Gently Does It
“Thanks for coming shopping with me Mum,” Becky said as she sat on the bus, “this meant a lot to me.”
“I know it is,” Louise said as she held her daughter’s hand, “I know.” The older woman was wearing a grey coat over a blue tie neck top and brown trousers, the legs of which were tucked into a pair of short camel leather boots. Her back hair was wept back, as she looked round and then at her daughter.
Becky was wearing a blue cardigan over a white t-shirt. On the front was a black and white picture of a model, with the words “Amazing Beauty” framing the picture. Her blue jeans were tucked into a pair of tight over the knee black leather boots, as she clutched her bag to her side.
“Don’t worry,” Louise said quietly, “we’ll soon be home.” She brushed her daughter’s dark hair away, smiling as she nodded. It had been three months, and the nightmares had only just subsided to the point where she could sleep through the night again...
As they got off, they walked slowly along the quiet suburban street, the gentle breeze blowing on them as they approached the terraced house they lived in. Louise stopped and looked in the brown leather shoulder bag she was carrying, stopping by a grey Transit van as she found them.
“I think we put the kettle on, and you relax,” she said to Becky, the younger woman nodding as she unlocked the door and they went in. Closing the door behind themselves, she watched as Becky went into the front room, and she made her way up the stairs, hanging her coat up before she did so.
She went into the bathroom, and exited a few minutes later, the water running as she made her way into the master bedroom – and stopped dead as she saw the man standing there, searching through her drawers. He stood about six foot four, and was dressed from head to foot in black, including the leather gloves he was wearing and the balaclava that covered his head, leaving only his eyes and his mouth visible.
“Ah,” he said as he turned and smiled, looking at Louise. “I had hoped we would be gone before you returned, but sometimes, life has surprises like this waiting for us. I must ask that you remain perfectly quiet, dear lady, and do nothing to raise the alarm.”
As he spoke, he took a knife from his pocket and opened it out, Louise staring as she slowly raised her hands.
“Ah – I see we have company Mister Tall.”
“Indeed Mister Small.”
Louise turned slowly round to see a second man, dressed identical but a foot smaller, looking at her with a small pistol in his gloved hand.
“Oh god,” Louise finally said, “no, she can’t take another...”
“Remain calm,” Mister Tall said, “and nothing will happen to harm you. Would it be rude to ask your name?”
“Louise – but you don’t understand, my daughter...”
“Your daughter is downstairs?”
Louise slowly nodded as she said “you don’t understand – a few months ago, the bank she worked at was robbed. The men who did it – they... They...”
“Ah,” Mister Small said quietly, “I take it, without probing too far, they did not treat her or anyone else with any respect?”
“That would be putting it mildly,” Louise said quietly. “Please – she is still recovering. Another robbery...”
“Louise,” Mister Tall said as he put the knife away, “I understand your concerns, and I can understand your fears. Please, allow us to do the regrettably necessary work we need to do, and we will make sure you and your daughter need not fear. Come – perhaps you should introduce us to her?”
Louise nodded slowly, somehow feeling calmer as the two men followed her down, and they went into the front room.
Becky looked up from her seat, and gasped as she saw the two men with her mother. “Oh god no,” she whimpered, pushing herself back into the seat and holding her arms over her legs as she did so.
“Becky, darling,” Louise said as she went and sat next to her, putting her arms round her, “I know this is frightening, and...”
“Please, mummy, don’t let them hurt me again...”
“You have my word, Becky,” Mister Tall said as he sat down, and Mister Small made his way over to the window, drawing the curtains over them, “that if you and your mum do as we say, we will not hurt you.” He took her hand in his gloved hand and said “She told us that you had a rather unfortunate encounter with some men who may have looked at us, correct?”
Becky nodded as she whispered “please, don’t do what they did...”
“We won’t,” Mister Tall said quietly. “I do have to say that, with deep regret, we need to stop you both from raising the alarm for a while, but that is all, I assure you. So I want you to take deep breaths, calm yourself, and then look at me.”
Becky allowed herself to calm down before she looked at Mister Tall, the blue eyes and smile the only thing visible through the mask.
“That’s better,” he said quietly, “now, I want you to know, whatever else may have happened, we are not those people, all right? Mister Small, would you take a length of cord and hand it to me, please?”
The smaller of the two men opened a small rucksack and took out a length of white cord, which he handed to Mister Tall.
“I want you to hold this for me Becky, just hold it in your hands,” he said as he held it out, Becky watching him before she let her legs go down and took the cord from him.
“Now, tell me how it feels,” he said as Mister Small took another length of cord from the bag.
“It feels – soft,” Becky said quietly, “why?”
“Does it feel as if it is something you should be afraid of?”
She slowly shook her head.
“Good – now Mister Small has a length of the same cord. Watch as he ensures your mother cannot move her hands for a little while.”
She turned her head and watched as Mister Small guided Louise’s hands behind her back, crossing her wrists before he doubled the cord over, and used it to secure her wrists together, taking the soft rope around and between her arms.
“Does it... Does it hurt Mum,” Becky whispered as she watched.
“No – it doesn’t.” Louise looked over her shoulder as Mister Small secured the ends, and tucked them back into the bands, “I mean, it’s tight, but it’s not uncomfortable.”
“Now it is your turn,” Mister Tall said, “but I want you to put your wrists together in front of you, so that you can see what we do. Ready?”
Becky stared at him for a couple of minutes, before she handed him back the cord and put her wrists together, making little balls of her fists as she did so. She felt the cord as it began to press her wrists together, watching the whole time as the masked man wound the rope around and between her arms.
