“Oh come on Mum – you know full well why I can’t look after Kylie tonight. She’s eighteen now for goodness sake – surely she can be left to look after herself?”
As Kylie closed the front door behind her, she could hear her older sister arguing with her mother again. It seemed as if these days Danni couldn’t stand being around the house and in a way Kylie agreed with her. Danni was 21 now, but she still had to live at home because of the cost of housing, and it was chafing like mad with her. It didn’t help that their mother still treated the two of them like little girls either.
She entered the living room, and saw Danni sitting in one of the armchairs. She was wearing a white silk blouse, black straight leather skirt and knee length black boots, and had a mug of coffee in her hand. She looked up at Kylie, and said “See Mum – she’s old enough now to be left on her own!”
“That’s enough, Danni” their mother replied. She was sat in the other armchair, also nursing a cup of coffee. She was dressed in a grey roll neck sweater and wrap around silk skirt with a floral pattern, and grey suede boots. “Kylie, you want Danni to stay in tonight, don’t you?”
“Doesn’t bother me in the slightest what Danni and you do, if all it leads to is these arguments. I’m going to my room to catch up on my reading!”
Kylie turned around and walked up the stairs to her bedroom. Grabbing a pair of headphones, she stuck one of her favourite CDs into the player and sat back to read Harry Potter.
The two men were sat in a grey van, watching the front of the house. They had been watching for a few days now, to try and work out the pattern the occupants followed. The two had identified the house as a possible target a month or so ago, when they read in the paper of the success the woman who owned the house had in a business deal. They had followed their usual line of discreet enquiry, and ascertained that the woman was a widower, living in the house with her two daughters. She ran a local estate agent, dealing with exclusive properties, and that alone made her a target worth considering. The expensive jewellery she wore in the press report only confirmed that.
They had seen the younger daughter return home, but there was no sign of anyone leaving the house. The taller of the two men glanced at his watch.
“We’re not going to be able to keep to our timetable if they don’t get a move on. What do you want to do?”
“Much as I hate to say it, I think we may have to take a more direct approach to this job.” The smaller man turned around, and pulled a rucksack from the back of the van. He checked the contents, and then closed it up again.
“Come on,” the smaller man said, “Let’s get this done and be on our way.”
The two men left the van, carrying a small rucksack each, and closed the doors behind them. Both were casually dressed, in jeans and sweaters, and both wore black leather jackets. They walked quickly down the road, and turned into the driveway leading to the house they had been watching.
“Mum, I have to go out tonight, or John is going to dump me!”
“Good – he’s not the right person for you anyway. All those tattoos – he looks like a picture gallery on legs at times.”
“Well, I’m going anyway!” Danni stood up, and grabbing a leather jacket from the back of the chair she stormed out of the room. Had she glanced out of the window at that point, she may have seen two men walking up the driveway, but her anger was blinding her to everything. Her mother sat for a few moments thinking, then stood up and made for the door.
Danni pulled the leather jacket on over her blouse, and opened the front door – just in time to meet two men wearing balaclava masks and carrying guns.
In her room, Kylie heard the faint noise of the door opening under the noise from her music. She barely glanced up as the door closed again.
“Danni, please come back in and we….” The mother stopped in her tracks as she saw two men closing the door behind them, with one of them holding Danni with his hand over her mouth, and the other carrying two rucksacks and a gun. The taller one spoke.
“Good evening, Mrs Ronson. This is a robbery – please do exactly as we tell you and no-one will be hurt. In particular, please do not scream or shout out, or your daughter here will be the one who suffers. Do you understand me?”
The mother nodded.
“Good – why don’t we go into your living room? Mr Small – would you kindly disconnect the telephone and any alarm systems before you join us?”
The smaller gentleman nodded, and turned to work on the telephone connection.
“Now Ladies – please take a seat, and keep your hands on your lap where I can see them?” Danni and Mrs Ronson sat down on the couch, while the taller gentleman sat opposite them.
