Grace laughed as she posed for the photo, her tongue blue from the lollipop she had been eating as her sister pressed the button.
“Okay,” Kim said as she looked over, “that’s great. We’ll put that in the album before mum and dad come round.”
“Great,” Grace smiled as she stood up. The young Afro-Caribbean woman was wearing a blue checked lumberjack shirt, fawn coloured corduroy pants and knee length old brown boots. Her dark hair was falling over the shoulders of her blouse as she looked at her sister.
“Right,” Kim said, “I’m heading out into the garden to sort those plants out in the greenhouse. How long until Yvonne gets back from work?”
“Another hour or so, then another ninety minute after that before Mum and Dad turn up – I’ll call you when she gets here,” she said as she watched Kim walk out. She went to the front window of the house, looking at the parked car outside as a small transit van pulled up outside. The sky was cloudy and grey, as she walked back in and sat down, picking up a magazine.
She had only just started to read it when she heard the door bell and stood up, wondering if it was a delivery as she walked towards it. She could see a figure in the doorway, and opened it quickly as she said “How can I...”
Grace walked slowly backwards as the three women came in, the first one holding a gun in her gloved hand as the last closed the door. They were identically dressed – grey bodysuits covering them from head to toe, as well as grey shoes and gloves. The only difference was their faces – white, smooth, featureless save for the two slits that were placed where the eyes should be.
“What the hell...”
She watched as the masked woman looked at her, and then placed a gloved finger to where her lips would have been, before she indicated the stairs.
“You... You want me to go upstairs?”
The woman nodded as one of the other two went into the front room, carrying a large holdall with her. Grace looked at her, and then started to walk up the stairs, the other two women following her as the second one carried a second holdall with her.
At the top of the stairs, Grace turned round and said “what do you want?”
There was no answer, as the armed woman merely pointed to the doors and then to Grace.
“You want me to go to my room?”
There was the nod again, as Grace looked at them. “Are you going to say anything?”
She watched as both women slowly shook their heads, and gulped as she walked to her bedroom, waiting as the two women walked in. The second one put the bag on the floor, opened it and took out the longest length of brown rope Grace had ever seen. She watched as the rope was shaken loose and doubled over, before the masked and silent intruder made a small loop in the middle by tying a knot in the lengths.
“What are you going to do with that,” Grace whispered as the armed woman began to twirl her gloved finger round. As she slowly turned, the second woman walked behind her and placed the rope over her shoulders, positioning the lengths over each shoulder as she felt the knot at the base of her neck.
The armed woman stood in front of Grace, the gun pointing at her, her head slightly to one side as Grace felt the rope wind down her arms, the second woman pulling them behind her back as she suddenly realised that the spiralling ropes were being used to bind her arms behind her back. It happened so quickly, so smoothly that before she knew what was happening, her wrists were been secured together behind her back, and then pulled up as the intruder fed the lengths of rope through the loop and then pulled them down.
“Oh god, what are you doing,” she whispered as the ropes were then taken around her arms and chest, forcing her upper arms against her sides as it framed and supported her chest. It had only been fifteen minutes since they had walked into her room, and now she was tightly secured, unable to move her arms.
Out of her window, she could see Kim in the garden, but there was no way to warn her, as the masked woman pointed to her bed.
“You want me to lie down?”
The woman nodded as Grace walked over and at on the bed, moving so she was lying on her bound wrists and forearms as she watched the second woman take a second length of rope from her bag, double it over and use it to secure her legs together below her knees. She then passed the rope between her legs to tighten the band, before taking it down and wrapping the ends around and between her ankles to secure them.
Grace watched as the armed woman put the pistol down, and retrieved from the bag a blue bandana, rolling it into a tight band and then tying a double knot in the middle of it.
“Please – take what you want,” Grace said as she tried to move, the squeak of rope, leather and corduroy the only other sound as she was ordered to roll over. Once she had done so, she felt her ankles been pulled back as the masked woman tied her ankles to her forearms, while she was unable to stop the cotton knot been pushed into her mouth, sitting behind her teeth at the scarf was tied round her head, trapping her dark hair against her head.
She turned her head and looked as the armed woman pick up her handgun, and nod to the other woman, leaving and walking downstairs as Grace watched her binder start to search her room.
“There,” Kim said as she wiped her hands, and looked at the rows of tomato plants. She was wearing a black t-shirt and a knee length skirt made from cotton dyed in a shade of burnt umber, as well as a pair of black Wellington boots. Apart from the clothing, the only way you could tell her and her identical sister Grace from each other was her hair, which was cut short on her right side and slightly longer on the left.
Looking at the greenhouse and smiling, she went out and closed the door behind herself, and made her way across the garden, going back into the kitchen and putting the kettle on.
“Grace? I’m making some coffee. Do you want one?
