Unauthorized Absence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Coffee?”

 

“Thank you – remind me again why we need such an early start?”

 

“Well – the lady of the house, Tamara Drew, is the CEO of a reasonably large company in the local area, while her husband is a stockbroker in the city.  As a result, they are a family of some wealth and taste – but we also have the side commission for this family that we have been asked to take care of.”

 

“Fair enough – although I have to say I am not too happy about one aspect of this particular visit.”

 

“If truth be told, neither am I – but with care and consideration, it should not be too traumatic an event for the people concerned.”

 

“In other words, do what we do best?”

 

“Precisely – I see it is seven forty-five.  Drink up – we really should announce our presence before the morning rush begins…”

 

 

 

“Come on you two – Molly will be here in a few minutes and we need to get going.”

 

“Why can’t we take our own car, Mum,” Stephen Drew said as he came down the stairs.  The ten-year-old was wearing a short sleeved white shirt with blue stripe details, knee length shorts which had blue and white stripes, and blue Crocs on his feet.

 

“Because it is getting repaired,” Tamara Drew said as she came out of the front room.  She had long blonde hair, and was wearing a grey trouser suit over a white top.  It was a tight-fitting suit, with pants more like leggings, and a single button fastening the front.  Her feet were in a pair of soft leather high heel shoes.

 

“Okay then,” Stephen said as he slipped on a blue rucksack.  As he did this, his eight-year-old brother Eric came down the stairs.  The younger boy was wearing a short sleeved red check shirt over a white t-shirt, knee length blue denim shorts, and green Crocs.  He also had a green rucksack on, the clasp closed over his chest as Stephen did the same for his.

 

“That will be her now,” Tamara said as she heard the front doorbell ring.  Picking up her slipcase and making sure her handbag was over her shoulder, she opened the door, expecting to see her PA.

 

“Good morning Mrs Drew – forgive us, but we would ask you to step back inside, and raise your hands in the air.”

 

“Mum, what’s going on,” Stephen said as he watched his mother walk back in, followed by two men.  They were identically dressed – black leather jackets over roll neck sweaters, pants, shoes, leather gloves on their hands – and black balaclavas over their heads so the boys could only see their eyes and mouths.

 

“What…  Who…”

 

Eric could not take his eyes off the two men – one was carrying a large holdall, and stood a good foot smaller than the one who had a gun in his hand, pointing it at his mother.

 

The smaller of the two men looked at the boys, and smiled as he said “I presume you are Stephen and Eric?”  When they nodded, he said “It is a real pleasure to meet both of you.  You can call me Mister Small - and my friend here is Mister Tall.”

 

“You’re joking!”

 

“No, I am not joking, Eric – they are our names.  And I have some news for both of you – today you will not be going to school.”

 

“Yes they are,” Tamara said, “because you are both going to turn round, walk out of her, and we forget this ever happened.”

 

“My dear Mrs Drew,” Mister Tall said quietly, “I think you may also have to reconsider your plans for today, because we are here now – and we are not leaving until we have completed the task that we need to undertake.  Please, remember who is in the room, and think of what you are saying.”

 

Tamara looked at her two boys, and then said “all right – so long as you swear nobody is going to get hurt.  I don’t like it one bit, but I don’t have a choice, do I?”

 

“No – No, I am afraid you do not, and it will be much better all round fi you accept that.”  Looking at the boys, he smiled as he said “today is going to be a different day for you and your mother – but you will have a special tale to tell your friends at school tomorrow.  First, however, I need your mother to hand her slipcase and handbag to my friend Mister Small.”

 

“Are you robbers?” Stephen finally said.

 

“Yes, we are – but we gentlemen first and foremost, young Stephen, so do as we ask, and all will be well.  Mrs Drew?”

 

Tamara slowly nodded as she handed her slipcase over, and then her handbag to the smaller of the two men.  Mister Small walked into the main room as Mister Tall said “why don’t we all go in and have a seat – boys, you may take your rucksacks off and hand them to Mister Small when we go in.  I promise, he will not open them or take anything from them.”

 

The boys looked at each other, and then followed the masked man and their mother into the front room, handing their rucksacks to Mister Small as they went in.

 

“Thank you, boys – would you please now pull the curtains closed over the windows, and then I want you to sit on the couch in front of the television, hands where we can see them.”

 

“Look, take what you want,” Tamara finally said as she watched Mister Small take her mobile phone and put it in his pocket, “just don’t hurt them.”

 

“WE will be all right Mum,” Eric said as they pulled the curtains closed, and then sat down.  “it’s actually exciting.”

 

“If you’re really robbers, does that mean you have to tie us up,” Stephen said as he looked at them.

 

“Yes we do,” Mister Tall said with a smile as Mister Tall opened the bag he had brought in, “and I think it’s only right and proper we start now.  Watch what /I do with your mother – may I call you Tamara, Mrs Drew?”

