From A Mature View








“There,” the Asian woman said as she opened the door to her house, “we have finally arrived.”  She was about five six tall, with short dark hair, and a bustier style top with thick shoulder straps.  Her pants were also black, with a peach coloured fern detail around and below the knees, and gathered just above her ankles.  A set of pearls hung round her neck, and she also had on pearl drop earrings.


Joan had moved here from Hong Kong when she married her husband twenty years ago, and it had taken that long to persuade her mother Ming Na to come and visit her.  The grey haired woman looked round through her round glasses, and said “You have built a lovely home here, Joan.”


“Thank you, mother,” Joan said with a smile.  Her mother was wearing a short sleeved brown and grey blouse, with knee length white pants that had little blue flowers printed on them, and flat sandals.  “Why don’t you take a seat, and I will get Jenny to bring us some cold drinks.”


“Jenny?  Who is Jenny?”


“Our housekeeper,” Joan said as she headed to the kitchen.  A young blonde haired woman was standing at the sink, washing the dishes and looking out of the window.  She wore a black blouse and skirt, with yellow rubber gloves on her hands.


“Oh – sorry Mrs Clark, I did not hear you come in,” she said as she turned round.


“Evidently.  Please bring some cold drinks to the front room for myself and my mother.”


“Of course,” she said as she removed her gloves, and Joan walked back out.  The young girl took a silver tray from a cupboard and set two glasses on it, before putting some ice into a pitcher and adding some lemonade and orange juice to it.


As she picked up the tray and carried it to the door, a grey van pulled up outside the kitchen window...



“Thank you Jenny,” Joan said as the housekeeper laid the tray down, “you may go back to your duties now.”


“A nice young lady,” Ming said as her daughter poured the drink, “but you should not speak so harshly to her.  She is your employee, after all.”


“She is indeed MY employee,” Joan said a little too harshly, as Jenny headed back to the kitchen.  Placing the tray down, she went back to the sink, but as she did so she noticed the door to the path outside was open.  She walked slowly towards it, only to be stopped as a gloved hand was pressed over her mouth.  Her eyes widened as she saw someone stand in front of her, and then nodded as she was informed she had to stand still.


No word were said, and none were needed, as she was guided to a chair and sat down, her arms pulled behind and the rough rope rubbing on her wrists as they were held together.



“So when can I expect to see your charming husband,” Ming said as she placed her glass on the coaster.


“He should be home in a few hours,” Joan said quietly.  “If you need to rest, then I can show you to your room.”


“Not tired no – but I do need to take care of something.  Where is your bathroom?”


“Top of the stairs,” Joan said, watching as her mother slowly stood up and walked out of the room.  Picking up her glass, she walked over and looked out of the window, turning when she heard footsteps and saying “Welll….”


Three women stood in the doorway, dressed from head to toe in grey catsuits, hoods pulled up over their heads and gloves on their hands.  The only thing about them that was not grey were the white featureless masks they wore to cover their faces, and the brown bags two of them carried.


The third held a small and very real pistol in her grey gloved hand, which she used to indicate Joan should raise her hands.


“Who… who are you,” she stammered as one of the masked intruders put a bag down, and extracted a skein of brown rope.  She silently shook it loose, doubling it and making a small loop in the middle, before she walked behind Joan.


The armed and silent woman indicated Joan should lower her arms, and as she did so she felt the rope being placed at the back of her neck, the ends dropped in front of her before the other woman started to quickly wind them in a spiral down her arms, pulling them behind Joan as she did so.


“Say something,” Joan said in a slightly louder voice, but all three remained silent as Joan felt her arms being secured together, and then watched as the ropes were passed around her arms and upper body.


“Why won’t you talk!!!” she called out, only to stop as she watched the third woman remove a grey cotton cloth from the bag, and fold it into a pad, before she walked over, the white face looking straight at Joan as she placed a gloved finger to her lips, and held the cloth up.





As she washed her hands, Ming Na looked at herself in the mirror.  “It has been a long flight and a long day,” she said to herself before drying her hands, and leaving the bathroom.


As she walked down the stairs, she could hear some traditional music playing in the background.  “A nice thought” she said as she walked in – and saw the three masked and grey clad women, one of them kneeling in front of the couch as Joan lay on it.  A knotted grey scarf was tied between her lips, and one of the strangers was tying rope off between her ankles – a long length which had also been used to secure her legs below her knees.


