On A Summer’s Day
There was a gentle breeze in the air as the trio walked through the felids, just talking about their plans for the week leading up to the wedding. Holly was the bride to be, her long ash brown hair falling down her back and shoulders. She was wearing a white lace summer dress, held up by thin straps with a thin blue ribbon around her waist, and cork sandals.
Next to her was her mother, Ginny. Her greying hair was cut short, brushed back from her high forehead as she smiled. The white blouse she was wearing had the cuffs turned back slightly and buttoned in place, the open front showing the round necked blue top she was wearing underneath and the blouse knotted at her waist. A pair of light tan shorts and trainers completed her outfit.
As they walked through a field of large green and yellow plants, Holly’s sister Kate looked at them, and said “Hey – can I take a picture of you two?”
“Why now,” Ginny said as she looked at her daughter.
“It’s just – look, trust me on this. Holly, put your arms round mum’s neck, Mum put your arms round her waist.”
“All right – if you insist,” Holly said as she did so, and turned to smile at the camera as Ginny looked at her.
“Great – hold that pose and – got it!”
Kate smiled as she showed them the picture, and then looked at her watch.
“I need to get going, are you sure you don’t want a lift Sis?”
“Nope – Mum and I need to check the seating plans, and then she’ll drive me back into town,” they said as they turned and started to walk back towards the thatched cottage a short distance away.
As they walked into the back door, Kate grabbed her bag and coat, and said “Right – I’ll call you later, and see you tomorrow Holly.”
“Sure thing,” she said as they hugged each other, and Kate ran out of the front of the cottage. As she drove off, she looked in her rear view mirror, failing to notice the grey transit van as it slowed down.
“Well, I think that sorts out the seating arrangements,” Ginny said as she sat back, “how about a cup of tea?”
“Why don’t I make it,” Holly said as she stood up from the table, “and you can have a sit down in the front room.”
“All right then,” Ginny said with a smile as they left the room, Holly turning right and heading for the kitchen and Ginny walking to the front room. She stopped as she heard a knock on the front door, and made her way there instead, as Holly put the kettle on.
She opened some cupboards and found two cups and saucers, placing them on a tray before she found the tea caddy and a large brown earthenware teapot. She hummed quietly to herself as the kettle started to whistle, and she took it off the stand, putting some in the pot and swirling it round before she added several spoons of the dried leaves and filled the pot with hot water, stirring it before she put the lid on and went to replace the tea caddy in the cupboard.
“Beautifully made – but may I impose on you to find two more cups?”
Holly quickly turned to see a man, a little smaller than her, standing in the doorway and smiling. He was dressed in black – a roll neck sweater under a leather jacket, smart jeans and trainers, as well as leather gloves over his hands – one of which had a very real gun in it as he looked at Holly. His head was covered by a black balaclava, allowing only his blue eyes and his smiling mouth to be seen.
“Your mother is talking to my friend,” he said as he walked in, “and I said I would come and help you with the refreshments. So, can you find two more cups and saucers to place on the tray?”
“Ah – my apologies. Allow me to introduce myself - my name is Mister Small, and you have my personal guarantee that so long as you do what I say, neither you nor your charming mother have anything to fear from me or my friend. Now, shall you fetch the cups, or shall I?”
Holly stood still for a second more, but then returned to the cupboard and took out two more cups and saucers, placing them on the tray as the masked man opened the fridge and poured some milk into the jug already in place. Picking up the teapot, he said in his quiet, calm voice, “why don’t you carry the tray and I shall bring the tea.”
As they walked into the front room, Ginny gave a little smile and said “I’m sorry, Holly, we have some unexpected guests.”
“So I see,” Holly said as she laid the tray down and set the cups on saucers. A second man was in the room, dressed as the first in black, but he was at least a foot taller than the one now pouring tea through the strainer into the cups.
“You have already met my friend, Mister Small, but allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mister Tall – and you must be the blushing bride Holly. My congratulations on your upcoming nuptials.”
“Thanks – I’m sorry if this sounds rude, but why the hell are you in my mother’s house?”
“No, it’s a valid question,” Mister Tall replied as Mister Small handed Holly a cup of tea. “Together we are known as The Gentlemen Robbers – what does that suggest to you?”
“Oh – well, then it is rather obvious.”
“I’m sorry, Holly,” Ginny said as she accepted a cup, “they insisted I did not warn you.”
“But, on the other hand, we can sit and enjoy this tea – Orange Pekoe, from the aroma – before we have to be about our business. After all, nothing should interrupt a cup of tea – on which note, Mister Small, could you possibly ensure the telephone is disconnected before you have your cup?”
“OF course,” the shorter of the two men said as he left the room, and Mister Tall sipped gently from his cup.
“Ah – an excellent blend Ginny. Now, as my friend doubtless told you Holly, it is important that you do exactly what we say. I regret to say that, once we have enjoyed this drink, we must ensure you cannot raise the alarm, but we will make you as comfortable as possible when we do so.”
“Do we have a choice in the matter,” Ginny said as she put the cup to her lips.
“Regretfully, no. I will also have to ask you to accompany me on a tour of the cottage, in order to ensure we take nothing of sentimental value.”
Mister Small came in, and said “Your handbags ladies?”
“Mine is by the side of the chair – Holly?”
“In the kitchen – why?”
“All in good time,” Mister Small said as he opened Ginny’s bag, removed her mobile phone and extracted the battery, before putting both on the table. He then picked up the fourth cup and sipped the tea, smiling as he sat down.
“So, your wedding – plans all in place?”
“Yes,” Holly whispered as she looked at both of them. “Are you always like this?”