 

“Why not – you’re in charge anyway.”  Mister Tall let the comment pass as he gently took Tamara’s hands behind her back, and then accepted the rope, the boys watching as he made sure her wrists were firmly secured together.

 

“Why don’t you come over boys,” he said as he tied the ends off, “see how we have made sure your mother’s wrists stay where we want them to be.”  He watched as Stephen and Eric slowly walked over and behind their mother, Tamara looking over her shoulder as she wriggled her fingers.

 

“Does it hurt, Mum?”

 

“No – it doesn’t actually, which surprises me.  It’s tight though.”

 

“So, boys, stand in front of your mother, and then put your own hands behind your back – Mister Small is going to make sure your wrists are just as firmly secured as those of your mother.”

 

Tamara watched as Mister Small brought over two lengths of rope, doubling one over and putting own down before he crossed Eric’s wrists behind his back.  He felt the soft rope as it was wound round his arms and then how tight it was as the masked robber took the rope around and between her limbs.  It was tight – but his mother was right, it didn’t hurt, and as Mister Small tied the ends off he wriggled his own fingers.

 

“Cool – it really does feel all right Stephen,” he said as he watched Mister Small pick up the second length of rope, and then use it to bind his older brother’s wrists together behind his back.

 

“Yeah - it is cool,” he said as he twisted round – but then there was the sound of the doorbell.

 

“I need you both to be vary quiet, boys,” Mister Small said as Mister Tall took Tamara out to the hallway, and then opened the door as she looked round.

 

 “Hey Boss – I thought you would be out of the house with the boys by now.  Is everything all right?”

 

“Molly – look, it’s just…”

 

“Invite her in.”

 

“Who’s there with you boss,” the voice said before a young woman with long blonde hair came in.  She was wearing a white blouse under a tight black jacket, fastened with a single button, and a matching knee length skirt.  As she came in, she looked at Tamara – and then as the door closed she saw the masked and armed man next to her.

 

“Oh…  Have I walked into a robbery?”

 

“Yeah, I’m afraid you have Molly – this is Mister Tall.  Mister Tall, Molly Weir, my PA.”

 

“The pleasure is all mine Molly,” Mister Tall said as he inclined his head.  “I have to ask you to leave your handbag, with your phone, on the floor and place your hands on your head, before we all return o where Tamara’s boys are sitting with my partner.  Shall we?”

 

“Do as he says Molly,” Tamara said, her assistant nodding as she slowly put her bag on the floor, and then walked into the room with her hands on her head.

 

“Hey Molly – look at what’s happened to us!”

 

“So I see, Molly said as she saw Stephen and Eric sitting on a couch, their hands behind their back.  She also saw the smaller masked man, who looked round as she said “Ah – an additional guest, Mister Tall.”

 

“Indeed Mister Small – would you go out and ensure the telephone is disconnected and all mobile phones disabled – but leave the internet connected.”

 

“Oh?”

 

“It is a school day – best the boys learn something this morning, no?”

 

“Awww…”

 

Tamara had to smile at the reaction of her sons as Molly looked at them.

 

“They’re upset?”

 

“A perfectly natural reaction for boys of their age,” Mister Tall said as he selected a length of white rope from the bag, and took Molly’s hands behind her back.  She felt the way they were being bound, as she said “so what’s going on?”

 

“We’re not going to work, they are not going to school, and I am not going to have some of jewellery by the end of this,” Tamara said quietly as she looked at her assistant.  “After that, who knows?”

 

“When does Charles get home?”

 

“Late tonight – so I hope they leave us – entertained,” Tamara said as she watched Mister Small come in, and take more ropes from the bag before he knelt in front of Stephen and Eric.

 

“All right, my fine young gentlemen,” he said with a smile, “time to make sure your ankles and legs are nice and tightly secured.”

 

“Will Molly and Mummy be like us,” Eric said as he saw the masked man wrap the rope round his ankles and then gently bring them together.

 

“Oh yes – I guarantee they will be,” Mister Small said with a smile as Mister Tall tied the ends of the rope round Molly’s wrists off, and then took a longer length of rope, doubling it over and passing it round her before he pulled it tighter.  Stephen could not take his eyes off her as the ropes were tightened, forcing her jacket open as her arms were forced against her sides.  He barely felt the rope as his own ankles were bound, but he did look down when Mister Small brought his leg together below his knees.

 

“Think clean thoughts,” the masked man said, Eric giggling as he watched the way his brother’s legs had been secured together – and then felt the soft rope around his own legs below his knees.

 

Mister Tall smiled as he said “be seated Molly – I need to take care of your boss,” and then used another long length of rope to secure Tamara’s arms to her sides, making sure it was as tight as he had been before.

