RV – Roped Vacation
road, take me home, to the place where I love!
West Virginia, Mountain Momma, Take me home, country road...”
The wooded mountains provided an amazing and awe inspiring backdrop to the roads as the massive RV made its way along the winding road. Deep brown in colour, Bart Kingston was seated in the black leather upholstered seat, humming along to the radio as Valeria sat in the rear, reading a magazine.
As one of the three managing directors of Kingston Chemicals, he and his wife were making their way to the annual mountain retreat. Every year, he and the other two men in charge drove out to the Rockies, to allow them to have some quality time together and also to discuss business away from the prying eyes of competitors and the business press.
Valeria Kingston was in her late forties, and had blonde hair cut in a tight bob. As with many wives of executives, sessions at the local tennis club kept her slim, and she was wearing a grey waistcoat top over a black jumper and pedal pushers, white kitten heels on her feet. She looked up from her book and smiled as she said “how much further?”
“About another hour,” Bart said without looking round. “Did you back the stuff in the icebox?”
“Of course – plenty of steaks and chicken legs for the barbecues, and you promised that on at least one day you and the boys would bring some fresh fish back.”
“And so we shall,” Bart said as he looked out of the large windshield, “and so we shall.”
As the RV pulled into the campsite, Valeria looked to the next lot, where a grey vehicle of the same size was already parked.
“Looks as if Jo and Ken have already arrived,” she said as her husband turned off the engine, and swung the seat round, standing up on the green carpeted floor as they left by the side entrance.
“There you are!”
They smiled as an auburn haired woman, wearing a blue and white maxi dress walked over with a man in a polo shirt and shorts.
“Jo – how wonderful to see you,” Valeria said as they hugged and kissed each other.”
“You too Val,” the other woman said as their husbands shook hands. “I suppose Betsy is going to be late as usual?”
“Well, give her a chance, she does have to come the furthest,” Jo said as she looked over the site. “Are we the only three booked in for this week?”
“No – Bart told me there’s another couple staying here, but I don’t think they’ll worry about us in our own little worlds.”
Jo smiled as Val took her into her vehicle, setting the Formica slats over the frame as she made up the table, and then set some plates out on it.
“Have you had this re-fitted?”
“Re-upholstered,” Val said with a smile as they heard a third vehicle draw up. Looking out of the window, they saw a red RV draw up, and then a strawberry blonde in her early forties come out, wearing a brown waistcoat and slacks with a yellow blouse.
“Knock knock – room for one more?”
“Come in Betsy,” Val said, “we’re just having a snack. How’s David?”
“Stressed out as usual,” Betsy said as she sat down. “I mean, driving does relax him, but still – he’s more on edge than usual at the moment.”
“Well, hopefully this will help him to relax,” Jo said, “Martini?”
The park was in darkness, the three vehicles showing no light as the fourth vehicle, all in black, pulled into the allocated plot and the headlights were killed. From the side, the door opened for a moment and then closed.
“We’re heading off to the lake,” Bart called out as he stood at the doorway of the vehicle, “what are you going to be doing today?”
“Not sure yet,” Val called back from the shower area, “see you later!”
As Bart walked out, he saw Dave and Ken standing there, all three men wearing white polo shirts and shorts. They started to walk towards the lake, as Val turned on the shower and started to wash herself down.
The sound of the running water covered the creak of the vehicle door as it opened and closed, as well as the soft footfall on the carpet as the soap was washed off her body.
Eventually, she turned the water off and wrapped a white towel around her head, forming a turban to cover her hair before she reached out and grabbed a large brown bath sheet, wrapping it around herself as she stepped out of the cubicle before she looked in the mirror.
“Not bad for my age,” she said quietly, before she saw the reflection in the mirror and stood straight.
“Say nothing – do as you’re told, and no harm will come to you. Slowly, walk to your closet.”
Val nodded as she walked slowly across the vehicle, and opened the closet up.
“Pick up that scarf.”
