What If… Barbie
This is (hopefully) the first of a series of stories where my characters meet with some they should not meet with – as you will see…
The two men sat in their small van at the bottom of the road, looking up the long driveway at the single storey house standing on the small hill.
“This is truly not our usual type of visit,” the smaller of the two said as he looked up.
“Indeed – personally, I would rather not visit a family,” the taller of the two men said, “but the commission is explicit, so I propose we approach with our usual grace and discretion, and make sure nobody gets hurt.”
“But of course – shall we?”
“Skipper! Stacie! Chelsea!”
As Margaret Roberts called out from the front room, she heard a young voice say “yeah, Mom?”
“Lunch in Thirty.”
“Okay,” the voice called back as Margaret went back into the room. The forty-five year old was wearing a long sleeved white blouse with a large grey and pink check, blue jeans and grey trainers with a purple front, her greying blonde hair in a bun on her head.
“What do you think they are doing?”
“If I knew the answer to that, I would be a happy mother,” Margaret said as she looked at her oldest daughter. The twenty one year old blonde was wearing a denim dress, with short sleeves and a red and white belt round her waist, and white shoes with a purple panel at the front. “Anyway…”
The ring of the front doorbell made Margaret look round, before she said “hold that thought – let me see who that is,” before she turned and walked to the glass door. Through the opaque glass, she could see two figures standing outside, but she was confident it was just some salesmen, as she opened the door and said “Hello, how can…”
“Good afternoon, Mrs Roberts,” the taller of the two men standing there said, “please, allow us to enter, and try not to raise your voice. We find it is generally better to start with a calm approach, true?”
Margaret nodded slowly as she stood back, and allowed the two men to come in. They were identically dressed – black leather jackets over jumpers, trousers, shoes, gloves – and balaclava masks that only allowed her to see their eyes and mouths. The most striking thing about them, to her, was the height difference – the one holding the gun pointed at her was a foot or so taller than his partner, who closed the door and stood with a large bag in his hand.
“Introductions in a moment,” the taller of the two men said, “shall we head into your front room, so you may close the curtains and prevent prying eyes from looking in.”
She nodded slowly as thy walked in, Barbara looking up and saying “oh my god…”
“Good afternoon – Mister Small, would you ensure Mrs Roberts does as we asked – or may we call you Margaret? And you are?”
“Barbara,” the blonde said quietly.
“Barbara Roberts – forgive me, but are you…”
“Yes – what are you going to do? What about… Oh no…”
“One thing at a time, Barbara,” Mister Tall said quietly, “or do you prefer Barbie? Mister Small, the bag, if you please?”
“Of course Mister Tall,” the smaller masked man said as he put the bag down, then took the gun from him and stood with Margaret as his partner opened the bag, and took out a length of brown rope. “Please, Barbie, stand and turn round – it is necessary for us to secure you. And no loud noises – we will talk to your delightful sisters in due course.”
Barbie slowly nodded as she complied, her mother watching as the tall masked intruder doubled the rope over, crossed the younger woman’s wrists behind her back, and then bound them tightly together, taking the rope around and between her arms as he did so. He then retrieved a longer length of rope, doubled it over, and bound it round Barbie’s upper body and arms, forcing them into her sides as the bands framed her chest.
“Mom – the girls…”
“I… I’ll explain what is happening to them,” Margaret said as Mister Small put the gun in sight of both of them, before taking more rope from the bag and guiding her hands behind her back. She felt the rope rubbing on her bare wrists as Mister Tall knelt down and bound her daughter’s ankles tightly together, and then her legs below her knees, each band cinched with the rope between her legs.
“Now – you will need to remain here while we go with your mother – but be assured, although we are going to make sure your sisters are as secured as you are, they will come to no harm so long as they do as we ask.”
“Oh, I think they will do if Mom tells them,” Barbie said as she twisted round, the ropes holding her limbs tightly in place, “but what’s going to stop me calling for help?”
“I am so glad you asked,” Mister Tall said as he took from the bag a large white cloth, and folded it into a pad. “Open your mouth, please.”
“Just do what they say,” Margaret said, Barbie nodding as she felt the cloth on her tongue, filling her mouth behind her teeth as Mister Tall pushed it in. He then tore a strip of white tape from a roll, and pressed it down over her mouth, sealing her lips as Margaret said “just stay there darling?”
“Hkkhhmhmmm,” Barbie nodded as Mister Small picked up the bag, and she saw the way the bands of rope now framed her mother’s chest as well. The two masked men then escorted Margaret down the corridor before they stopped at a door, Mister Tall nodding on it.
“Skipper, I need to see you girls for a minute.”
“Okay,” the voice said as the door opened, and a fourteen year old girl appeared, her light brown hair pulled back in a ponytail on the top of her head. She was wearing a short green jacket with white stripes over a yellow and white striped t-shirt, blue denim shorts, and white trainers with green flashes. She looked at Margaret, then at the two masked men, before Mister Tall said “hello – will you allow us to enter your room please?”
“Do what he says, Skipper,” Margaret said as she walked backwards, looking at them as they came in and saw the other two girls. One was eleven years old, a purple streak in her dark hair, and wearing a cap sleeved top in black with blue trim and a pink top area, the black covered in coloured stars, purple leggings that came to just below her knees, and a pair of high boots with white wedge soles, made of pink cloth with blue trim.