“Invariably – we find it puts those we call on much more at ease,” Mister Tall said as he put his cup down, and stood up, Holly looking at him as he smiled at her. “Now, I must with regret be about our business.”
He opened a large duffel bag and took out several lengths of rope, both women looking at each other as he selected one. “If you have finished your tea, Ginny, I require you to turn slightly and cross your wrists behind your back.”
“Please, don’t hurt her,” Holly said as Mister Tall knelt on one knee, and started to bind her mother’s wrists behind her back.
“Don’t worry Holly,” he said with a smile, “we do not hurt you, merely incapacitate you.” She watched as he wound the rope round, and then tied it off before saying “Does that hurt Ginny?”
“No – no it doesn’t,” Ginny said as she tried to move her arms, “but I don’t think I can separate them now.”
“Why don’t I show you Holly – please, place your cup on the table and put your own wrists behind your back.”
“It’s all right love,” Ginny said as Holly slowly placed her cup on the coffee table, and then moved her hands behind her back, Mister Tall moving behind her as he knelt and crossed her wrists. She could feel the rope rubbing on her bare skin as they were drawn tightly together, but it felt soft and not rough, especially as he took the rope around and between her arms before tying it off out of reach of her long fingers.
She tried to move her arms apart, but with little success as Mister Tall stood up and walked back to her mother, taking her arm and helping her to stand. “Will you be able to continue in here, Mister Small?”
“Of course,” the smaller of the men said as Ginny was escorted out of the front room, Holly watching as he took another length of rope and doubled it over. Kneeling in front of her, she watched as he crossed her ankles and started to bind them tightly together with the cords, taking it around and between her legs before he tied it off and tucked the ends into the bands of rope.
“So why do you do this,” Holly said as he selected another length of rope, doubled it over and started to bind her legs together below her knees.
“Well, I’m doing this to make it more difficult for you to move around and raise the alarm…”
“Not this,” Holly laughed. “Well, this is part of it, but why are you a burglar?”
“Oh – it’s a living, and I enjoy my work,” he said with a smile as he passed the rope between her legs, tightening the band even more, and then tied that off as well. Standing up, he returned to the bag and drew out a much longer length of rope, doubling it over before he passed it around her body and pulled it tight, forcing her arms into her sides as it sat below her chest.
“Is this absolutely necessary as well,” she said as he took the rope around her, above and below her chest, each pass making it tighter as she wriggled around.
“We do this for reasons of security, nothing more,” Mister Small said as he tied the ropes off behind her, and she looked down at her chest. She settled back in her seat, realising she was going nowhere for some time as Mister Small searched the room.
“So what happens when you leave,” she said as she looked at him.
“We will inform the authorities of your predicament in due course,” he said with a smile, “but be assured you will not be left in an uncomfortable position. On which note…”
He looked at the large chair she was sitting in, and then lifted her legs, bending them and tucking them to one side as she shuffled over on the seat. Taking a final length of rope, he tied her ankles to her chest ropes, so that she was resting in the chair.
“Ah good – I see you have made her comfortable.”
Holly looked over to see Mister Tall returning with her mother. He stooped down and picked up another longer length of rope, using it to bind Ginny’s arms to her side as he said “Would you please search the downstairs rooms Mister Small – and take care not to disturb the seating plan in the back room?”
“are you all right Holly,” Ginny said as she felt her arms being forced into her sides, her chest being forced out as it pushed her blouse to the side.
“Yeah – please tell me they left them?”
“We are not taking the pearls – you will have them for your wedding,” Mister Tall said as he tied the ropes off, and helped Ginny to lie on her back on the long couch, Holly watching as he removed her trainers, crossed her ankles and started to tie them together.
“Well, they have at least kept their word about not hurting us,” Holly said as she watched the tall masked intruder bind her mother’s ankles and legs, before gently rolling he rover and placing a cushion under her head.
“Now,” he said, “with deep regret we must take steps to ensure you cannot raise the alarm vocally. Do either of you suffer from asthma or breathing difficulties?”
The two women looked at each other and shook their heads as Mister Tall picked up two large cotton hankies from the bag. “Excellent – please, Ginny, open your mouth as wide as you can.”
“Whtffrmmmm” Ginny’s question was cut off as he pushed the cloth gently into her mouth, and then rolled a large black silk headsquare into a band, tying a knot in the middle before he pushed the knot between her teeth, and tied the band tightly around her head, the ends and knot sitting at the base of her neck.
“Your turn, my dear,” he said, Holly nodding as she allowed herself to be gagged in the same manner, a blue silk square being used in her case.
“Search completed Mister Tall – shall I clear up?”
“Please do,” the taller man said as the tea pot and cups were cleared away – and a few moments later, both women were surprised to hear the sound of the dishwasher starting.
“Well, it has been a pleasure to meet both of you,” Mister Tall said as he picked up the duffle bag, and deposited a small rucksack inside as Mister Small came in, “but I regret the time for our visit has passed. The Gentlemen Robbers bid you both Adieu – may we never meet again.”
The two masked men left, the sound of a vehicle driving off soon replaced by the chirping of the birds outside, and the sun starting to shine through the closed curtains. Holly and Ginny looked at each other, unable to get loose, their only hope in a quick rescue.
As the time passed, and the stain in the blue silk in Holly’s mouth growing larger and darker, she tried to wriggle round.
“Dntt-ullhrturslf,” her mother said as she looked over. “Jstbgrrtfflwnhrmd.”
Holly nodded, closing her eyes and allowing herself to dream of a rescuer, her husband to be coming in to save the day…