Reaching in, she picked up one of her favourite chiffon scarves, in pink, and then listened as the voice said “Put it in your mouth.”
Slowly, fearfully, she pushed the cloth into her mouth, closing her lips over it as she heard “turn round.”
Val turned and watched as the gloved hands smoothed a length of brown sticking plaster over her mouth, before she was told “get dressed.”
Jo dried the last of the plates and placed it in the cupboard, before she cleared away the breakfast cereal boxes and placed them in the wood lined overhead storage cupboard. To do this, she had to stand on the beige upholstered seats, co=ordinate with the olive pelmets and beige curtains. Everything in the vehicle was designed to work together, just the way Jo had wanted it to.
As for the auburn haired wife, she was wearing a white sleeveless tennis dress, with red trim on the v-necked front and waist. The flared skirt was short, barley reaching halfway down her thighs, and swayed slightly as she climbed off the seat and went back to the fridge.
Jo had a pair of white tennis shoes on, which slapped on the hardwood floor – and then she heard the footfall behind her. A second before she felt the leather gloved hand clamped over her mouth.
“Be very quiet,” the voice said behind her, “and do exactly what I say. Understand?”
“Ysss,” Jo mumbled as she nodded her head, wondering what the hell was going on.
“Good – lean over the bench, and put your hands behind your back. Say nothing, remain calm.”
“What’s this about,” Jo said as she bent over, and felt her wrists been crossed behind her back, and then cord being used to bind them tightly together.
“You will find out in due course,” the voice said as she felt the cord been pulled between her wrists, and then tied off, out of reach of her long fingers.
“Stand up,” the voice said, and as she did so she saw the gloved hand in her mouth, a folded cloth sitting in the upturned palm.
“Shh – open your mouth.”
The cold pressure on her back made Jo swallow before she slowly opened her mouth, and felt the cloth as it pressed down on her tongue. There as the sensation of pulling around her mouth as some sort of tape was pressed over it, and then the voice said three words.
“Close your eyes.”
broken, like the first morning,
Blackbird has spoken, like the first word.”
Betsy was singing to herself as she sat in the driver’s seat, gently swinging from side to side as she bent her legs and put her chin on her knees. The former cheerleader was wearing a cheerleader’s jumper and skirt.
The jumper had a white body and red sleeves, with a black collar, hem and cuffs, and a red Megaphone with “SM” printed on the front. The red and white skirt covered her enough, and she smiled as she looked at her beige and brown bowling shoes.
“The girls were right – we really did need this break,” she said with a smile as she spin round and stood on the brown shag pilled carpet.
“Oh I am sure you do – and I can only hope this adds to the excitement.”
Betsy stared at the man who was standing on the floor of the vehicle, smiling as he aimed a Magnum directly at her. He was wearing a tan safari jacket over a roll neck sweater, and light grey bell bottom trousers. A pair of dark glasses covered his eyes, a thick moustache his upper lip.
“What the hell...”
“Hush,” he said as he put his finger to his lips, “we’re going for a little ride, you and I.” Reaching into his jacket pocket, he took out a length of cord and said “turn round, hands behind your back, and stay perfectly still.”
“What’s going on,” Betsy whispered as she moved round, and the man stepped forward, putting the gun down as he crossed and bound her wrists behind her back with the cords.
“You’ll find out soon enough,” he said as he passed the rope between her arms, and cinched the band tightly, then tied the ends together before he turned her round, and held a folded handkerchief in front of her mouth.
“Open your mouth, then close it after I put this in.”
“I’ll be quiet, please...”
As he reached again for the gun, Betsy slowly opened her mouth, trying not to panic as the cloth filled it and pressed down on her tongue, and then the brown sticking plaster was pressed over her lips, holding them firmly together as it pulled on her chin.
“Whtrudnngg,” Betsy mumbled as she saw the man take a black silk scarf from another pocket, and fold it into a band.
“Close your eyes.”
