The ground around Widdicombe Manor was quiet, with very little in the way of people and noise to disturb it. The manor house itself was in the centre of Widdicombe, but you would not know it from the sense of tranquillity and peace that hung over the walled-in gardens. In the surrounding streets, there was the sound of laughter and singing from an amazing number of street parties, but the manor itself was quiet.
As a result, the nondescript grey van that turned into the driveway attracted little attention, as it passed through the tree lined avenue and round to the rear entrance of the building. Had anybody been there to notice, they would have seen two men get out of the van, dressed in black leather jackets, and walk towards the kitchen door. There was nobody in the grounds, however, and inside the house the three occupants had their attention focused elsewhere.
“Hurry up, Aunt Christyne -- they’re about to show her boarding the barge!”
“All right, all right, I’m on my way,” Christyne Widdicombe said as she walked into the large front room. She was in her late fifties, a large woman with greying hair that was cut into a tight bob around her face, but her face was lit up with a smile as she came into the room. This was a special occasion, so she was wearing a red silk blouse with a bow tied round the neck, a knee length grey skirt, tan pantyhose and grey shoes with two inch heels that were buckled at the front.
Her niece, Diana Palmer, was sitting on the long leather couch looking at her. She was in her forties, a tall thin woman with short dark hair, and was wearing a light blue silk V-necked jumper and slacks, a pair of grey suede ankle boots visible from under the cuffs of the legs. As she turned to watch the television, Christyne said, “Where’s Sara?”
“In the kitchen sorting some drinks out -- she’ll be back in a few minutes.” They both turned to watch as the announcer said, “And here comes Her Majesty, approaching the jetty that leads to the Royal Barge, the gold covering reflecting in the sunlight...”
Sara Palmer was busy with a teapot, rinsing it out before she placed it next to the kettle and opened the cupboard door to retrieve a number of cups and saucers. As she looked into the cupboard, she failed to notice the door that led to the rear entrance open and close behind her, so that when she finished arranging the cups and saucers on a tray she got the fright of her life as she turned round.
“Good afternoon,” the taller of the two men standing there said as he looked at the young woman standing there. She was about five foot eight tall, with long dark hair that fell over the shoulders of her dark blue t-shirt with the “Keep Calm and Carry On” slogan printed on the front. A short black leather skirt revealed her dark leggings, and her lower legs were encased in a pair of tight black leather boots that had a cuff folded just below the knee.
“Who... Who are you, and what are you doing in my great aunt’s house?”
“Both excellent questions,” the smaller of the two men said as he produced a pistol and held it in the palm of his gloved hand. “Why don’t you finish making the tea, and then my friend here will carry the tray for you? I think it is probably better if we explain things to everyone at once, don’t you?”
“And as the barge slowly slips away from the jetty, the crowds cheer in response to the sight of Her Majesty waving from the deck...”
“What took you so long, Sa... Oh.”
Diana stood up, her hands to her mouth, as the door opened and a well built man, standing six foot four tall, walked in with the tea tray balanced in his hands. He was dressed from head to foot in black - literally, as his head was covered by a black balaclava that only showed his eyes and mouth, while he wore a pair of black leather gloves on his hands.
“Please,” he said as he looked at Diana, “sit down and allow me to pour you some tea. My friend here is keeping your daughter company.”
“My daugh... SARA!” Diana yelled as she saw Sara been led in by the arm by another man, identically dressed but a good foot shorter, who held a pistol in his other hand.
“Please, ladies, sit down and calm yourselves,” he said as he pushed Sara over to her mother, then pointed the gun at the trio. “A cup of tea is possibly the best things for you now.”
Christyne had been sitting without saying a word, but now she spoke up. “May I ask who you are, and what you are doing in my house?”
“An excellent question, Ms Widdicombe -- you may call me Mister Tall, and my friend over here answers to the name of Mister Small. Would you like milk and sugar in your tea?”
The politeness of the masked man took her by surprise, as she slowly said “Milk only, thank you.” She saw him smile as he handed her a cup of tea, before saying “I take it this is your niece Diana and her daughter Sara? We have been watching the house for some time, and know who is living here. ON which note -- Mister Small, would you please quickly check to ensure the housekeeper is indeed out of the building? I would so hate it if she had to join this party.”
