dying down as her ankles and legs were secured.
To her own surprise, however, Holly was then forced by the Doll to lie face down on the floor, and Cathy made to come and join her on the floor. The tow of them looked up as the white faced robber took a last length of rope, shook it free and doubled it over, before walking round and kneeling at Cathy’s side. Pulling her bound ankles up, she passed the rope around and through the centre loop to tighten it around her ankle bindings, before pulling her ankles back and passing the rope around Holly’s wrists. It was then taken down to Holly’s legs, used to pull her ankles back so that they almost touched her backside, and round Cathy’s wrists, securing the two girls together in the tightest hogtie either had ever seen.
The door to the room opened, and as they looked up they could see the other Doll holding their bag, and taking items out to look at. The two Dolls looked down at the girls, nodded and left the room, turning the lights off and closing the door on the two sisters as they started to try and get free.
Bobbie handed Kay a mug as she and Jane sat down opposite Sue. “I take it you recovered everything?” she asked as they took a deep drink.
“We did – and left them something to think about. You?”
“Turns out the other girl got forced into this – we left her safe and knowing we won’t come after her again. What about the other two?”
“We’ll keep an eye on them. In the meantime, we have work to do – when are we going to reschedule this afternoon’s appointment for?”