He tied the scarf tightly over Betsy’s eyes, and then led her out of the vehicle, down the stairs and into the waiting transport, where Jo and Val were already seated. Val had put on a tight white polo top and shorts, but all three were mewling and twisting round as the door was closed on them, and the vehicle moved off...
“What do you mean they’re gone?”
“Just that Bart – all three of them have gone.”
Dave was standing by his RV, looking at his fellow director as Ken came out of his own.
“I found this,” he said as he held up a sheet of paper. Opening it, the three men looked at the message spelt out in glued on letters.
WE HAVE YOUR WIVES. IF YOU WISH TO SEE THEM ALIVE AGAIN, YOU WILL BRING ONE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS TO THE HOLIDAY INN, THREE MILES DOWN THE ROAD, AT NOON TOMORROW. MIXED DENOMINATIONS, NON-SEQUENTIAL NUMBERS. DO NOT CONTACT THE POLICE.
“There was this as well,” Ken said as he showed them both a Polaroid photograph of their wives, blindfolded, gagged with sticking plaster and with their hands behind their backs.
“Oh hell,” Bart said quietly as he rubbed his hair, “they really have been kidnapped, haven’t they?” Looking at the other two men, he said “we don’t have a choice do we?”
“and how are we meant to find that sort of money in the middle of nowhere?”
“Let me think,” Bart said as he looked round, “let me think...”
Val squirmed round, the ropes around her upper body and arms holding her firmly to the chair back, her ankles tied and pulled under the chair before they were secured to her wrist, her legs tied below her knees. Calling out again, she suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder and the blindfold was pulled off her head.
“If you three women agree not to scream and shout,” one of the two men in the room said as he looked at them, “those gags can come off and you can eat. What do you say?”
Val looked at Jo and Betsy, all three nodding and then grimacing as the plaster was yanked away from their mouths, and then the cloths pulled out.
“Who are you,” Val said as the other man opened three bottles of water, “what do you want?”
“Your husbands to pay for your safe return,” he said as he pit a straw in the bottle and held it to Val’s lips. “Drink – it’s just water.”
The other two watched as Val tentatively sipped, and then nodded as she took a long drink.
“We regret the inconvenience to you,” the other man said as one by one they were given some water, “but hopefully it will not be for too long.”
“Where are we,” Jo said as she tried to move her legs, with little success.
“somewhere safe,” the man said, “so long as you behave and do as you’re told. Hungry?”
All three nodded as they were given sandwiches to bite and chew n, between drinks of water. All three were tied to wooden chairs in some sort of room, with blacked out windows and doors, the only light coming from a paraffin lamp burning to the side.
“You can’t keep us prisoner forever,” Val said as she swallowed another bite of the chicken sandwich, “our husbands will pay up, and you’ll be caught.”
“Yes – and no,” the man said, smiling as he looked at Val. “Yes, they will pay – no, we will not be caught. Now, I am going to untie you, and you may use the toilet in the corner over there to relieve yourself – and no funny stuff, or your fellow executive wives here die. Understand?”
Looking at Jo and Betsy, Val nodded slowly as she was released from the ropes, and stood up, rubbing her wrists and waking with the man to a curtained off corner of the room. Stepping through, she found a toilet, and sink with running water and soap, so that she was able to take care of personal business before coming back out.
As she did so, she saw the man was holding a long coil of rope, with a lasso fashioned at one end. Passing the loop over her head, she felt it tighten and force her arms into her sides, before he tied the rope around the band and then took it around her wrists in front of her, securing them together, then her legs below her knees, and then her ankles, so that the one piece of rope held her like a sausage.
Making her jump to where a mat had been laid out, the man made Val lie down, and tied the last length of rope back to her wrists, before tearing a fresh piece of sticking plaster from the roll and pressing it down firmly over her lips.
Jo was next, and then Betsy, so that all three were lying trussed and gagged on mats. “Make sure they don’t move,” the man said to his companion as he walked out.
“Hmgddwhtrwggntdd,” Betsy mumbled as she looked at the other two.