“There,” Mister Tall finally said as he tied the ropes off, “it doesn’t hurt does it?”
“No – this isn’t like the last time,” Becky said quietly. “They used thin plastic zip ties...”
“Ah – you see, Mister Small, no finesse. Now, I want you to watch as my friend secures your mother’s ankles together.”
“Would you please put your feet on the coffee table, and cross your ankles,” Mister Small said, Louise nodding as she did this, and watched the masked man secure her ankles together.
“It’s not the rope that scared you, was it,” Mister Tall said as Becky watched, “it was the men who were using it. I can understand how they scared you – but are we scaring you Becky?”
“A little – it’s not quite the same, you seem so much more polite and all that, but I’m still scared.”
“Nothing wrong with that,” Mister Tall said as he took some rope from the bag as well, “but as I promised, we are not going to hurt you. Now, do the same as your mother, and cross your ankles on the coffee table.”
Becky stretched her legs out, crossing her ankles and watching as the tall masked man wrapped white cord round them, and started to bind them together. Glancing to the side, she could see her mother watching as Mister Small tied her legs together below her knees, then took the rope between her legs to tighten it before he tied the ends off.
She looked back down her own legs, even giggling at the squeak as the rope rubbed on the leather, before Mister Tall secured the ends, and then repeated the process below her own knees, the rope sitting over the black leather again.
“I have to say,” Louise said as Mister Small secured the ends of the second band of rope, “you two are unlike any robbers I have heard of.”
“We will take that as a compliment,” Mister Tall said as he took the rope between Becky’s legs, and she felt the rope band tighten on her limbs as he secured the ends. “So, Becky, we have your wrists and legs secured. Still feel a little afraid?”
Louise watched her daughter as she twisted her arms and legs, and then said “what else will you do?”
“We need to secure your arms to your sides,” Mister Tall said as he removed two longer lengths of rope from the bag, “and for you Becky we need to make sure your wrists stay in front of you. When you are ready, we need you both to put your legs down and sit forward.”
Becky and Louise looked at each other, and then lowered their legs to the floor, their ankles resting on the carpet as they felt the rope tighten round their legs.
“Don’t worry, we’re both going to be the same,” Louise said, Becky nodding as the two masked intruders wrapped the doubled over rope around their arms and bodies, just below their chests. Becky took slow deep breaths as she felt her arms being drawn into her sides, the bands sitting above and below her chest before Mister Tall tied the rope off behind her. He then took a final length of cord, and tied her wrists to the band of rope below her knees, as Mister Small did something behind her mother’s back.
“Well, I have to say, we’re not going anywhere,” Becky said, and then she burst out laughing.
“Is everything all right,” Louise said as she looked at her daughter.
“Sorry, Mum,” Becky said, “it’s just so different – and the fact you’re here as well...”
“Mister Small, would you finish the work upstairs please,” Mister Tall said as he sat down, the smaller man nodding as he went back upstairs.
“I regret that you had such a bad experience before, Becky, but we are not all alike – and I hope you realise that you need not be afraid of what may happen.”
“I’m not afraid – not of you anyway,” Becky said. “You’re not going to harm us, are you?”
“Heavens, no – but I do need to make sure you and your mother cannot make any loud noises for a little while. Now, when Mister Small returns, we will complete the process, but for now we will do this.”
He went to the bag and took out two clear plastic bags, each of which had a small silk square inside. Opening one, he took out the cloth and folded it into a small pad.
“Your mother first, so you can see there is nothing to fear.”
Louise nodded as she opened her mouth, tasting the clean silk as Mister Tall placed it in her mouth, watching as she closed her lips over it.
“Sllrrhttbckkeee,” Louise mumbled, “nffnggttferr.”
“Are you ready?”
Becky nodded as she opened her mouth, feeling the silk pad on her tongue as he placed it in, and then closed her lips over it. She sat still, getting used to the feeling and the taste, as Mister Small came back in.
“I believe we are finished upstairs, Mister Tall. Do we need to finish here?”
“I think so,” Mister Tall said as he took out from the bag a roll of white tape. Tearing a small strip off, he pressed it onto the back of Becky’s hand, and says “does that hurt, or feel like something you should be scared of?”
Becky shook her head as Mister Tall tore a longer strip off, and then smoothed it gently down over her mother’s mouth. Becky looked over and saw the shape of her mother’s lips, wondering what it was like.
“Tssfff,” Louise said, watching in turn as Mister Tall pressed a second length of tape down over her daughter’s mouth. Becky nodded as she tried to move her lips, realising very quickly the tape was holding them firmly together.
“We will ensure the alarm is raised in due course,” Mister Tall said, both women nodding as they twisted round. “Please, remain calm, and remember – as in life, not all criminals are the same.”
“Fnkuuu,” Becky said as she looked at them.
“For what,” Mister Small asked.
Louise nodded in agreement as Mister Tall smiled. “The Gentlemen Robbers bid you adieu, ladies,” he said with a smile, “may we never meet again.”
Louise and Becky looked at each other as they watched the masked men leave the house.
“It never fails to amaze me,” Mister Tall said as they walked down the garden path, their masks in their jacket pockets, “just how bad some of our profession can be in their treatment of others.”
Mister Small nodded silently as they got back into the transit van, and drove off.
In the house, Becky leaned over and out her head on her mother’s shoulder, Louise rubbing her cheek on her head as they waited for rescue...