Seventies Bound 5
Sweet were on the local radio station, as the manic beat of Ballroom Blitz could be heard throughout the house. Barbara just shook her head as she stood at the sink, washing up the dinner plates and cutlery – having twin daughters was bad enough, but to have them playing music like that while she was trying to tidy up…
Brushing back her brown hair, which was cut into a bob that curled up around the nape of her neck, she plunged the pot into the hot soapy water while listening to the sounds in the bedrooms. By the thumping, it was clear that Susan and Sarah were getting ready to go out on the town, which would at least give her a little peace to do some reading. On the other hand, she may just watch Callan on the television – she did find Edward Woodward dangerously attractive.
Glancing out of the window, she could see the street lights start to come on, the neon glare reflecting on the rain puddles that sat on the ground. Her attention was then distracted by the thump on the stairs, and she turned to see Susan walk into the kitchen. She looked back into the bowl, taking care to ensure the water did not go above the cuff of the rubber gloves she was wearing and moisten the sleeve of her brown floral blouse.
She was a beautiful nineteen year old, with long blonde hair and deep blue eye. Her natural curves were emphasised by the short sleeved chocolate brown jumper she was wearing and her thighs by the tight brown velvet hot pants. The lower halves of her legs were encased in tight brown leather boots, with stacked soles and heels that gave her an extra three inches in height.
“I have no idea how you can walk in them,” Barbara said as Susan sat at the table.
“You tell me how you managed to walk in stiletto heels when I was a little girl, and I’ll tell you how I manage to walk in these,” Susan retorted with a hint of laughter. From the radio, the music had changed to the latest single from Slade.
“Touché,” Barbara said as she turned back to the sink. Over her blouse, she was wearing a light brown waistcoat buttoned up the front, and her matching skirt came down to just above her knees. The only thing that looked incongruous was the pair of old slippers she wore on her feet – a sop to the fact the heels she still wore in her job at the local factory were dreadful on her soles.
The kitchen door opened again and Sarah came in. She was wearing a white blouse with long sleeves that billowed out from her elbows and back to the wrists, a white mini skirt that barely covered her behind and over the knee white PVC boots. The only way you could tell her apart from her twin sister was he hair – unlike Susan, she wore it short and neatly cut.
“So, where are you two going today?”
“College disco –we won’t be late back. Have you heard from dad?”
“I did – he sends his love and says he looks forward to seeing us all tomorrow.”
“On which note,” Susan said as she stood up and grabbed a brown satin bomber jacket, “We’d better get going. See you later, mum.”
“Yeah, see you later,” Barbara said as she watched Sarah throw a white poncho over her shoulders and follow her sister out of the room. As the front door closed, she dried her hands on the kitchen towel and put the last plate back into the cupboard. From the bedroom, she could hear a David Bowie song start to play, leading her to mutter to herself as she went to switch it off.
The Morris car drew up outside the house, watching as the evening light dimmed to the full darkness of the night. Inside, the two men sat talking, watching the houses until finally coming to a decision. They both stepped out, one opening the rear door of the car sideways to retrieve a holdall while the other stood with his hands in his pockets. Locking the door, the two men turned their collars up and walked briskly down the pavement.
Barbara sat back in her chair, a glass of Campari and soda in her hand, as the screen slowly flickered into life. The picture that eventually emerged showed a single bare light bulb slowly swinging from a ceiling fitting, as the music built to a climax emphasised by the bulb exploding as a bullet passed through it.
“Good,” she muttered to herself as she relaxed, her feet up on a pouffe in front of the chair, as Edward Woodward started to berate Russell Hunter on the screen. As the story progressed, it showed Callan sneaking up to a house, and using some paper and glue to silently break a window to gain access.
She was so engrossed in the unfolding drama she failed to hear the tinkling sound as a pane of glass was broken in the kitchen door, and a gloved hand reach in to turn the key. The two men stole silently into the kitchen, closing the door behind them. The taller of the two looked at the other and motioned with his hand.
On the screen, Barbara watched, her hand at her throat, as Callan moved silently down a corridor. Through a partially open door, the screen showed a young woman sitting at a dressing table, dressed in a long nightdress and slowly brushing her hair. The shot showed Callan stop and watch, as he pulled a pair of black leather gloves over his hands, then slowly, silently open the door and move in. Sensing something was wrong, the girl looked up and saw the man approaching in the mirror. She dropped the brush, and as it clattered to the floor she opened her move to scream as Callan…
The gloved hand that clamped itself over Barbara’s nose and mouth came as a complete surprise to her as well. She let go of her glass, the contents following on the rug under her chair, and reached up to try and pull the hand away. As she did so, she looked up and saw a man standing in front of her, pointing a shotgun that had the barrels sawn off in her face.