“Of course,” Mister Small said as his companion took a large knife from his inside jacket pocket and laid it on the table next to the tea tray. “Naturally, I must ask the three of you to remain in your seats,” he said as he poured a second cup of tea and handed it to Diana, “and to do whatever Mister Small and I tell you to do. Sara, would you be so good as to walk slowly to the windows and draw the curtains over?”
“Do as he says, Sara,” Christyne said, and as the younger girl walked to the windows she said, “I take it you are burglars?”
“That would be correct, Ms Widdicombe -- or may I call you Christyne? I promise you that, beyond some inconvenience, none of you will come to any harm if you do as we say.”
“Do we have a choice?”
“Of course you do, Diana -- you can ensure that your daughter is so tightly bound and gagged for the rest of the day that you must do as we say, or you can do it voluntarily. Would you like to tell me which you prefer?”
Diana looked at Sara, who in turn looked at Christyne. “That will not be necessary,” she said quietly, “We will do as you say. Sit down, child, and have some tea.”
“Thank you -- you seem to be taking this remarkably well,” Mister Tall said as Mister Small returned and deposited a canvas holdall on the floor. “Now, Christyne, I regret that the three of you will have to be immobilised and unable to talk for a while, but I promise you it will be bearable.”
“No,” Sara said as she hugged her mother “I don’t want to be tied up, please don’t do that to me...”
“It’s all right, Sara,” Diana said as she hugged her daughter back, “I do not think they will harm us if we do as they say. You promise that, don’t you?”
“Of course we do,” Mister Small said as he opened the bag. “Please, all of you, finish your tea.”
“So what exactly are you after?” Christyne said as she looked at the two men.
“Your jewellery collection and your cameos, since you ask,” Mister Tall said with a smile, “and a look in the safe I know you have in your upstairs room would be appreciated. If you will accompany me, once you have finished your tea of course, my friend will stay with your niece and her charming daughter and ensure they are safe.”
“Safe? In what way?”
“All will be revealed. If you are ready, then we can make a start and leave you as quickly as possible. Mister Small, will you take care of things down here?”
“Of course, Mister Tall,” the smaller man said as he watched him take Christyne by the arm and lead her out of the room. “Now, Diana, Sara, I must ask you to tell me where your mobile phones are.”
Sara reached into her pocket and withdrew her iPhone, placing it on the coffee table as her mother picked up a crimson red handbag, opening it and taking out a small silver handset which she placed next to her daughters.
“Thank you,” Mister Small said as he picked up the phones and placed them in the canvas bag. “Now, Sara, please stand up and face your mother.”
“Please, mum, don’t let him do this to me,” Sara said with a sob.
“It’s all right, darling,” Diana said in a quiet voice, “Just do as he says. It may not be as bad as you think it is.”
“Mum? Has this happened to you before?”
Diana nodded as Sara slowly stood up, looking at her mother as Mister Small gently pulled her wrists behind her back and started to bind them together with a length of thin cord. “Remember the Golden Jubilee? You spent it here with your great aunt while Daddy and I took a trip to Jamaica for that conference?”
“Yeah, I remember staying here, but why are you mentioning that now?”
“Because, darling, ten years ago I was robbed in my chalet.” Sara stared at her mother, not noticing the cords digging into her bare wrists, as Diana continued her story...
“My god, you look sexy in that outfit!”
Diana smiled at her husband’s comment, as she looked at herself in the mirror of the bathroom. She had put on a purple bandanna-style top, with a lighter shade of purple in a pattern around the top and along the rest of the material, the point over the front of her white shorts with spaghetti straps held it on over her shoulders. A pair of white strapped sandals with two inch cork heels was on her feet, and her long dark hair hung around her bare neck and shoulders.
“Thanks, dear,” she said with a smile, “I’m hoping it will be a big hit at the Golden Jubilee party down on the beach.” She turned and looked at her husband as he pulled his jacket on. “When does your meeting end?”
“About two,” he said as he picked up his briefcase. “I’ll come straight here, get changed and come and join you down there.” He kissed Diana on the cheek and waved as he walked away, closing the room door as she looked from the window.
Outside she could see the bunting in the streets, and hear the bands at the beach as they rehearsed for the party later that day. Sighing, she turned and headed for the bathroom at the far side of the room.
She walked in and looked at herself in the mirror, adjusting her lipstick, when she heard a knock on the door.
“Yes? Who is it?”
“Room Service,” a male voice called out, “Your husband asked us to deliver you a special surprise.”
