What If…  Dolls








One of the questions we do seek to answer is What If some of my characters existed in another time, another place – such as the trio of silent women in grey…




“When did you say your parents would be back,” Doreen said as her friend Anne opened the front door of her house, looking up and down the tree lined avenue in Mapperley.


“Not until later tonight – little sis will be back before them, but she can stay in her room,” Doreen said with a smile as she looked at Annie.  The eighteen year old had reddish brown hair which was styled in a bob, large glasses over her eyes, and a grey cardigan fastened over her white blouse.  A long purple skirt came down over her knees, while her brown tights were just visible under her mid-calf brown leather boots.


“So we’ve got time to finish this exercise,” Anne said with a smile as they walked in.  The blonde had her hair cut like Diana Spencer, and was wearing a grey blouse over a grey roll neck sweater – the sleeves rolled back to reveal the cuffs of the jumper, and grey slacks, a pair of light brown ankle boots visible on her feet.


“Plenty of time,” Lisa said as she followed them in.  Her grey V-necked sweater was over a black jumper - the same colour as her high patent leather boots which went up under the hem of her long brown tartan skirt.


“Well, we get this done, have some food, and then head to the Goose fair – sounds good?”


“So long as the joy of Calculus doesn’t melt my brain,” Lisa said as she let her satchel drop onto a leather couch in the main room, and then removed some books, “so any chance of some coffee?”


“So long as you don’t mind Maxwell House.”


“So long as it is hot and sweet, I will take it,” Anne said with a laugh.  “We’ll make a start while you do that.”


“Try not to get too far ahead,” Doreen said as she made her way through to the kitchen, filling the kettle and putting it down on the gas ring before she lit the flame under it, and then found three large mugs.  Placing them on the work surface, she then found the coffee jar, twisting the top off and putting some into each cup before she went to the large refrigerator.


Opening the door, she took the glass bottle of milk out and added some to each of the mugs, and then returned the bottle to the door of the fridge.  It was when she closed the door and turned round that she saw who else was in the kitchen, the whistle of steam starting to rise form the kettle as she stared.



“Hey Doreen – got that coffee?”




Both Anne and Lisa turned to look at Doreen as she stood by the table – and then saw the woman who was standing behind her, a grey leather gloved hand on Doreen’s shoulder.  She looked at the two teenagers, and then indicated with her free hand they should stand up.”


“Why should we,” Lisa said – and then she saw the two other women walk into the room, one carrying a large brown leather gm bag, the other a gun which she held in her hand..  The three women were identically dressed – grey blouse over roll neck sweaters, and slacks with the legs tucked into knee length grey fashion wellington boots.  They also wore grey leather gloves, and head covering balaclavas.


The only part of their attire that was not grey were the masks – the plain, white face masks that covered their own faces, allowing nothing of them to be seen.  It was a disconcerting look, as Anne said “okay – what’s going on Doreen?”


“I think…  I thin we’re being robbed,” Doreen said quietly as the woman standing behind her slowly nodded.


“You think – you mean they haven’t told you yet?”


“Lisa,” Doreen said quietly, “they haven’t said a word since I saw them in the kitchen.  Not a single word.”


“What do you mean, they haven’t said anything,” Lisa said as she stood up and looked at them.  “Who are you?  What do you want?”


There was no reply – instead, the one who had been carrying the bag laid it on the floor, then walked over, pointing at each of them before she put her gloved hands on her head, palm down.




The third woman walked over, and pointed the gun in her hand at each of them, before she put a gloved finger to where her mouth was meant to be.  The three girls looked at each other before Lisa sat down, her and Anne putting their hands on their heads as the silent woman went back to the bag, opened it, and returned with a skein of white rope.


“You…  You’re going to tie us up,” Anne whispered as the masked woman behind Doreen took the rope and shook it out, before she dropped the two long ends over her shoulders.  Doreen looked down as she felt something at the back of her neck, before the grey clad arms came round and started to wind the rope in spirals down her arms.  At the same time, they were pulled backwards, Anne and Lisa watching with their eyes wide open as they saw their friend’s lower arms disappear, and then heard her grunt.