On the screen, the girl turned and looked at Callan, a smile coming over her lips as Callan took her hand. In reality, Barbara looked at the masked man with terror in her eyes, as he told her in a broad Scottish accent what he and his partner intended to do.
As the clock struck the hour of Eleven, Susan let herself and her sister back into the house. They were chatting excitedly amongst themselves, not noticing that the television was still on or the cool breeze from the kitchen. In fact, the first indication they had that anything was wrong was when they walked into the front room and saw the two masked and armed men sitting there.
“What the hell…” Sarah said, while Susan just put her hands up to her mouth. The taller of the two men stood up and pointed his shotgun at them, saying “Don’t make a sound,” in a Scottish accent, while the other just laughed, his cruel mouth and eyes the only things visible in the mask covering his head.
Both men were wearing workmen’s jackets, dark trousers and heavy boots, with gloves on their hands. “Both of you, put your handbags down where I can see them and put your hands on your head,” the Scotsman said as he waved the gun at them. Reluctantly, Susan did as she was asked, the waistband on her jacket rising as she did so. Sarah stared at the two men, a defiant look in her eye, and said “Where’s our mother.”
The other man stood up, walked over to stand in front of Sarah and suddenly slapped her over the face. As she felt the redness on her cheek, the Scotsman said “This is not a game, lassie – this is real life. Now, do as you’re told, or else…”
“All right,” she said with a sob as she let her bag drop to the floor and raised her arms, the poncho rising and falling down onto her shoulders as she did so.
“See – you do as you’re told, and we’ll get on splendidly. We’re going to be staying tonight, and leaving with your mother in the morning. You two,” he said waving the gun at them, “are our insurance policy. Now, would you like to see her?”
Both girls nodded, and the Scotsman smiled. “Excellent – move,” he said as he waved the gun in the direction of the door. The two girls slowly made their way towards the staircase, followed by the two men. As they climbed the stairs, the Scotsman said to his partner “Search the bedrooms – we’ll head back down in a minute.”
Opening the door to the master bedroom, they saw their mother lying on her side on the bed. Her wrists were tied together in front of her with string, which was then fed down and used to bind her ankles in the same way. A large headscarf had been pulled into her mouth, her lips closing over the thick band and the corners of her mouth pulled back, as she lay there. Looking up, she saw her daughters staring back at her, and started to struggle.
“Just stay quiet and still, like we told you, lady,” the Scotsman said. “Your daughters will stay downstairs with us until it’s time – think of them before you try anything.” Taking Sarah by the arm, he pushed the tow girls out of the room and closed the door behind him, leaving Barbara screaming in frustration.
As they went back into the room, they saw that the other intruder had collected a number of belts from upstairs. “Sit down and put your hands out in front of you,” the Scotsman said to both girls as he pushed them towards the couch. “May we at least take out coats off,” Sarah asked, and as he nodded his assent she pulled her poncho off and let it drop on the floor before sitting down. Susan, who was still quietly crying, unzipped her jacket and let it drop beside her sister’s poncho on the floor.
The silent intruder took a pair of striped elastic belts, and placing Susan’s wrist together he quickly passed it tightly around and between them, tying the ends together under her arms. The same thing was done to Sarah, and as both girls looked at each other they realised they weren’t going to be given much of a chance to raise the alarm. The man then took two thin leather belts, and used them to bind their ankles together, the leather squeaking against their boots as he pulled the strap tightly.
“Now then,” the Scotsman said as he sat down in an armchair opposite the two girls, “If you promise not to shout and scream we’ll not gag you. Understand?”
“What are you going to do with us then?” Susan sobbed as she looked up.
“You’ll see, lassie, you’ll see. Any chance of getting some coffee,” he said to his partner, who nodded and made his way to the kitchen. He sat back, a smile on his lips, and watched the two girls as they stared back at him.
“Relax – your mother will be fine, and we’ll check on her regularly. We just don’t want you in the way while we make some preparations. It will all be over early tomorrow morning – I promise.”
“What do you think this is about?” Sarah whispered to her sister as the two men sat with their steaming mugs.
“I have a horrible feeling they’re going to rob Mum’s office, and we’re the key to making her do it. We’ll have to be brave, Sarah – if we show fear, we’re done for.”