She went to the hallway to talk to her sister, only to stop as she saw the figure on grey looking at her, a gun pointed towards her as the white featureless face stared in her direction.
“What the hell... Who are you and where’s Grace?”
The woman cocked her head to one side, the white face staring at her as she slowly pointed upstairs, and then indicated the door to the front room with her gun.
Slowly raising her hands, Kim walked in, surprised to see a second, identically clothed and masked woman standing there, holding a length of rope in her hand that fell and lay in rings on the floor.
“Oh god – have you already tied up Grace?”
The armed woman nodded as the second intruder walked behind Kim, draping the rope over her shoulders and then slowly lowering her arms so that her palms were at the side of her skirt. As she watched, the masked woman started to take the rope down her arms in spirals, pulling her arms behind her at the same time as she felt the rope forcing her wrists together.
“Just tell me what you want,” she said, starting to panic a little as she felt her wrists been pulled up her back, and then secured further, before the woman in grey passed the ropes around her upper body, pulling her upper arms against her body as she felt them rub on her chest.
“Oh fuck,” she said quietly as she looked at the armed woman, “say something, for fuck’s sake.”
There was no reply, as she felt the ropes pulled tighter round her, and then was made to sit against the wall, watching as a second length of rope was sued to secure her legs tightly together below her knees, and then taken down and wrapped around as well as between her ankles.
“All right, so you won’t talk,” Kim said as she glared at the two women, “so what is this – a robbery?”
She watched as the two women looked at each other, then at her as they slowly nodded. The masked woman then went to the bag and took out a black bandana, rolling it into a band and tying a knot in it as the second one bent Kim’s legs, and tied a length of rope from her chest to her knees, her skirt slipping down as she did so.
The woman then squatted down, the scarf taut in her gloved hands as she cocked her head to one side. Kim looked at her for a moment, before she slowly opened her mouth, tasting the cotton on her tongue as it was tied round her head and silenced her.
She was unable to stop them as the masked woman started to search the room, her eyes nervously looking towards the clock as the time ticked away...
Yvonne walked up the path to her front door, smiling as she searched for her door keys in her handbag. Her dark hair was cut to shoulder length, and she wore a grey cardigan over a white blouse, a short mustard coloured skirt that came to just above her knees, light brown hose that blended with her natural skin tone and light brown leather boots.
“Hey girls,” she said as she came in and closed the door behind herself, “how was your...”
She stared at the three women who were standing there, their heads to the side as she looked at their featureless white faces.
“Oh god,” she said quietly, “the China Doll Gang?”
The woman at the front nodded as a second one came over, removing her handbag and dropping it to the floor before she stood behind Yvonne, the young woman watching as rope was draped over each shoulder.
“Where... Where are my sisters,” she said, watching as the Dolls looked up and then to the main room, while she was dimly aware of her arms being pulled behind her and secured together. As the ropes encircled and embraced her body, she felt her cardigan being pulled to the side as her chest was forced out.
The lead Doll then indicated the front room, and as she walked in she saw her identical sister sitting on the floor.
“It’s all right, Kim,” Yvonne said quietly, “just relax, we’re been robbed, and there’s nothing we can do about it. Where’s Grace?”
“Pstrsss,” Kim said, as Yvonne noticed the darker knot of cotton between her lips. She nodded as she sat on the leather couch, watching as her legs were secured in the same way as her sister. As this was done, she watched the Doll remove a red bandana and roll it into a band, tying a knot in it.
Nodding, Yvonne opened her mouth and allowed the Doll to gag her, the scarf going round her head as she secured the ends together at the base of her neck.
She was then helped to lie on her stomach, as her ankles were pulled back and secured to her chest ropes. Rolling onto her side, she watched as a third Doll appeared, carrying a bag similar to the one on the coffee table. The three women looked at each other, and then at the two women, before they walked silently out, the front door closing behind them.
“Hfffk,” Kim said as she looked at Yvonne, “whtrrwggntddd?”
Yvonne grunted as she tried to move, but the ropes were too tight, restricting her range of movement to the bare minimum. After a while, she started to move herself on the couch, Kim watching as she somehow managed to get into a kneeling position on the floor, and then shuffle over.
“Cnnutrnrrnd,” she said to Kim, her sister nodding as she moved with her back to Yvonne. She then felt the scarf against her hand as Yvonne tried to use that to pull the gag out. The only sound the creak of leather and rope,
In her bedroom, Grace had heard everything, and was desperately trying to free herself, the corduroy rubbing as she started to sweat and feel damp.
Grace called out “MMMM” as she heard the voice in the hallway.
“Mum – oh thank god call the police.”
“Why should I...” She stopped as she saw two of her three triplet daughters on the floor, trussed with ropes, a black scarf in Kim’s mouth with a darker centre as Yvonne looked over, the red knot hanging on her chest.
“Please Mum – call the police, and then find some scissors in the kitchen,” she said as Kim started crying...