Seventies Bound – School’s Out
March 23rd 1978
“Well, there they go,” Paula said as she looked out of the staff room window, the last of the pupils at Rosewood Primary School walking off with their parents. “The Easter holiday has officially begun.”
“Really early this year, isn’t it,” Donna said as she put a spoonful of Maxwell House into her mug, and added the hot water. Her long red hair fell over the shoulders of her white roll neck sweater, the olive coloured corduroy pinafore dress buttoned up the front over it. She then added the milk and sat down with her drink, crossing her legs as she pulled up her white fabric boots. They had a wide fur band at the top, and crepe soles.
“True – but you’re heading home tomorrow,” Paula said with a smile as she took another of the wooden armchairs and sat down. She was in her mid-forties, a good twenty years older than Donna, and was wearing a black waistcoat over a lilac coloured jumper and knee length linen skirt, her lower legs in a pair of tan coloured knee length leather boots.
“Yeah – I’d rather be in town this weekend, but Gran is coming, so the three line whip has been applied,” Donna said with a sigh before she put her mug to her lips. “So what do you fancy doing tonight?”
“Fish and chips,” Paula said, “and then there’s Cannon on BBC1, an old William Wyler film on BBC2, or whatever is on LWT…”
“Oh yeah, you didn’t buy the TV Times this week.”
“No she didn’t,” Hilary said as she joined them. The three women shared a house in the town, and Hilary was the middle of the three, having just turned thirty two. She was also wearing a matching jumper and skirt – in her case in burnt umber, with a brown spotted and sleeveless jerkin fastened over it, and black knee length tight boots.
“I told you, the newsagent sold out,” Paula laughed as she adjusted the brown and taupe headscarf she had tied round her neck. “So, who’s getting home first?”
“Me,” Hilary said quietly. “Want me to get the fish and chips?”
“Nah – I’ll pick them up after the meeting and bring them back. Donna, can you get something to drink on the way home at Victoria Wines?”
“Sure,” the redhead said with a smile…
As Hilary opened the house door, she shook her umbrella out and then put it against the wall, before she unfastened her long black leather coat and hung it on the peg fixed to the wall. She checked her reflection in the mirror, patting her long auburn hair, and walked into the front room and turned on the main light – then stood still as she processed what was happening.
The first thing was the fact that the newspapers from the last week were scattered over the floor, rather than neatly placed in the wooden rack.
The second thing was that the television was on, and a young man was sitting on a chair, watching the news. He had short blonde hair, and was wearing a blue denim jacket and jeans, the wing collar of his white shirt over the jacket collar. He looked annoyingly familiar as well.
And the third was the hand that had been clamped over her mouth from behind, as a second male voice said “looks like one of the ladies came home. Don’t make a sound, lady, and you’ll be fine.”
“Now Miss Jenkins – or perhaps I should call you Hilary – let’s not have any trouble.”
It was the young man sitting down who spoke – and now Hilary recognised him. Danny Hughes – a former pupil who had been sent to Borstal six months before for vandalising the school…
“Oh good – you do remember me. This is Steve – and we’re going to stay the night until we can get a train in the morning. So that means we need to keep you and the other two nice and quiet.” He stood up and took from his pocket a roll of brown sticking plaster, smiling as he tore a strip off, and said “so we start with you. Lips together, Miss.”
Hilary felt something sharp against her back, and nodded as the hand was taken away, the cloth stuck firmly over her mouth as the adhesive pulled on the skin round it, before she was pushed face down onto the couch. She turned her head to see Danny walk behind her and pull her arms behind her back, using a length of brown rope to secure them tightly together, as whoever this Steve was used what she figured was more rope to secure her ankles together.
She was then rolled onto her side, as she got her first look at Steve. He was taller than Danny, and wearing a tan leather jacket over a grey shirt, and black corduroy pants.
“Well now, Miss,” Danny said as he looked at her, “you just stay there, and when the others get here, you can spend some time out together…” She tried to push herself back, feeling for the knot at her wrists with her fingers as she saw the kitchen knife in Steve’s hand, and worrying about what they would do…
“Hey – I got a bottle of White Lightning,” Donna said as she came in, walking to the kitchen and putting the bottle on the table before she put her handbag over the side of the chair. “Let me get some glasses and…
“Hilary?” Donna could hear that the television was on, but there was no reply. Wondering where Hilary was, she walked into the front room – and put her hands to her mouth as she saw Hilary struggling on the couch, the front of her jerkin open now and her skirt riding up as a result of her struggles.
“Oh my god, what…”
“Why…” Donna then gasped as she felt the sharp pressure on her back, and heard a man say “welcome back – and how nice of you to bring us something to drink. Now, is you know what is good for you, slowly put your hands behind your back.”
Hilary looked at her housemate, shaking her head as she mumbled “Hmshreee” through the plaster gag while Donna felt whoever was there grab her wrists, and then the rough rubbing on her wrists as they were forced tightly together.
“Now,” Donna heard as Danny walked in front of you, “you’re a nice looking lady. How come you’re stuck with teach here?”
“Because I’m a teacher too,” Donna said quietly as she felt the cords pulled tighter on her arms, and then the pressure as the ends were tied off. She was then taken by surprise as the brown rope was passed round her body, pulling her arms firmly into her sides as she heard the soft squeak where it rubbed on her dress.
“Oh god, no,” she whispered as whoever was behind her continued to pass the rope around her, framing her chest, “no, please…”
“Oh calm down – we’re not those kind of guys,” Danny said with a smile as he looked at her, “we just need you two out of the way when the old lady gets here – then she joins you.”
“Why this house?”