“Just like him,” Diana said to herself as she left the bathroom and put her hand on the door handle. “What do you have for me,” she said as she opened the door, only to be surprised as three men rushed into the room, scarves tied over their lower faces. Two of them took Diana by the arm and pulled her back in, throwing her down on her bed as the third closed the door and followed them.
Diana looked at the trio, and at the large machete the third man was carrying, before saying, “What do you want?”
“Your money,” the third man said as he moved the machete round. “Tie her up and gag her -- I want to be out of here in fifteen tops.”
“Wha -- don’t you bloody dare,” Diana shouted out, only for one of the two other men to grab her and pull her hair hard. “AAAGGMMMMGGG,” she called out as a dirty rag was stuffed into her mouth, the taste making her want to retch as the second man produced a roll of white vet wrap and start to stick it to her lower jaw, passing it tightly round her mouth as she was progressively silenced by the taut cloth.
“Uffkngnbstrdds,” Diana wailed as her arms were pulled behind her back, and as she felt rope been tied around her bare wrists by one of her assailants she saw the second one cross her ankles and lash them together with white rope, the cords digging into her skin as she tried to wriggle out of the way.
The gang leader simply laughed as he rifled through her handbag, pocketing her purse and money before picking up a laptop bag and taking the computer out. “Lfffthln,” Diana screamed as she sat on the bed, staring at the men as they opened the drawers next and threw her underwear and clothing onto the bedroom floor.
“Quiet, lady,” the leader said as he looked at Diana, “or I use this lovely blade to cut your clothes off and we all have some fun.”
Diana stopped, realising what he was saying, and said “Plslsnnn,” her eyes dropping as the gang gathered up the rest of the things they wanted.
“Let’s go,” the leader said, and as they ran out of the room Diana looked after them, trying desperately to twist her hands free as she started top thrash her legs up and down on the bed...
“It was two hours later when your father found me, soaked in sweat and the mess all over the floor.”
Diana looked up at Sara, as Mister Small pulled her arms into her side with a length of rope passed around her belly. “At least these two seem a bit more respectful of us.” On the television, the Royal Barge was been joined by a flotilla of small boats and brightly decorated rafts as it made it’s slow way down the Thames.
“I’m sorry you had to have such an experience, Diana,” Mister Small said as he wound the rope above Sara’s chest, her breasts encircled in bands of rope clearly visible over the blue t-shirt. As she looked over her shoulder, she saw her binder pull the bands together behind her back before using the remaining ends of the rope to secure her wrists to the chest bands.
“All right, Sara,” he said as he stepped back, “I trust this is not too uncomfortable?”
“Does it have to be so tight?” she said as she twisted her body round.
“Strange as this may sound, it would be more uncomfortable if it was less tight,” Mister Small said as he took her by the arm and walked her to the armchair that Christyne had been sitting in. “Now, please sit down and relax. I need to ensure your mother is kept secure next.”
“What are you going to do to her,” Sara said as she watched him take another length of rope out of the canvas bag.
“Make sure she has a restful time,” Mister Small said as he looked at her. “Now, Diana, if you would be so good as to lie on your stomach, I promise you this will be a more restful experience.”
“I suppose some sort of thanks are in order,” Diana said as she stood up and then laid herself on her stomach, resting her head on the arm of the couch as she said “So, where do you want my hands?”
“Behind your back please,” Mister Small said as he doubled the rope over, “and clasp your hands together...”
“I have to confess, if I am going to be held at gunpoint and robbed, it is preferable for it to be by men who know how to talk to a woman.”
Christyne was sat on the large double bed in her room, her hands on her lap as she watched Mister Tall search carefully through the drawer she had indicated as containing some of her jewellery. As she watched him draw out a small velvet case, he replied, “As a rule, my colleague and I find it better to treat those we visit with respect -- they are then more relaxed about what we regretfully have to do to ensure our escape.”
“Most commendable,” Christyne said with a faint hint of sarcasm. Mister Tall ignored it as he withdrew a set of pearls and placed them in a velvet sack, drawing the string at the top tight as he put it in his jacket pocket.
“You speak as if this has happened to you before.”
“There have been a number of occasions,” Christyne said as she looked up at the masked stranger, “of varying degrees of terror. I must say, however, this has been the calmest since...”
Mister Tall noticed the lull in her voice and turned to look at her. “Since?”
Christyne smiled. “Believe it or not, it was another Jubilee day, the Silver one. You’re probably too young to remember it.”