“Yeah – they’re going to tie us up,” she said quietly as the other two watched the silent and masked woman wind thew rope around Doreen’s arms and body, forcing her upper arms against her sides as her chest was framed in the bands that were formed.


“Please,” Anne said quietly as she saw the woman do something behind Doreen, “tell us why you are doing this.”  The woman looked directly at the blonde, and then shook her head, instead indicating that Anne should stand up.


“I…  I think you’re next,” Lisa whispered as Doreen twisted round, while the woman was handed another skein of rope, walked behind Anne, and draped the rope over her shoulders before she started to bind her in the same way. 


“Doreen…  why won’t they say anything?”


“I don’t know Lisa – but it scares the bejesus out of me.”  Doreen looked at Anne as her friend’s upper arms were secured to her body, her blouse stretched over her chest by the tightness of the binding.


“This – feels different,” Anne said as she felt the tug behind her, and then watched the intruder collect another length of rope, and walk over to where Lisa was slowly standing.


“Yeah – I really can’t move my arms.  Did you feel them being pulled up?”


“I did – that thing at the back of our necks?”


“I think there’s a loop of the rope there – they came prepared to do this,” Doreen whispered as Lisa grunted, the tight ropes round her arms as the woman fed them through the loop at the base of her neck and then pull them back down, before separating the lengths again and passing them round her body.


“Does this feel the same to you,” she whispered as she looked at Anne and Doreen, the weave of her knitted jumper opening wider as the ropes were pulled tighter.  Both of her friends nodded as the roes were secured, before the masked woman indicated they should walk into the front room.


As they walked through the glass dividing doors, one of the grey clad ladies walked around the side of the room, and pulled the drapes over the large bay windows as the armed one indicated that Doreen should sit on the leather couch.  As she sat, she then pointed to a second couch, and then to Lisa.


“You want me to sit on the other now?”


The woman slowly nodded as Lisa walked over and sat down, while Anne said “and where are I am to sit?”


The three intruders looked at her, before one of them pointed to the floor between the two couches.  She nodded slowly as she lowered herself down, while the third woman retrieved from the bag more rope, and doubled it over before she wound it round Anne’s legs below her knees.  She then played the rope down, Anne watching as she wound it round and between her ankles and then secured it off.


She was then made to lie on her back, and rolled over before the masked woman pulled her bound ankles back, and used more rope to secure her ankles to her chest ropes.  At the same time, both Doreen and Lisa watched the leader of the three indicate with her hands they should lie down, their skirts adjusted before rope was wrapped round their legs, gathering their skirts above their knees before their ankles were also secured.


“How long are we going to be kept like this,” Anne said quietly as she wriggled round, then watched as her friends were rolled over, their ankles pulled back and secured to the chest ropes, before they were rolled onto their sides.


The masked woman then removed Doreen’s glasses, carefully folding them and placing them to the side as the bag was opened again, and a roll of brown sticking plaster taken out.  The armed woman looked at each of the girls, and then nodded as Doreen said “okay – look, we can talk about this later…”


“We will – eventually,” Lisa said as a strip of the brown fabric was torn from the roll, and then pressed down over Doreen’s mouth.  She then watched as the white faced woman in grey walked over, and tore a fresh strip off before she pressed it down over her own lips.  It felt strange, and tugged on the skin round her mouth, but she knew she was silenced as they both watched the woman cover Anne’s mouth in the same way.


“Whhtnhhh,” Doreen said as she looked at the three women.  They both stood, their heads cocked to the side, before they all heard the front door open and close, and a voice say “it’s only me Doreen.”


“Hnnhhh, nhthntphhmm,” Doreen mumbled as the three women moved to the sides, and the door to the main room opened.  A woman in her early forties came in, wearing a long sleeved grey striped blouse and a red corduroy skirt that was buttoned up the front, as well as brown sandals..