“Stcllmm, nrlxx,” Val mumbled, wondering what Bart was trying to do at that point.
“Okay,” Bart said as he got out of the hire car, “I got the money. Are we agreed on what we’re going to do?”
“I don’t like it,” Ken said as he rubbed his chin, “What if it goes wrong?”
“It won’t – trust me,” Dave said as he looked at the men. “Let’s do this.”
“Thank you,” Betsy said quietly as the three women sat on their mats. The ropes and tape gags had been removed from all three of them, as they bit into the slices of melon and drank the water.
“So what happens now?”
“Well, Mrs Kingston,” the man guarding them said, “provided your husbands bring the money to the place they’ve been told, you’ll be with them before dinner tonight.”
“So will you release us as soon as you get your blood money?”
Looking at Jo, the man said quietly “I think we’ve treated you with due consideration and kindness – we fed you, gave you water, made sure you had relief. Some men would have kept you tightly trussed the whole time – imagine how uncomfortable that would have made you.”
The three women looked at each other before the man said “now – sit in a circle and link arms.”
“We need to make sure you can’t let people know what’s happening before it’s time – sit down and link arms.”
Standing slowly up, the three women stood up – but before they could take another step, both Jo and Betsy screamed into the sweet smelling cloths that the second captor had clamped over their noses and mouths.
“What the fssccccc” Val said as she turned round, only to inhale the sweet musky aroma as a similar cloth was clamped over her own nose and mouth. The fumes seemed to seep into her brain and make it fog over, as her eyes slowly closed and she went limp, the man lowering her to the floor...
The car lot of the Holiday Inn was quiet, with only a few vehicles in situ as Bart pulled into a vacant spot, stepping out and removing an old brown suitcase from the trunk. Walking across the lot to a black Cadillac, Bart looked from side to side, nodding as the rear window wound down.
“Pop the trunk,” the man inside said, and as the trunk slowly opened he looked at Bart.
“Is it all there?”
“Yes – where is my wife?”
“Safe – put the case in the trunk, and close it.”
Bart walked round, but as he got there a second man got out of the trunk, and said “lay it down and open it.”
“Don’t you trust us?”
“No,” the man said as Bart opened the case, and the man checked the bundles of notes. “Good,” he said as he closed the case, and the trunk lid. “Return to your vehicle, Mr Kingston, and join the others – your wives will be returned soon.”
“What guarantee do we have of that?”
“You don’t,” the man said as he got into the car and it set off, Bart running to the hire car where Dave and Ken were sitting.
“Did the gismo work?”
“So long as the battery holds out...”
They drove off, following the black car as it made its way along the mountain roads...
As Val slowly opened her eyes, her mouth felt drier than the last martini she had drunk – and as they slowly focused, she realised she had been bound and gagged again. This time she could feel the cords around her wrists, and her waist, and as she looked down she saw the ropes holding her wrists and ankles together.
What was different as well was she was sat on an upholstered bench, with Jo and Betsy coming to and looking round as well – and they could hear a vehicle stopping outside. They tried to talk, but the knotted scarves sitting between their teeth muffled any sounds...
Bart looked at the law enforcement officer as he came out of his car.
“We’ve got an APB out on the car, Mr Kingston – we’ll find it. Where was it heading last?”
“South between here and the hotel,” Dave said, “but the battery gave out.”
Looking round, the sheriff said “whose RV is that, Mr Kingston?”
“The black one? No idea – it was here yesterday, why?”
Walking up to the door, the sheriff banged on it – and then put his ear to the door before drawing his gun.
“Sheriff, what are you?”
Val, Jo and Betsy screamed as the light flooded in, and they saw the armed police officer look in.
“In here,” he said over his shoulder.
“Brt? Hmgdd,” Val said as she saw her husband look in the doorway.
“They were here all the time? Jo,” said Ken as he came in, looking at Jo and easing the damp scarf from her mouth.
“Oh god, oh thank god,” she whispered as she buried her head into his shoulder, “you’re here, we’re safe...”