“I was a babe in nappies at the time,” Mister Tall said, and he could see the smile on her lips as well. “What happened that time?”
“It was a sunny day then as well. Mum and Dad had gone to do their duty at the village celebrations, and I had said I would follow on in a little while....”
As Christyne sat on her bed, pulling her white stocking up her leg and fixing them in place with a garter belt, she smiled to herself. With any luck, Jack would be at the fair, and she could have some time with him.
She had already put on a pair of yellow briefs and a white bra over her breasts, as she rolled the other stocking and placed it over her toes, slowly pulling it up her leg and fixing it in place as well. Reaching down, she picked up a pair of yellow high heels and slipped them over her feet, before standing up and smoothing herself down.
Lying on the bed was the dress she had picked for the occasion, a white bodice with thin straps to go over the shoulders, and a mid-thigh skirt that consisted of alternating white and sunflower-yellow pleats that matched her shoes. She stepped into it, pulling the straps over her shoulders and reaching round to pull the short zip up her back, then twirling round as she looked at herself in the mirror.
Looking out of the window, she could see the neatly arranged rows of wooden tables, and the children in their best clothes running round, some of the girls with paper crowns on their heads. The village Brass Band was playing on one side of the green, while the other was lined with marquees and stalls.
“Jack is not going to be able to resist this,” she said to herself as she ran her fingers through her straw-blonde hair, a yellow Alice band holding it back, before she picked up her handbag and headed out of the room.
As she passed her mother’s room, she stopped at the sound of something been dropped on the floor. “Are you in there, Mum?” she said quietly, expecting to hear her mother’s voice, but there was no response. Pushing the door open, she stepped in and said, “Mum?”
The room seemed normal, but Christyne could see that some of the drawers were lying slightly open. She stepped in, wondering what was happening, but as she cleared the doorway she was grabbed from behind and a hand, a black velvet glove over it, was clamped firmly over her mouth.
“MMMFMdmmfmdmdfmgf,” she mumbled as a calm, clear voice said, “Please, calm down. I don’t want to hurt you, but I do need you to calm down.”
Christyne’s eyes darted from left to right, as she realised that this must have been whoever made the noise, as the voice continued, “I’m going to take my hand away. Please, do not scream or call out, all right?”
Christyne nodded, hoping he would do what he had promised. “All right, I’m trusting you,” he said, but as he took his hand away Christyne screamed, “HELP!!!! SOMEBODY PLEASE HELP MMMRFFGMMRT”
The hand was clamped over her mouth again as the voice said, “I’m sorry you had to do that.” Her captor frogmarched her over to the chest of drawers, and as Christyne stood there she saw another gloved hand open the drawer and pull out a pair of her mother’s panties.
“Whtrrugnddtdwfthm,” Christyne mumbled, but her answer was made clear as she watched the hand fold the cloth into a large pad, and the voice said, "Open wide now, and don’t spit these out, or you will regret it.”
As the hand moved away again, Christyne called out “PLLSEEMMGGGGG” as the cloth was pushed gently into her mouth. She tasted the soap on the cloth, but at the same time it was done gently, calmly, as if her attacker did not want to panic her.
“Now, as I said, keep them in there,” the voice said, “and put your hands behind your back. I regret to say I need to make sure you cannot raise the alarm for a little while.”
Christyne stared ahead, paralysed with fear, as she felt her hands been pulled behind her back and something like curtain cord been tied around her crossed wrists, holding them firmly together as it was passed around and between them before she felt a sharp tug. As she felt the ends flapping against her bottom, she was turned around and she was able to see her captor for the first time.
He was about six foot tall, broad shoulders, and was wearing a dark jacket and trousers over a black pullover. A pair of sunglasses covered his eyes, and a cloth cap was firmly pressed down on his head.
“That’s better,” he said as he smiled at Christyne, “Now, close your lips together and allow me to make sure that cloth stays in there.”
“Mstuu,” Christyne mumbled as he picked up a roll of flesh covered plaster from her mother’s bureau and tore a wide strip off. The tape was about two inches wide, and as he pressed it firmly over her mouth Christyne could feel the adhesive pulling at her skin, the cloth forming to the shape of her jaw as he pressed it into place.
“That should keep you quiet,” he said as he slapped Christyne on the bottom, making her yelp “Snngnf!” through her gag. Taking her by the arm, he guided her out of the room, down the stairs and into the dining room, where he drew a chair away from the table and sat her down, guiding her arms behind the chair back as he did so. She grunted as she felt him securing her bound wrist to the centre of the five spars that ran up the chair back.
