Ladybird, ladybird, why do you sigh?
Is it because your love has waved you goodbye?
Ladybird, Ladybird, don’t feel so blue,
Tomorrow will be so much better for you.
The studio audience grinned and clapped along as The Angels sang their latest hit, moving in perfect synchronicity with each other as they stood behind the microphones. On the left was Bobbi, with her short blonde hair hidden under a red beret. Her mini dress was of the same colour, with a square neckline, and she was wearing a pair of cream coloured suede boots.
In the centre was Roxanne, with her blonde hair falling down over the shoulders of her mustard coloured dress. She was wearing a pair of flat soled chocolate brown suede boots, while next to her Pammy had on a purple minidress and patent leather black boots, her long red hair held back by a thin purple scarf.
As they turned and dipped at the end of the song, the audience broke out in wild applause, all three smiling as the presenter said “Ladies and Gentlemen, The Angels!”
They waved as they walked off the stage, and into their dressing room, Pammy closing the door before she collapsed into a large inflatable chair.
“I am SO glad that’s done with,” she said with a sigh, “at least we have the day off tomorrow.”
“Yeah – to travel all the way up to Glasgow by car,” Bobbi said as she started to remove her make up, “BOR-ING!”
“Why on earth couldn’t we go by train,” Roxanne said quietly.
“Ask the boss – if he ever turns up tonight,” Bobbi said as she stood up, “right now, let’s get the car back to the hotel and try to get some sleep – if we need to drive up, we need to be on the road by seven tomorrow morning.”
“There you are,” Craig said as the three women came into the hotel lobby, a porter pushing a trolley with their cases behind them. Bobbi was wearing a pale blue jacket and pants, with white ankle boots, and a matching beret. Roxanne had on a white jersey and black trousers, with black heels, while Pammy was wearing a red mini skirt and black jumper, with short red boots.
“Come on you three – in the car, let’s get going,” Craig said as he shooed them out to the waiting Jag, the porter putting the cases into his own car, “up the A1 and then across country.”
“Oh deep deep joy,” Bobbi said as they sat in the back of the car, and headed off. Craig started his car and followed, smiling to himself as they headed for the Great North Road.
Two hours later, the quartet were sitting in a roadside cafe, drinking coffee as the driver went to make a phone call.
“Where are we going to stop for lunch,” Roxanne asked.
“I know this place in Wet herby – if we can get there by twelve, we’ll eat there,” Craig said as the driver came back. “So drink up – we’ll be on our way again.”
As the girls sat in the back of the car, and moved off, Bobbi said “Can you put up the privacy screen please?”
“Of course, Madame,” the driver said as the clear screen slid up behind his head.
“Does Craig seem all right to you today?”
“What, apart from the fact he detests driving as much as we do?”
“Yes, apart from that Roxanne,” Bobbi said as she rolled her eyes. “He looks as if he has something on his mind.”
“Not that I noticed,” Pammy said as the car moved to the left. “Hang on – why are we leaving the main road?”
Roxanne looked round and said “I have no idea – driver, where...”
She stopped talking as she heard the hissing sound, and a cloud of what looked like steam started to fill the rear of the car. Bobbi instinctively went to wind a window down, but the handle just turned uselessly in her hand as the gas rose up, and the three girls started to cough.
“What... Wha’s gonnnn onnnnn,” Roxanne said as her eyelids fluttered, and her head fell forward, the other two slumping in their seats as the gas slowly sent them into a deep deep sleep...
Bobbi slowly opened her eyes, the fog that was permeating her mind slowly clearing as she allowed herself to come to. The last thing she remembered was the fog in the back of the car, after she said that Craig was acting strangely, and now...
She tried to move her arms, and realised something was holding them together behind her back – which would explain the numbness in her right arm. Taking a moment to close her eyes, she felt with her long fingers, and realised there was some sort of rope wrapped around and between her wrists, tied with a knot she could not quite reach.
“Okay,” she thought to herself, “let’s review. Someone gassed us, and my hands are behind my back. I feel like my mouth is full of cotton wool as well.”
She tried to say “Hello,” but all she heard was “Hlllooo?”
“I guess my mouth is full of something,” she said as she opened her eyes and looked down, seeing the bands of rope around her legs and her ankles, and then closed them again. “Tied up, gagged – I’ve been kidnapped. Okay.”
She lay there for a moment, before she opened her eyes wide and sat quickly up.
“VEBBBNKDNPPDDDD!” she called out as she wriggled round, now feeling the rope round her waist as well. The room had a small occasional table, with a mirror on it, and in the reflection she could see the white scarf that was tied over her mouth.
Bobbi stopped struggling for a moment, calming herself down and allowing herself to take in her surroundings. It was a room with a bed and the table, and not a lot else – save for the heavy wooden door that had a grill in the top half. She caught a glimpse of a heavily bearded face looking in, and then nothing.
“Right,” she said to herself as she looked round, “I’m tied up, gagged, and I have no idea where the other two girls are. If this is Craig’s fault, I am so going to kill him...”
Pammy raised her head and looked round, her vision slowly clearing as she did so. She was sat in an old wooden chair, and as her vision slowly cleared she saw she was in what appeared to be the drawing room of a house, dust covers over most of the furniture. Something was pulling at the skin over her mouth, as well as her wrists, and her legs felt strangely stiff.
As she opened her eyes again, she saw the reason for the tugging on her wrists – the wide band of silver tape that held her wrists down to the arms of the chair she was sitting in.
Slowly raising her legs, she saw more bands around her ankles and her legs, below and above her knees, and realised that not only was she bound with the tape, the tugging on the skin around her mouth almost certainly meant she was also gagged with it.