“What on earth…”


“Mum – what’s going on?”


Lisa and Anne could only watch as a thirteen year old girl came in, wearing a purple blouse and a long purple tartan skirt that was buttoned up the front, a black belt round her waist.  Like the older woman, she had long brown hair, but she was wearing a pair of tan leather boots instead of sandals.  They stared at the three older teenagers as they lay there., the squeak of leather against leather and their muffled class the only sounds as they tried to move.


“Who did this to you,” her mother said – and then they both saw the three grey clad women, one putting a gloved finger to the white mask over her face as another aimed a pistol at them.


“Oh my god,” she whispered, “You…  I’ve heard about you three.  Please, she’s just a baby…”  She hugged her daughter and said “it’ll be all right, Astrid…”


“Hmshreeehntphm,” Doreen said as the third masked woman walked to the bag, and took out a long length of rope.  She then stood in front of Astrid, and held her wrists in front of her, crossed.


“You – you want me to do that?”


As the woman nodded, her mother kissed her head and whispered “be brave,” Astrid nodding as she crossed her wrists – only for the masked woman to put the rope over her arms and pull it tight so that they were held against her body.  She let out a soft gasp as her mother watched the silent woman wind the rope tightly round Astrid, and then round her and between her wrists before she held the rope in her hand.


The armed woman then indicated to her mother she should do the same, the third intruder laying the gun down as she collected a long length of rope as well.  Astrid looked up, watching as her mother’s arms were forced into her sides, and then the bands framing her chest as the three teenagers struggled in their binding.


“Mum, I’m scared,” Astrid whispered as she watched the way her mother’s wrists were secured together, and then the rope held in the gloved hands of the third woman.  They then felt the tug as they were both walked out of the room, the third grey clad and masked woman starting to search the display cabinets as they were made to walk up the stairs.


As they climbed the stairs, the captives talked to each other, Astrid’s mother staying calm as they were marched into the master bedroom, and made to lie down next to each other on the bed.  They watched as the two women took the rope down and secured their ankles together, before one of them started to search the drawers.


“Are hey robbers, Mum,” Astrid whispered as she watched.  Her mother wriggled round, before she said “they are Astrid – according to the papers, they have been responsible for a string of robberies in the area.”


“and they don’t talk?”


“And they don’t talk,” she said quietly as the other woman tore a strip of brown fabric from a roll.


“And they don’t talk – and we won’t be able to talk in a minute, so listen carefully Astrid.  I want you to remain calm, and lie still – there’s nothing we can do to stop them, and I don’t want you to get hurt.”


“All right, Mum,” Astrid said quietly as she watched the grey gloved hands press the fabric down over her mother’s mouth, covering them as she saw her wink.  She then felt the plaster over her own mouth, silencing her as the two women searched for jewellery and other valuables, placing them in a bag as they did so, before they left them in the room.  She then tried to twist round, seeing if she could get free, but the ropes were too tight, as her boots rubbed together and made a squeaking sound.


Her mother looked at her, and then placed her covered lips on her forehead as se said “dhntwhrhrhwhlbhfhhn…”


One of them came back in a few minutes later, and placed something between the two bound and gagged captives.  It was a large china doll, with rope tied round the body and legs, and a piece if sticking plaster over the mouth – and as Astrid looked at her mother, she wondered why that had been left with them…





“Doreen?  I thought you and your friends were going to the…  GERALD!”


“Hlphhsmhmm,” Doreen mumbled as she saw her mother standing in the doorway, before her father came past and knelt next to the couch, peeling the sticking plaster from her mouth.


“Aunt Pam…  Astrid… They took them upstairs,” she gasped as her father looked round, then said “I’ll free you once I have looked upstairs.  Eleanor, the telephone…”


“Someone’s pulled it from the wall.”


“Go next door, call the police,” he said as he removed the gags from Anne and Lisa, his wife nodding as she went out, and he ran up the stairs.  “thank god,” Lisa said as she started to cry, and they heard the cries from upstairs…







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