“My name is Mr Tall, and as you may have gathered my colleague is called Mr Small. Let me say right from the start that we are only interested in taking your money, jewellery and cards – nothing more than that, and so long as you do as we tell you there will be no trouble. Do you understand?”
The two women nodded.
“We watched your other daughter coming into the house, Mrs Ronson. Where is she?”
“She stormed out of the back door some time ago – I’ve no idea where she has gone.” It was a little white lie, but the mother hoped it would keep her other daughter safe.
Mr Small entered the room. “All taken care of – where would you like me to start?”
Mr Tall turned to Danni. “Would I be right in thinking that you are Danni?” he asked. She nodded in reply. “Good – Mr Small, would you please look after Danni while I have a word with her mother in her office?”
“Of course,” Mr Small replied, and he opened a rucksack to take out a bundle of rope. “Danni, will you please take your jacket off, then kneel down in front of the couch and place your hands behind your back?”
In her room, Kylie could hear doors opening and closing downstairs, but paid no attention to the sounds. So long as they weren’t arguing, she was happy. The CD changed in the player and she continued to read her book.
“Thank you for cooperating with us, Mrs Ronson. It is always so much more pleasant when there is no arguing over the matter.”
In the office, Mr Tall completed the task of placing the contents of the safe in his rucksack. Mrs Ronson looked at him with a look of contempt.
“Do you get some sort of kick out of threatening women?” she asked Mr Tall.
“Frankly, no, but you must understand that this is the business I am in, so sometimes you have to be somewhat – firm” he replied.
“So what now – do you tie me up here and have your way with me?”
“Not here – and as I said earlier, we don’t do that. Shall we rejoin my colleague and your daughter?”
The two left the study, and made their way back to the living room. As they entered, the mother saw Danni sitting on the floor in front of the couch. She had taken her jacket off, and she could see that her bag was emptied out on the table. Danni herself had her hands tied behind her back, her ankles crossed and tied and her legs tied just above the knees.
“Mum – are you all right?”
“Your mother is just fine, Danni” Mr Tall replied. “Mr Small – would you please go and search the upstairs rooms and see what you can find, while I take care of things down here?”
Danni and her mother exchanged glances, as Mr Small left the room and started to walk up the stairs. Mr Tall turned to the women. “Now, Mrs Ronson – please turn around and put your hands behind your back.”
Mr Small entered the master bedroom, and proceeded to search the drawers and cabinets for jewellery. Placing his findings in his bag, he then entered a second bedroom, which was obviously the older daughters. A quick search revealed some more small items of jewellery and money, which he added to the bag.
On approaching the third bedroom, however, Mr Small was surprised to hear a low humming noise coming from behind the door. Gently opening it, he carefully looked round the corner, and saw Kylie sitting in a chair, with her eyes closed, listening to something on a set of headphones. She had not changed since she had entered the house, so she was still wearing the white cotton blouse and patchwork brown suede and leather miniskirt, as well as baggy brown suede boots. Mr Small made a note to compliment Mrs Ronson on trying to protect her other daughter, then entered the room, gently closing the door behind him.
Kylie heard the door close, and opened her eyes to see if it was her mother or her sister who had come in. To her surprise, it was a man about 5 foot 6 in height, wearing normal clothes but with a balaclava mask over his head that was standing there looking at her. She removed her headphones, looking at him the whole time and wondering if screaming would do any good.
“You must be Kylie,” Mr Small said, “Your mother had said you left the house earlier when we asked.”
“Wh…. Who are you?”
“You may call me Mr Small, and I am one of the two men who are robbing you today. My colleague is downstairs now with your mother and your sister. Please, do not scream, as it would only upset everyone, but do exactly what I say.”
Kylie continued to stare at the man. “You’re robbing us? But there’s nothing in here that’s valuable. Please, just leave me alone. I won’t cause any trouble, I promise.”
Kylie could see the man who called himself Mr Small smile. “Kylie, I’m sure you won’t cause any trouble, and to be frankly honest I don’t think there is anything in here that we want to take. What I cannot do, however, is leave you free to alert the authorities of our presence here. You do understand that, don’t you?”