She stamped her feet up and down and tried to pull her hands free, but it was to no avail – the tape stretched a little, but was both too tightly and too thickly wound round her, as she threw her head round in frustration and anger.
Which was the exact moment something else occurred to Pammy. Where were Bobbi and Roxanne?
Roxanne screamed through the thick white cloth that had been pulled between her lips, her jaws aching as her teeth bit down on the increasingly large grey and damp patch in her mouth. Her arms were raised above her head, and secured to a pipe running about a foot above her bound wrists, while her ankles and knees were secured with more rope.
She had seen the same bearded man walk past at least twice, totally ignoring her, despite her screams and calls. As she tugged down on the pipe, however, she heard a slight creaking, and looking up she saw the pipe had bent slightly, the joint a little loose.
“Hmmm,” she thought to herself, “the question is – what’s in that pipe?” She looked round, and slowly pulled down, stopping each time the pipe grated and waiting to see if someone would come.
Eventually, she closed her eyes, said a silent prayer and pulled hard, falling to the side as the pipe gave way, and as the rope slipped off she rolled quickly to the side, hoping she had missed the hot steam that was now flowing from the pipe over the floor, condensing quickly into water as it hit the flagstones.
Reaching up, she pulled the scarf from her mouth and caught her breath, pushing herself into a corner away from the water before she raised her wrists to her mouth and started to pick at the knot holding the rope around them with her teeth.
Eventually, the rope fell away from her hands, and she rubbed her wrists before untying her legs, and then pulling the scarf away from round her neck.
“Someone’s gonna pay for this,” she said quietly as she took her shoes off, to avoid the sound of her stilettos on the floor, and walked to the door of the room. It was unlocked, as she slipped into a corridor and walked slowly down it.
As she passed on door, she heard some muffled calls, and stepped back to look in the open grill.
“OH my goodness,” she said quietly as she turned the door handle, and walked in, putting her finger to her lips as she walked over and untied Bobbi’s wrists and legs.
As Bobbi rubbed her wrists, Roxanne removed the scarf covering her mouth, and then eased out the grey cloth that had been pushed in.
“Thanks,” Bobbi gasped as she coughed, “what the hell is going on?”
“I don’t know,” Roxanne said, “I was in a room, tied to a pipe, but managed to get free, then I found you. Pammy?”
“No idea – but we need to...”
She put her finger to her lips as both girls heard footsteps approaching, and stood either side of the door. The footsteps stopped for a moment, went on – and then came back again as the door opened, and the bearded man came in.
He was taken completely by surprise as Roxanne and Bobbi jumped him, falling to the floor and hitting his head on the flag stones. This dazed him enough for the girls to pull his arms behind his back, and Bobbi to tie them together with a discarded length of rope, then sit on his back as Roxanne tied his ankles together.
“Right,” she said as the two girls rolled him over, and she yanked at the beard, “Bets this is false?”
“Nope,” Bobbi said as he yelped in pain, and then stuffed the discarded cloth into his mouth, before the two of them made their way out into the corridor.
“We need to find Pammy and raise the alarm,” Roxanne whispered as they walked out of the corridor, into the hallway of some sort of stately home.
“There might be a phone in here,” Bobbi said as she opened one door, and then said “No phone – but I found Pammy.”
“Grllsssfknngdd,” Pammy said as they came in, Roxanne peeling the tape away from her wrists as Bobbi removed the covering from her mouth. “What the hell happened to us?”
“At a guess, we were kidnapped,” Bobbi said, “but right now, we need to get out of here.” Looking round, she saw a set of curtains, and walking over she pulled them to the side to reveal a set of doors leading out to a garden.
“Leave them to me,” Roxanne said as she ran up and kicked at the door with her foot, sending it open with a crack as the three girls went outside.
“What about your shoes,” Bobbi said as she looked at Roxanne.
“Forget them – let’s get out of here,” she said as the three girls ran across the lawn, and climbed the low wall to find themselves on a road.
“You know something,” Pammy said as they walked along, “this is like an episode of a bad kid’s cartoon.”
Bobbi and Roxanne stopped for a moment and looked at Pammy, as she said “What?”
“I’m going to kill him,” Bobbi said as they heard a car coming along. Flagging it down, they looked at the passing driver as he said “want a lift girls?”
“Please,” they said as they got into the back.
“Where do you want to go?”
“A police station,” Patty said, but Bobbi shook her head.
“No, can you take us to a hotel in the nearest town? The biggest there is...”
“Hang on a minute,” Pammy said as they got out of the car outside the country house hotel, “Isn’t that Craig’s car?”
“Yes it is – come on girls,” Roxanne said as they walked in, and headed straight for the bar. As they came in, Craig looked over, as did the man sitting with him.
“Exactly,” Roxanne said as they stood in front of Craig and the driver. “Got anything to say for yourself, dirtball?”
“IT’s October,” Roxanne said as she felled Craig with a perfect left hook, and then looked at the driver. “Our clothes – where are they?”
“In his car,” he said as he looked at Craig.
“Bring them in, then disappear,” Bobbi said as she walked to the reception. “May I use your phone please?”
Picking up the receiver, she dialled a number.
“Daddy? We need your help – Craig tried to kidnap us, but we got free.
“Oakland Lodge Hotel, Grantham.
“Thanks Daddy,” Bobbi said as she walked back into the room.
“Your dad on his way?”
“Oh yes,” Bobbi said as he sat on Craig, “and this idiot is in deep, deep guano. Daddy doesn’t like people hurting his little girl – they tend to end up hurt themselves.”