“Whthhllru,” Christyne called out as he watched the man take a length of thin cord from his pocket and use it to tie her upper arm to the side of the chair back, repeating the process on the other side before he left her for a moment, returning with a new coil of cotton washing line that Christyne had seen earlier that day in the kitchen,
“Let’s make you nice and comfortable,” he said as he laid a large knife on the coffee table, before tearing the paper off that was wrapped round the coil and pulling a long length off, cutting it with the knife before he tied it around Christyne’s waist, pulling her back into the chair as he passed it round twice and then tied it to her wrists.
Christyne was kicking her legs up and down, trying to distract him as much as possible as he passed more rope over her upper body and pulled her arms into her side, weaving the rope through the slats at the back of the chair to ensure she was held in place by a lattice work of rope around her chest and arms. As she felt the rope pulling her even further back, fixing her even more snugly to the heavy wood, Christyne sighed through her gag and relaxed, knowing she was not going anywhere.
The man gave one last tug on the rope and tied the end off, then walked round and knelt next to Christyne, pulling her ankles together and passing more rope round them as he pulled them together. The off white rope seemed to blend with her nylons as he passed the rope around and between her legs, snugly securing her ankles together before he pulled them to the side and secured them to the chair leg to her left.
“Comfy?” he said with a grin as he looked up at Christyne. She was still trying to twist round, but she had to admit it was not uncomfortable as such. Restrictive, certainly, but not uncomfortable. She looked down as he folded the hem of her skirt up and began to tie her legs together just below her knees.
“URrkndcet,” she mumbled through the cloth and fabric plaster as he cinched the ropes between her legs and folded her skirt back. In return, he looked up at her and said, “I really am sorry I had to do this to you. I just hope that plaster does not hurt you?”
The fabric was moving like a second skin over her lips as Christyne tried to twist her mouth round, but it showed no signs of giving way. “There now,” he said as he stood up, “I think that will hold you for a little while. If you’ll excuse me, I need to return to searching for your valuables.”
Christyne watched him as he touched his cap and walked out of the room, leaving her alone in the large dining hall. She listened to the sound of him climbing the stair case, before beginning to struggle like mad in her chair and scream out, “HELP ME!!! FOR GOD’S SAKE WILL SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!”
What actually escaped from under the tight gag was much muted “shlpmfrgdssksmbdehlpm,” as she tried to twist her body round from side to side in a vain attempt to free herself. She could feel the sweat on her neck and back, and could see the dark stains start to appear in the bodice of her dress, but she was determined to try and free herself, to raise the alarm to do something that....
As her chair tipped slowly to the side, she called out “SSHTTTTTT” as she braced herself for the impact. As her shoulder hit the thick carpet, she felt a sharp pain running through it, but as she lay grunting she soon realised she had only jarred it rather than something more serious.
She lay there, wondering what she should do next when she heard footsteps and saw the leather shoes of her captor as he walked into the room. “OH dear,” he said as he knelt by her and brushed her cheek, “I had hoped you would understand the need to sit quite still. Are you all right?”
Christyne nodded as he lifted her back up, chair and all, and set her right on the floor. “Well, I need to be going now,” he eventually said, “Please, try not to tip yourself over again. I’m sure someone will come by eventually and release you.”
“Lrrtgt,” Christyne mumbled as she watched him walk out of the room again, still twisting her arms round but more and more resigned to a long time where she was, as the sounds of the brass bands in the distance could be heard through the open doorway...
“He was a most considerate man as well -- a lot like you and your friend.”
“You do seem to have been most fortunate to met him -- did you ever learn who he was?”
Christyne shrugged her shoulders. “There was a famous cat burglar at the time known as The Cat. It may have been him.”
Mister Tall closed the last drawer and turned, smiling at the older woman as he said, “It may well have been, my colleague was trained by The Cat, and it does sound rather like his style. At any rate, I believe we have finished here, and we have already looked into your safe, so I think it is long past time we re-united you with the rest of your family.”
“Would I be right in thinking your colleague has also begun to tie them up?”
“I would imagine so.”
“Well then,” Christyne said as she stood up, “If you will allow me to relieve myself first, I do believe that my place will be with them.”
“Of course,” Mister Tall said as she held the door open, allowing Christyne to walk in front of him, “We do not want any additional pressure on yourself, do we?”