 

“Hey – are you all right,” Eric said as he nudged his brother.

 

“Yeah – Molly does that hurt?”

 

“Not really, no – it’s just tight and I can’t move.  Why?”

 

“I was wondering if they were going to do that to us as well…”

 

“All in due course, young man,” Mister Tall said as he stood up, and turned the television on.  “First, as you are not at school, a history lesson should be in order.”

 

“Oh please, no…”

 

“Stephen, if he says you will learn, you will learn.”

 

The two boys shook their heads, and then smiled as Mister Small started to show the first episode of Horrible Histories.

 

“I’ll make sure they are all right,” Molly said as Mister Tall looked at them.

 

“Excellent – come with me please Tamara,” he said as he led her out of the room.

 

“Can I have a drink please?”

 

“Of course you may – don’t move,” Mister Tall said as he left the room as well, before Molly said “You are both being very brave.”

 

“Are we?”  Eric looked at her and said “I think we are as well.”

 

“Does it feel really tight, those ropes?”

 

Molly looked at Charlie and nodded as she said “yes it is – and I get the feeling he is going to tie the ropes round your arms as well, so be ready.”

 

“It sure looks nice on you…”

 

Molly blushed as she said “thank you Stephen – I guess it does make me look different…”

 

“What does,” Mister Small said as he returned with two glasses of squash, a straw in each glass.

 

“Stephen was saying I look nice like this.”

 

Raising an eyebrow, Mister Small held the glass to allow Stephen to take a drink, and whispered “you have to be a gentleman as well, young one – whatever you may think of how a lady looks, show her respect.”

 

“Mister Robber?”

 

“You may call me Mister Small Eric – but what is it?”

 

“I don’t understand something – the news says robbers are bad, but you are nice to us.  Why?”

 

“Because we are who we are, Eric – are you ready for a drink?”

 

 

 

“You are who you are?”

 

“Indeed,” Mister Tall said as the safe door opened.  Tamara was sitting no her bed, her legs crossed as she wriggled round in the tight ropes.  “Tell me Tamara – are you scared of us?”

 

“I should be – but no, I’m not.  Why?”

 

“Perhaps,” Mister Tall said as he opened a case with pearls inside, and put the string into a velvet sack, “perhaps because we have not done anything to you to make you fear us.”

 

“Err…  Tied up, my sons and my pa probably even more tightly tied downstairs?”

 

“And yet, you do not fear us, do you?”

 

Tamara looked at the masked man, as he continued to empty her valuables into her bag, and twisted round a little more before she said “no – no I don’t.  In a funny way, I respect you.”

 

“I can ask for no more than that – I will avail myself of these as well,” Mister Tall said as he put several rolls of banknotes into his bag, and closed the door of the safe.  “Now, why don’t you tell me where else you have valuables?”

 

“Top drawer – so what happens when we are finished in here?”

 

“We go downstairs – I am sure your sons wish to be with you – and make sure nobody can raise the alarm before we depart.”

 

“I suppose I can ask no more than that…”

 

 

Molly watched as Mister Small doubled over the longer length of rope, and then passed it round Stephen’s body, pulling it tight over his stomach as his arms were pressed against the sides of his body before he took it round his upper arms.

 

“It does feel as if Mummy is hugging me and not letting go,” Stephen said as he looked over at Molly.

 

“See – I told you it wasn’t so bad,” the young woman said, wanting to keep the spirits of the boys up as they were further bound.  Eric watched as Mister Small formed two bands of rope round his brother’s body, and then fed the rope under one arm, up and around the back of his neck, and under the other arm.

 

“See – just like me.”

 

Stephen nodded, biting his lower lip as he wondered why he was feeling some of the things he was feeling.  It was so different – all over his body he was tingling.

 

“My turn?”

 

“Your turn, young Eric,” Mister Small said as he fetched more rope, and Eric felt the band pulling his arms gently against his sides as his upper body was secured in the same way.  He focused on the screen, as another episode of Horrible Histories started, feeling the ropes getting tighter and tighter round him.

 

“Hmmmm…”

 

“IS something wrong?”

 

“No,” Eric whispered as he felt the ropes tightening, and then Mister Small securing the ends behind his back, “nothing is wrong…”

 

“Ah – are you all right?”

 

“The boys are fine Tamara,” Molly said quietly, “and I will cope.”

 

“They have been perfect hosts, Mister Tall,” Mister Small said as he came back from the kitchen.  “Please take a seat Tamara – Mister Tall will secure your legs before we move to the next stage.”

 

“Well, I was expecting this,” Tamara said, “but we will all be the same at least.”  She sat in an armchair as Mister Tall selected two more lengths of rope, and then sat down, doubling one length over and passing it round her ankles before bringing them together.