“I beg your pardon?”
Donna looked at Danny, before she said “I don’t know who you are, but I think Hilary does – and she was afraid, wanted me to get out. So why this house? You’ve escaped from Borstal, right?”
“Perceptive – what gave it away?”
“The regulation haircut – my brother burnt a shed down, so I recognise it. What did you two do?”
“Me – vandalism at your school. Steve – burglary,” Danny said as the second man made Donna sit in an armchair, and then started to tie her booted ankles together as she twisted round.
“So far as I know,” Donna said quietly as Steve looked at Donna, and then tied the rope off before he tied her legs over her skirt, the corduroy squeaking even more. As he did this, Danny folded a dish cloth.
“Open up – and relax,” he said, Donna nodding as he pushed the cloth in, and then tied a doubled length of rope round her head, the cords going between her lips and keeping the cloth in place. She knew she was going to be quiet – and prayed that was all…
As Paula opened the front door, she balanced the three newspaper wrapped parcels on one arm and called out “I hope you’re all hungry.”
She heard the low mumble, but didn’t think anything of it as she walked to the kitchen – only to stop as she saw the blonde haired man standing there, the kitchen knife in his hand.
“What the… Who are you, and why are you…”
“Hello Miss Standish.”
Paula suddenly turned round, her eyes wide as she said “Danny? Danny Hughes? What are you doing here?”
“School’s out – and thanks for bringing me and Steve tea. But right now, I want you to put them on the table, then take your scarf off and give it to me.”
“Have you hurt Donna or Hilary?”
“Just made sure they stayed where they were. Now, are you going to do what I asked you, very nicely, to do?”
Looking at the two young men, Paula slowly nodded as she put the parcels down, and then untied her scarf, handing it to Danny and watching as he rolled it into a band, and then tied a knot in the middle.
“Put your hands behind your back.”
“no need to be so forceful,” she whispered as she felt the other man grab her wrists and hold them together, and then some sort of rope as it was pulled tightly round them, forcing them together as band after band was added to the binding. She heard him laugh as the ropes was tied off, and then a longer length was passed round her arms and body. As she glanced down, she realised it was the new skein of white cotton rope she had bought to replace the washing line with – only now it was been sued to hold her arms firmly to her sides, as well as making her chest more prominent.
“Okay, so you’re in charge,” she said quietly, “I want to be with my friends.”
“Of course – once you open your mouth.”
Paula nodded and complied, feeling the material of her scarf on her tongue as the knot was pulled back behind her teeth, and then the pressure on her cheeks as the ends were taken round and secured at the back of her head. She was then pushed to the front room, her eyes widening as she said “Hmhghddd” when she walked in.
Donna was still in the armchair, twisting round as the ropes squeaked on her pinafore dress. The rope between her lips was darker at the corners, and Paula could see the damp edges of the white cloth that were peeking out. Hilary now had her arms bound to her sides in the same way as the other two, and was twisting round, her boots squeaking as they rubbed together.
“Huuhllrhtt,” she said as Paula was sat in another armchair, Steve kneeling down with a length of rope and binding her ankles tightly together, then folding her skirt back to secure her legs below her knees. As he did that, his hands stroked down her legs, Paula looking down and shaking her head at that – but Steve just smiled as he stood up, following Danny out of the room as the three women looked at each other.
“Shhwwhtdhwhdhnhh,” Donna asked as she twisted round again.
“Dhntphnhhcc,” Paula mumbled as she felt the scarf starting to absorb the saliva form her mouth. “Whdhntnwhntthpuhkkk.”
Donna and Hilary looked at each other and nodded. They had watched the film on television the week before – two men had robbed a supermarket, one of them holding the daughter and wife of the manager hostage. One scene had the girl coughing with her mouth taped over - and the dialogue was suddenly very real to both of them.
They could hear the two boys laughing in the kitchen, as they realised their supper was been eaten, while Paula looked round. She could see the telephone sitting on the table – and then she saw the wires had been cut next to the junction box, so she knew trying to get help that way was not an option.
At least they had left the television on – if only they had not left it on London Weekend Television….
Paula looked at Hilary as she lay on her side, her eyes closed and her chest gently rising and falling as she breathed in and out through her nose, while Donna had her head to the side, the rope now dripping as the saliva started to run from the corner of her mouth.
The laughing and talk from the kitchen had stopped, as she tried desperately to find any give in the rope round her wrists – but with no joy.
She looked to the side to see Steve standing there, a slightly glazed look in his eyes as he walked in and checked the ropes on the other two. “You are one hot momma,” he said as he knelt in front of her, looking at her as she said “Hrruhdhrhnk?”
“No, I’m happy,” he said quietly as he looked at her, the knot between her teeth dark and moist. There was a look in his eyes that worried Paula, and then her worry was increased as he stroked his hand down his leg. She tried to move out of the way, but he just looked at her and shook his head, as he moved his hand up her leg, under her skirt…
“Don’t touch her you bastard!”
Paula was shocked to see Danny pull the other man back, and throw him to the floor. “I don’t care what you did to get you in that place, you don’t do it with me here!”
“Forget it, Miss Standish,” Danny said – and then he was pulled back by Steve, Paula watching as the two young men fought each other, finding herself hoping Danny would win…
She snapped her head to the left as she saw the two policemen run in, separating the youths and dragging them out as a third copper came over and eased the scarf from her mouth.
“Thank you,” she croaked as the other two women stirred, “how did you…”
“We were checking all the places he could have come – you were just last on the list,” he said as he looked at the other two women, “you okay while I deal with them?”
Paula nodded, grateful that help had come at last…