Sarah was dancing at the disco, with the most gorgeous man in front of her, as the sound of T Rex blared in the background.
Ride it on out like a bird in the sky ways
Ride it on out like you were a bird
Fly it all out like an eagle in a sunbeam
Ride it on out like you were a bird
She could feel her feet starting to leave the ground as the music played, the stomping of her platform boots abruptly ending as she floated gently up in the air. Her partner was flying with her, and as he held out his hand she caught it in her own. They were free, they were flying, they were – bound to the ground by a rope the man had tied around her wrist and thrown to another man down below. As he secured it to a hook in the ground, the crowd watched and laughed as her legs started to go above her head, her skirt falling down, and she cried out….
“Lassie, do that one more time and I’ll make sure you never talk again, is that clear?”
Sarah opened her eyes and saw the Scotsman standing over her, his gloved hands on her shoulders. Looking to her side, she saw Susan next to her, sleeping with her head on her shoulders.
“Sorry – I was just dreaming,” she said as she stared back at him.
“Aye, well – we were going to wake the two of you up anyway. It’s time.”
“Time for what?”
In response, the man put his gun on the coffee table, knelt down and removed the belt around her ankles and the strap around her wrists. As she rubbed them, he gently moved Susan so that she lay with her head on the arm of the couch.
“You go with my friend here and do what needs to be done – I’ll wake your sister up before you get back.” Sarah stood up, looked at her sister as she started to stir, and then walked out of the room with the other intruder. “How’s my mother?” she asked as he walked her up to the bathroom, but he said nothing as he held the door open.
“Can’t I get a little privacy?” she asked as he stopped her closing the door, but the look in his eyes told her that was a futile question, especially with Susan still downstairs. She sat herself as best she could on the seat, staring at the masked man the whole time.
In the bedroom, Barbara could hear the noise from the bathroom, and looked over at the clock. The hands showed it was five thirty in the morning – whatever was going to happen, it would happen soon.
“Are you all right, Sarah,” Susan asked as her sister was escorted back into the room. “I’m fine, Suz,” she said as she watched her sister beign taken out of the room. “All right,” the Scotsman said as the door closed, “I want you to sit down on the floor, hands on top of your head.”
“Why – are you going to tie me up again?”
“Exactly,” the man said, and Sarah noticed that a number of neatly coiled lengths of rope had been placed on the coffee table. Realising it was not a good idea to try to argue, she sat herself in front of the couch and watched as eh unravelled a length of rope.
“Cross your ankles,” he said, and as Sarah did so he quickly passed the doubled over rope around her booted legs, feeding the two loose ends through the loop and pulling tightly. The fibre rubbed against the material of her boots as each pass went round and between, squeaking more and more loudly until he finally tied the ends off under her legs. She looked down, trying to move her ankles together, but the binding was too firm. As another length was passed around her legs, below her knees, she looked up to see Susan escorted back in.
“You sit down next to your sister and do what she’s doing,” the Scotsman said as he threw a length of rope to his partner. “Hands on your head and cross your ankles.” Susan looked at Sarah, who nodded mutely to show she should do as she had.
The clock was showing six fifteen when the bedroom door opened and the Scotsman came in, looking down at Barbara as she stared at him. The cloth in her mouth had a deep dark stain in the middle where saliva had soaked into it, and her wrists were sore from the string.
He reached own behind her head and untied the two ends, removing the scarf and letting it drop to the floor. “I’m going to take you to see your daughters,” he said as e cut the string around her wrists and ankles with a penknife, “any funny stuff and they are the ones who will suffer, I promise you.”
“All right, but I need to go to the toilet first,” she relied in a husky voice, “and I need a drink.”
“Toilet first – we’ll talk about the rest later,” he said as he helped her to her feet. She walked slowly to the bathroom, pulling her skirt and panties down and sitting while the Scotsman watched all the time.
“Why did you have to do this?” she said as she looked up. “Do you have to terrorise innocent people?”
“It’s a living,” he said as she pulled her skirt back up. “Now, let’s go downstairs.”
Barbara slowly made her way down, rubbing her wrists as she did so and noting with regret that the telephone wire had been pulled away from the connection box in the wall. She entered the living room to see the silent intruder, who had bound and gagged her the previous night, moving Susan round so that she was back to back with Sarah. Both girls had their ankles crossed and bound, and more rope above and below their knees, and their hands were on top of their heads.