The other girl was about six years old, wearing a whit t-shirt with pale blue trim and a pale blue picture of an atom on the front, a pink skirt over pale blue leggings that also came to just below her knees, and white sneakers with pink trim.
“Hello girls,” Mister Tall said as she looked at them, “I know you are Skipper, but what do we call you two?”
“I’m Chelsea,” the youngest girl said, her blonde hair in two pigtails, “and this is Stacie. Who are you – and why does Mommy have rope round her body?”
“Two exceptionally good questions – I am Mister Tall, and this is my friend Mister Small. And your mother had the rope round her body because we are robbers – and you are all going to have to be like your mother and sister in a few minutes.”
“Please, Stacie, do not shout – it is not the right thing to do,” Mister Small said with a smile.
“And what is the right thing to do,” Skipper asked quietly.
“For now, for the three of you to kneel in front of the bed,” Mister Small said as he looked at the iron bed, with the pink sheets and the white duvet with pink spots. He also looked at the pictures on the wall, before he said “you have a lovely bedroom, Chelsea.”
“How did you know this was my room?”
“An educated guess – would you mind if you and your sisters stayed in here for a while?” As she shook her head, Margaret said “do what the man says, girls – kneel down, facing the bed.”
“Okay,” Stacie said as she did so, followed by her sisters, before she looked round and saw Mister Small remove ropes from the bag. He knelt behind Skipper and guided her arms behind her back, then lashed the rope tightly round her wrists.
“Does it have to be so tight,” she said as she looked over her shoulder.
“IT does – so you do not hurt yourself,” Mister Small said as he moved to bind Stacie’s wrists together, and then Chelsea’s as she stared at the wall.
“It’s not so bad,” she said as he pulled the rope between her wrists to hold them tightly together, and then tied the ends off.
“It can be fun,” Mister Tall said as he looked at the girls. “Now, my friend is going to tie some rope round your arms and body, like your mother, and when he is done I want you to stand up and it on the bed, all right?”
Skipper nodded as she felt the rope forcing her arms into her sides, opening her jacket up as it formed two bands, and then grunted as it was tied off before she stood up, turned round and sat on the bed, looking at the teddy bear tucked under the covers. She then watched the masked man as he tied Stacie, the bands of rope rubbing on her bare arms before she joined her, and then at Chelsea before she pushed herself onto the bed.
“Why can’t we hear Barbie, Mom,” she said as she wriggled round.
“Well, she has something stopping her talking,” Margaret said as Mister Small began to bind Chelsea’s ankles together with more rope, and then tied her legs together below her knees, the rope sitting on her leggings.
“Let me show you,” Mister Tall said as he folded a cloth, and said “open your mouth as wide as you can, young Chelsea?”
“Oh – so thsthhhhw,” she mumbled as he pushed the cloth in, and then tore a strip of white tape off before he pressed it down over her lips. He then folded a white scarf in half along the diagonal, and tied it round her head to over the tape, the end over her chin as she looked round.
“You look like Nancy Drew now,” Stacie laughed as Chelsea nodded – and then she was silenced in the same way as Mister Small moved on to bind Skipper’s legs and ankles.
“Now, you three stay here on the bed,” Margaret said as she watched the oldest sister being gagged as well, “and we will talk about this later.”
“Mister Small, will you search the rest of the house please, and check in regularly on the girls, while I take Margaret to the master bedroom.”
“Of course,” the smaller of the two masked men said as the girls watched them leaving the room, Skipper wiggling round as she tried to loosen the ropes.
“UHhhrrhvhrrenhssrhllhh,” Chelsea said as she looked at Mister Small.
“Thank you,” he said with a smile as he left them alone…
“You have my jewellery,” Margaret said as she sat on the bed, watching Mister Tall open the drawers, “what else do you want?”
“Where is your laptop?”
“In the bag, there – why?”
“Forgive me,” he said as he opened the bag, and took out a selection of USB sticks, “we will be taking these as well.”
“Why? There’s just… Oh.
“Precisely,” Mister Tall said as he produced a cloth and folded it into a pad, “and now, it is time for you to join your oldest daughter – regretfully, silently.”
“I should have seen this coming,” she said with a sigh before she opened her mouth and felt the sloth pressing her tongue down, the tape tugging on the skin round her mouth as it was pressed into place, and then the white cloth round her head as the detective gag was added. Mister Tall then helped her to stand, and walked her down the corridor to look in Chelsea’s room.
“Whrrhffnnmhmm,” Skipper said as the other two nodded, and then she was walked back into the front room, raising an eyebrow as she looked at her oldest daughter. Barbie nodded back, the white cloth round her head a swell as an extra layer to her gag, before she watched Margaret sit next to her, and then the ropes as her ankles and legs were secured.
“Well, we thank you for your cooperation,” Mister Tall said as Mister Small put the ropes back into the back. “The Gentlemen Robbers bid you adieu – may we never meet again!”
Margaret nodded as the tow men left, both the women listening for a while before they turned back to back, wriggling round as they tried to untie each other. They then looked to the door as the other three girls jumped in, their gags still firmly in place as they sat themselves on the floor.
“Nthfrrhnfhrrhr,” Margaret said as she realised they were stuck like this – for now…