“Very funny,” Christyne said as he held the bathroom door open for her. “I guess the chance of some privacy is out of the question?”
“I regret to say that is correct, but I will turn my back,” Mister Tall said as Christyne reached for the zip on the side of her skirt, her masked captor standing with his back to her.
“Sara, Diana, are you both all right?”
“As well as can be expected,” Diana said as she rolled onto her side and looked at her aunt. Her arms were tightly held against her side with bands of rope that went above and below her chest, the V of her jumper showing a little of her cleavage, while another length held her crossed and bound wrists firmly in place in the small of her back. Her ankles had also been crossed and tied together, the rope going over the cuffs of her pants, and there were ropes around her legs just below her knees and around her thighs. They were tightly bound and snugly cinched in all the right places, between her legs and under her arms but Diana was not too uncomfortable despite the strictness of the ropes.
“I think you should allow your great aunt to have a seat, Sara,” Mister Small said as he took the young girl by the arm and helped her to stand up. Mister Tall walked Christyne to the chair, allowing her to sit down as his companion helped Sara to sit on the floor opposite her.
“Please,” Mister Small said as he took a length of white rope from the canvas bag, “Stretch your legs out in front of you and cross your ankles. I promise you this will not hurt.”
“It hasn’t so far,” Sara said as she watched him pass the doubled over rope around her ankles and feed the end through the centre, pulling tightly as she watched the leather compress under the cords. “At least you don’t look too uncomfortable,” Christyne said as she watched the smaller man quickly pass the rope around and between her great-niece's ankles and secure them together.
“And as the flotilla passes under Chelsea Bridge, we can see the crowds waving their flags and cheering. It really is a brilliant day to be here, isn’t it, Fiona?”
Mister Tall glanced at the screen. “They seem to be enjoying the celebrations. I regret that you three ladies will have to delay your own time. Christyne, I regret that I must now start to secure you. Please, turn in the chair and place your hands behind your back.”
“I suppose it had to happen, Auntie,” Diana said as she watched her aunt turn in the chair and move her hands behind her back.
“True, but at least we’re not been treated roughly,” was Christyne’s response as she felt the cords over the cuffs of her silk blouse, pulling her wrists together side by side as her palms met each other behind her back. It was tight, but not uncomfortable as she felt Mister Tall wind the rope around and between, finishing with a cinching pass.
“I believe I can deal with this,” she said as she looked over her shoulder, “Very commendable.”
As this was happening, Mister Small had bound Sara’s legs together, under the cuffs of her boots below her knees, and again around her thighs, cinching each set with a pass between her legs. “If you will excuse me, Mister Tall,” he said as he stood up, “I will do a search of the rest of the rooms and see what I can find.”
“Of course -- I’m sure the ladies will be all right with me,” Mister Tall said as he unravelled a second, longer length of rope and passed it around Christyne’s waist, pulling her lower arms tightly into her side as he passed it round her body several times, both above and below her chest.
“Would you like me to loosen the tie at your neck,” he said as he saw the way her blouse was been stretched over her breasts, “It may be a little more comfortable for you.”
“Thank you, but no,” Christyne replied before gasping as he passed the rope around the coils under her left arm, tightening them still further, then took it to the other side, “I will cope.”
“What do you think they’re going to do to us, mum,” Sara said as she tried to twist her legs round, the motion making her leather boots squeak as they rubbed against each other.”
“I think we’re going to be spending some time together, without a lot of hope of getting free,” was Diana’s reply as he watched the masked man fix the ends of the rope around her aunt’s wrists, before kneeling on the floor and placing her ankles together side by side. The white rope was clearly visible over her tan legs as he quickly, efficiently and tightly bound them together.
“And as the barge approaches Westminster Bridge, we hear the peals of the bells of Westminster Abbey ring out to mark the celebration...”
“Forgive me,” Mister Tall said as he folded back the hem of Christyne’s skirt, and passed another length of rope around her legs, pulling them together above her knees even as they were held below them. As he wound the rope round, and then tightened it by cinching it between her legs, Mister Small returned with a number of items in his hands.
“I’ve searched the remainder of the rooms,” he said as he placed the new finds on the coffee table, “How are we doing here?”
“I think we are nearly ready,” Mister Tall said as he moved back the hem of Christyne’s skirt, and then tied the end of a longer length of rope around her ankles. “Forgive me, Christyne,” he said as he looked up at her, “but I have to ensure it is both difficult for you to move and also that you are as comfortable as possible.”