“Girls, I’m sorry,” she cried as she was pushed into a chair, and her wrists pulled behind her back by the Scotsman. “They surprised me last night, and I had no way…”
“It’s all right mum, we’re fine if very scared,” Sarah said as the other man took hold of her hands, and manoeuvred them so that her arms were bent around Susan’s torso and her hands palm up in her sister’s lap. She wondered what was going to happen as the Scotsman passed yet another length of rope to his partner, and then turned his attention to binding her mother’s wrist together behind her back.
“You’re going to take me to your office, while my young friend here keeps an eye on your daughters,” he said as he passed the rope between Barbara’s wrists. At the same time, Sarah felt her own wrists being pulled together, and looking over her shoulder she saw the rope around the cuffs of her blouse, pulling them together over Susan’s waist. They did not meet, but he wound the rope in such a way that they were effectively handcuffed together. There was a length of about two foot left, which he used to secure her wrists to the rope around Susan’s upper leg.
It only took a few moments for Susan to have her wrists tied in front of Sarah’s waist, the rope cutting into the bare skin of her wrists as he did so. “We’re definitely not going anywhere,” she said to her sister as the longest length of rope she had ever seen was passed around the waist of both girls, pulling them together as it was tightened.
“Please, you don’t have to harm them, just let them go – I’ll do whatever you want,” Barbara pleaded with the two men as they finished tying her daughters together. She felt the rope around her own wrists with her fingers, but could not find any way of loosing herself from them.
“This is how it’s going to be,” the Scotsman said as he stood up, “and you’re not going to do anything about this. Here – finish the job off.” He took a small plastic container from his pocket and tossed it to the other man.
“What is that?” Barbara asked, fearing she already knew the answer. That was confirmed for her when the silent man took the cover off and revealed a length of wide brown sticking plaster. He tore a strip off, knelt beside Sarah and quickly smoothed it over her mouth, following up by doing the same to Susan.
“Now, you two sit quietly and don’t struggle, and you’ll be just fine. Yer mother an’ I are going to go to her office now – I’ll be back in a while.” Saying that, the Scotsman took Barbara by the arm and pulled her out of the room, with only time for her to call out “Be brave,” before the door slammed shut.
Outside the house, the Scotsman forced Barbara to lie down in the back of the car, covering her with a blanket and saying “If you value your daughters’ lives, don’t do anything, before closing the door on her and climbing into the driver’s seat. Back in the house, the silent man turned on the radio, increasing the volume as the Tony Blackburn show started on Radio 1.
The small group of people outside the factory looked round as Mister Jones, the plant manager, came through.
“What’s going on?” he said to the group. “Where’s Barbara?”
“We don’t know – and the door’s still locked. One of us went round to the office window, and it’s closed as well. We could hear someone inside, however.”
Reaching into his pocket, the manager took out a set of keys and unlocked the main door. “One of you go to the phone box down the road and call the police – I think something’s wrong. Bert – with me. The rest of you stay out here.”
As he and the man who spoke went into the darkened factory, the others waited except for one young man who ran out of the gates. Bert and the manager walked quickly to the office door, but when they tried to open it they found it was locked. They could, however, hear noises from inside, and as Mister Jones peered through the opaque frosted glass he could see something on the floor.
“Stand back, boss,” Bert said as he took a few steps back, ran forward and kicked the door at the lock. The door flew open to reveal a scene of chaos – papers were strewn across the floor, the safe door in the corner was wide open and the safe empty, but most importantly and startling of all was the sight of Barbara on the floor. Her wrists were bound together behind her back, her ankles and legs bound, and rope running from her ankles to her legs. A length of brown sticking plaster was over her mouth, stopping her frantic cries from producing any decipherable words.
“My god,” Mister Jones said as Bert knelt down and helped Barbara to sit up, “what happened here?” Bert gently peeled the tape away from the frightened woman’s mouth, as tears started to run down her cheeks.
“Please, you’ve got to get the police – they’re holding my babies hostage at home,” she gasped as Bert started to untie the ropes that held her captive. “They took us last night, and they threatened to kill them if I didn’t open the safe. Please, for the love of god, somebody find out if my babies are all right….”
It was Jimmy Young on the radio by the time the police managed to get to the house, but they were unable to stop the two men from escaping. The girls were still sitting back to back on the floor, unable to free themselves and an unfortunate dark patch in Sarah’s mini skirt. They looked up at the officers as they came in, eyes filled with fear and relief that their ordeal was coming to an end.
In the hospital room, Barbara stood up and rushed over as the twins were brought in, covered with blankets and shaking with relief. The officer in charge closed the door discreetly as they held each other – time enough for questions later, he felt, let them recover first…