The girl nodded. Mr Small noticed that Kylie was a petite young lady. “May I ask how old you are?”
“Eighteen,” Kylie replied, and then she shuddered. “No, please, don’t…..”
“Kylie, as I said, we are here to rob you – no more, no less. If you cooperate and do as I ask, then I will take you to join your mother and sister. Is that fair?”
The girl nodded. “What do you want me to do?”
“Switch off your stereo, then come and stand in front of me - back to me and hands crossed behind your waist, please.”
A few minutes later, Mr Small tied off the cords around Kylie’s wrists, making sure the knot was out of reach of her fingers. He then took a longer length of rope from his jacket pocket, and tied her upper arms to her body, securing the wrist bindings to the arm wrappings at the back.
“There – I hope that is not too uncomfortable?”
Kylie tried to move her arms and wrists. “I’ll survive – what now?”
“Please, sit down on the bed.”
As she did so, Mr Small took yet another length of rope from his pocket, crossed Kylie’s ankles and started to tie them together, over the brown boots.
“What’s happened to my mother and Danni? I can’t hear them.”
“I expect they are waiting for me to come down, and that they may be finding it a little difficult to talk right now. Why do you ask – always talking are they?”
Mr Small knotted off the ankle bindings, and then started to tie Kylie’s legs together above her knees and below her skirt hem.
“Not talking – arguing. They never seem to stop these days.”
“Yes, well, your sister wants her independence – as do you I suspect. Families are like that – never knowing when to let go.”
“Huh – you’re tying me up, my family is tied up downstairs, and you talk about independence and letting go?”
“Yes – ironic, isn’t it? Now, how does that feel?” Mr Small stood up. Kylie tried stretching and moving her legs.
“I guess I’m not going anywhere for a while.”
“Actually, you’re coming downstairs with me. My colleague would like to meet you, and it’s always easier to keep those we visit together. Perhaps, when we’ve gone, you may take some time to think about how important family is?”
“Won’t be doing a lot else than thinking, judging by the way you’ve tied me up.”
“One more thing,” Mr Small said as he turned from a set of drawers he had been looking in, “Open wide.”
“Wh….hmmmph” Kylie had barely opened her mouth when Mr Small tucked a rolled up pair of Kylies pants in her mouth, and then tied a thin scarf over the pants to keep them in place. Opening the bedroom door, he picked Kylie up and proceeded to descend to the main room.
“Mr Tall, would you mind opening the door a little wider? I found something upstairs you might wish to see.”
Mr Tall opened the door, to see Mr Small approaching with a young woman bound and gagged in his arms.
“Is this Kylie? Your mother said you had left.”
“Yes, it is – turned out she was upstairs, listening to music and oblivious to what was happening. I think she should join the rest of her family, don’t you?”
“Why not?” Mr Small carried Kylie into the room, where she saw her mother and Danni sitting on the floor, back to back. As she was placed gently on the couch, she looked at the way they had been tied. Both ladies had their hands tied behind their back, and she could see ropes around their ankles. Danni also had rope around her upper legs, and she could see that her mother was also tied in the same way, although the skirt she was wearing had been smoothed out to hide most of that binding. Their upper bodies were lashed together at the arms and chest, and both women had large strips of duct tape covering their mouths. From the muffled sounds both of them were making, there was obviously something else under the tape as well.
“Thank you, Mr Small, for making sure Kylie joined us. Ladies, we must now depart, but may I say it has been a pleasure for us to visit you today. We will alert the authorities of your predicament in one hour, and when they come inform them that the Gentlemen Robbers have paid a visit here today. Adieu!”
With that, the two men picked their rucksacks up, and closed the door behind them. Leaving by the front door, they removed their masks before heading back to their van on the main road.
Kylie lay back on the couch, and watched her mother and sister try to get themselves free. She realised it was better to wait for the police to come – and besides, the silence was wonderful.