“Most considerate,” she said as he took the rope up and secured it to the bands around her chest, leaving with her legs slightly bent as she sat on the chair. “Diana, I regret to say that I must now make sure you are similarly secured. If you would, please roll onto your stomach for a few minutes. I promise you, you will be able to return to your position on your side after that.”
As Diana rolled onto her stomach, Mister Tall walked over and pulled her legs up, binding her ankles to her back with another length of rope that left her legs at an angle, but made it difficult for her to move correctly. As she rolled back onto her side, Mister Small helped Sara to lie on the floor, facing the two older women, and pulled her legs back so that they were perpendicular to the body, securing her ankles to the chest ropes with rope in the same way.
“Now, ladies,” Mister Tall said as he looked at the things Mister Small had brought in, “I regret to say it is going to be necessary to silence you. Who wishes to go first?”
“I will,” Christyne said without hesitation, “What do you intend to use?”
Mister Tall selected from the pile two scarves. One was a deep red silk square, while the other was a larger Hermes scarf, orange with a green border and printed on it an image of an Indian elephant with three riders on the back of the beast. Green flecks, like leaves, were printed around the main image.
Walking over, Mister Tall folded the red scarf into a pad, and said "If you will, Christyne, open your mouth and allow me to place this inside, then I will keep it in place with the larger scarf.
“At least we will be together,” Christyne said before allowing their captor to push the silk pad into her mouth. She watched as he folded the Hermes scarf into a triangle, then into a thick band, before tying a knot in the middle and pushing that between her teeth. As she closed her mouth round the knot, he pulled the ends tightly round her neck, securing them at her hairline.
“Whsdnxt,” Christyne mumbled as Mister Tall walked back to the coffee table. Diana nodded as he picked up a white scarf and another printed Hermes one, this time light blue with a circular representation of a city printed on it, and several figures in the centre.
“That’s the Grace Kelly scarf,” Diana said as she watched the taller man fold the white scarf into a pad, “Thank you, it’s one of my favourites.” She opened her mouth to allow him to push the stuffing in, before she was gagged with a knotted band in the same way as her aunt.
“Won’t I choke?” Sara said as she watched Mister Small pick up a dark blue scarf and fold it into a pad. “Try to breathe through your nose,” he said as he did this, “the cloth soon shrinks down in your mouth anyway.”
The last large Hermes scarf was printed on black silk, with a gold and red pattern that complemented the lighter details round the edges. “This is also a famous pattern,” Mister Small said as he folded it into a band, “My compliments to you on your taste in scarves, Christyne.”
“Verrrfneee,” Christyne mumbled as she watched him quickly gag Sara. The taste in her mouth was not unpleasant, that was true, but she knew the changes of shouting to raise the alarm were very slim indeed.
“Well, we must leave you ladies now,” Mister Tall said as Mister Small collected the cups and placed them on the tray, lifting it as Mister Tall collected the bag. “The Gentlemen Robbers bid you adieu -- may we never meet again.”
The two masked men walked out, as Diana started to try and struggle free on the couch, while Sara did the same on the floor. “Dntbffrr,” Christyne mumbled as she tried pulling on the rope between her body and legs “Tsstttggt. Jstrlx.”
“Nf - bttcnbrplsdd. Ucnt.”
Turning her head to the screen, Christyne watched the Royal Flotilla as t made it’s majestic way down the Thames. If she could not move or speak, she would at least pay respect to her monarch.
Eventually, Christyne looked at Sara, who was lying on the floor, sweat running down her cheeks from her exertions. “YUllrrt,” she mumbled.
Very carefully, very slowly, Christyne pushed herself forward until she landed on the floor. As Diana looked on, she slowly shuffled herself towards the couch she was lying on, saying “cmvrrhr” to Sara as she did so. The younger girl nodded and started to slide herself across the floor, her t-shirt working out from under her skirt waistband as she did so.
Eventually she watched the couch, where Christyne was sitting with her back to her niece, her legs put to the side. “Pturhdnhr,” she mumbled as she nodded down to her lap, and with one last effort Sara pushed herself across the floor, laying her head on Christyne’s grey skirt.
“Wrttggfrnw,” the older woman said as she hummed to herself, looking from Diana to Sara and back again as the television coverage continued and the sounds of the party started to drift in through the closed curtains...