 

“IT feels nice, Mummy,” Eric said as Tamara watched he way the rope went round and between her legs.  Mister Tall tied the ends off, and then passed the second length around her legs below her knees, bringing them together there as well.

 

“It does, doesn’t it?  So what have you learned?”

 

“We can sing some of the songs,” Stephen said as he wriggled, the ropes rubbing on his arms.

 

“At the moment at least,” Mister Small said as he looked in the bag.

 

“Does that mean you have to…”

 

“I do – but as with the ropes, I promise you it does not hurt.  We will then make it more difficult for you boys to get off the couch, and your mother and Molly to move at all.”

 

Eric and Stephen looked at each other, as Mister Small brought over a bag with four white cloths in it, and a roll of white tape.  Tamara looked over, and said “can I say something?”

 

“Of course.”

 

“Boys,” Tamara said as she looked at Stephen and Eric, “we won’t be able to talk for a while, so I want you to remain calm, and watch the television.  Hopefully, someone will come to get us free soon.”

 

“Okay Mummy,” Eric said as Mister Small folded one of the cloths, and said to Stephen “open your mouth please.”   He nodded and opened his mouth wide, feeling the cloth on his tongue as it was pushed in, then closing his lips together as he heard the peeling sound of the tape coming away from the roll.  The tug on his skin as the tape was smoothed over his mouth was he wondered what the others would think.

 

“I can see your lips,” Eric giggled – and then he felt the cloth in his own mouth, puffing out his cheeks before Mister Small covered his own mouth with the white tape.

 

“Eric?  Stephen?”

 

“Hmmfhnnmhm,” Stephen said as the tingling in his body seemed to grow stronger.  He was helpless, his brother was helpless – and soon his mother and Molly would be as well…”

 

Mister Small then bent Stephen’s legs so they were to his side, removing his crocs as he did so, while Mister Tall folded a cloth and looked at Molly.

 

“I’ll have to explain this to the boss – oh wait, you know what’s going on.”

 

“Yeah,” Tamara said with a smile, “we’ll talk about it later.”  She watched as the cloth was pushed into the young assistant’s mouth, and then the white tape smoothed down over her lips, covering her chin from ear to ear.

 

“Thank you for being so kind.”

 

“Our pleasure – ready?”

 

Tamara nodded as the cloth and tape was used to gag her as well, before Mister Tall helped her to lie face down no the floor, the boys watching as he pulled her ankles back and then secured them to the ropes round her chest.  Eric then felt the tug on his ankles, and turned his head to see Mister Small tying more rope between his ankles, and then securing the other end to the ropes round his own upper body.

 

Stephen let out a soft grunt as his own ankles were tied to his chest ropes, Tamara rolling onto her side and watching as Molly was helped to lie next to her, then hogtied in the same way as Mister Small collected the items and put them in his bag.

 

“I think out business here is concluded Mister Tall.”

 

“Indeed Mister Small,” the taller of the masked men said as they both stood in the doorway.  “The Gentlemen Robbers bid you all adieu – may we never meet again.”

 

Tamara role dove and watched the two men as they left, and then started to struggle, the button of her jacket coming undone but little else.  Molly was twisting round as well, as Eric watched yet another episode of Horrible Histories start.

 

Stephen could not take his eyes off Molly and his mother – there was something stirring inside him, something nice, but different…

 

Tamara rolled over and looked at the boys, saying “Uhhrhlrhtt?”

 

“Thssmhmhm,” Eric said, Stephen nodding as he wondered what was happening to him.  He liked it, but it felt so wrong…

 

 

 

 

As the taxi came to a halt outside his house, Alasdair Gray looked at the front door.  It was closed, everything seemed all right – but when the school had called him to ask why the boys had not arrived, and then he had discovered that his wife had not turned up at work, he had cut short a meeting and come back as quickly as he could.

 

“thanks,” he said as he paid the driver and got out, walking up to the front door and opening it.

 

“Tammy?  It’s Ally – are you in the house?”

 

He could hear some muffled noises, but nothing distinct as he walked to the front room.

 

“Tamara?”

 

“HFHNHKGHD!”

 

He stopped and stared at his wife, lying no the floor with her jacket open and off her shoulders, tightly hogtied and with white tape over her mouth.  He also saw Molly as she rolled over and looked at him, bound and gagged in the same way – and then saw Stephen and Eric sitting on the couch, just as tightly gagged and bound.

 

“Hlldhdhddhee – nhsrhbbhrschmthdeehhe”

 

“Hnddwhmhsshdschl,” Eric said as well, “whhffhsfhn.”

 

Kneeling down, he peeled the white tape away from Tamara’s lips, and then eased out the soaking wet cloth from her mouth as she coughed.

 

“We…  We’ve been robbed…  Call the police, then get us free…”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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