“MMRNNN!” Joan called out, but then one of the women turned and looked at Ming Na, a pistol pointed at her, the white faced head tilted to one side as grey gloved finger went to the lips.


“I will not cause you any trouble,” Ming Na said, “I presume you are thieves?”


The woman nodded slowly as she looked at the elderly Chinese woman.


“And I presume you are not going to speak, correct?”


The masked woman nodded again as the third intruder retrieved another long length f rope, doubling it over and tying a small loop in the middle.


“Ah – I remember the soldiers doing this in the village I grew up in,” Ming Na said as she nodded.  “Very well – I will offer no resistance.  Do what you must.”


The intruder nodded as the other woman went behind Ming Na, and she felt her arms being pulled behind.  Joan was struggling on the couch, but her mother said “relax child – it is very very difficult to escape from these ropes alone if it is done properly, and it appears these women know how to do it properly.”


Joan looked at her mother and nodded, her head resting on a pillow as she watched the masked thieves binding her arms to her side.  Once the last knot had been tied off, all three stood and looked at her as she moved her body around.

Ming Na watched as the silent women looked at her, their heads tilted slightly to one side.  Her daughter lay quietly on the couch, watching her as the cotton wad in her mouth slowly soaked the saliva, her teeth biting down on the knotted silk scarf.


As she looked at the long brown rope that had been expertly wound round her upper body, she smiled and said “Whoever trained you has trained you well.  Tell me, then – do you intend any harm towards me or my family?”


The leader of the trio looked at her and slowly shook her head.


“Then I must take you at your word – and I believe that would be a wise move, correct?”


The masked woman nodded again as the elderly woman sat in an armchair.  “Then I may as well be comfortable.  I presume the housekeeper is also restrained?”


There was a nod of the head as one of the women wrapped brown rope around Ming Na’s legs above her knees and started to tie them together, taking the rope down and then using it to secure her ankles together.


“May I trouble you for a drink before you silence me?”


The third woman picked up the glass and held it to Ming Na’s lips, allowing her to take a drink before she said “thank you – you may proceed.”  She watched as a second cotton cloth was folded, and then opened her mouth to allow the cloth to be placed inside, and then a grey scarf, folded and with a knot tied in the middle, used to silence her further.


The woman with the gun, obviously their leader in Ming Na’s eyes, looked at them both as if to ask if they were all right.  Both nodded as she indicated to one of the other two to watch them, while she and the third intruder left the room.


Joan started to struggle, trying to show her displeasure as their guard started to search the room, finding several items before she reached over and removed the pearls from around Joan’s neck.  She screamed “DNTDTHTTTT” at the masked woman, but she just tilted her head to the side and added the pearls to the other things she had found.



In the kitchen, Jenny was looking round, wondering what she could do.  The three masked women had tied her to the chair, her wrists tied tightly to the side of the chair and rope enclosing her upper body in what almost could pass for a net, pressing it against the chair back and holding her firmly in place. 


Her ankles and knees were tied to the front legs of the chair, while a clean tea towel had been pulled between her lips, holding the clean dishcloth inside as it dried her mouth out.


She had heard of them, read the newspaper reports, and was praying they were showing the care and courtesy to her employer and the older woman she had read about…




“Rullrrttmm,” Joan mumbled as she looked over to the chair.  Ming Na nodded as she watched the masked woman carefully pack things away.  They could both hear the sound of the upstairs room being searched, but equally both knew there was little or nothing they could do about it.


Eventually the two other women came down, carrying a bag between them, and they looked at the two bound and gagged captives.  They then moved off silently, not word said during their stay by any of them.


Jenny watched as they walked through the kitchen, and then heard the grey van she had seen earlier drive off.  She then started to slowly, slowly shuffle her chair towards the far wall.



In the front room, Joan watched as her mother started to work on the knotted scarf in her mouth, pulling her lips back and pushing on it with her tongue until, after about half an hour, she was able to push the knot out, the cloth following it as both fell down onto her chest.


“Are you… Are you all right Joan,” she said eventually, her daughter nodding as she looked at her.


“They had skill, and I cannot move these ropes,” Ming Na said, “but I presume there I an alarm system?”


“Yssbttt” Joan mumbled, until they heard the sound of police sirens approaching.


“But it is in the kitchen where it appears your housekeeper set it off?”


Joan nodded as Ming Na smiled.  “Goods can always be replaced,” she said ass they heard footsteps, “the main thing is you – all of us are unharmed, and I draw comfort from that.”









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