Summer of Fear
The sounds of the concert were fading into the distance as Katy and Jo made their way out of Hyde Park past the fountains towards their Notting Hill flat. The hot July sun was setting over the city as they made their way down the road and turned past the hotels.
“It’s not the same without Brian Jones, is it?” Jo said as she put her hand up to stop her purple sun hat from being blown off by a sudden breeze. Katy chuckled as they walked further along the road.
“You’ll lose your head if you’re not careful – but no, it’s not the same without him. I’m glad we went though – it’s a long time since I have seen King Crimson.”
They made their way along the road, eventually turning down the Portobello Road past the empty market stalls. Making a left past the fruit stall, they came to their house door.
Katy pulled her handbag round and fetched out a set of door keys. Brushing her long chestnut hair out of her eyes, she found the main lock in the gathering gloom and opened the front door.
Taking her hat off as she walked in, Jo looked at her face in the mirror. Like Katy, she had shoulder length chestnut hair, but in her case it parted in the middle and lay in straight layers around her face, unlike Katy’s slightly curled style.
“I’ll go and put the kettle on,” Katy said as she walked past. “I meant to ask, “ Jo called after her, “Where did you get that dress?”
“This?” Katy said as she did a twirl. Her dress was short, made of material covered in purple and red flowers on a white background, and fastened up the front. “Down the market – why?”
“Just curious,” Jo said as she walked into the front room. Her own yoke necked purple short sleeved mini dress was from Carnaby Street. But that was one of the few things she could afford to buy there.
On entering the room, however, Jo stopped short and let her floppy hat dropped to the floor. There was a stranger in the room – a man with his back to her, looking through the drawers of the welsh dresser.
“Who the hell are you?” The man turned round, and Jo saw with a growing sense of horror the dark stocking that was over his head. He looked at Jo as she stood there, and then put a finger to his lips.
“Did you say something, Jo,” Katy said as she followed her flatmate into the room, and stopped dead next to her.
“Good evening ladies,” the masked man said, “you seem to have me at a disadvantage. I thought the concert would not finish for some time?”
“What are you doing?”
“Oh, me? I’m robbing you, and so is my friend here. Say hello, Terry.”
Hearing the deep voice behind them, the two girls turned round and saw another masked man behind them, dressed in a white polo neck and dark jacket and trousers. He had a small heavy wooden club in his hand, and was swinging it into his other hand in a way that showed he knew how to use it.
“Look, you can have our money, just get out of here,” Jo said, but the smaller man shook his head.
“We need to make sure you don’t raise the alarm first. Terry – go and get the coil of washing line and a pair of scissors, will you? Ladies, sit down on the floor and kick your shoes off.”
“What if we refuse?”
“Then” he said as he drew a knife from his pocket and flicked it open, “Terry here will be forced to get violent. Your choice.”
“We’d better do as he says,” Katy whispered as she sat herself down on the floor. Jo reluctantly followed suit, her eyes never leaving those of the smaller man.
“Here we go,” the one he called Terry said as he came back in with a coil of white rope and a pair of large scissors.
“Good – cut two long lengths off and pass the rest over to me, will you?”
The taller guy undid one end of the rope, cut two lengths of about three feet off and then passed the rest over to his colleague.
“Start to tie her wrists together,” he said pointing to Katy, “and I’ll take care of the rest of them. Do the other girl afterwards.”
Katy looked over her shoulders as Terry tool her wrists, pulled them behind her back and crossed them, before wrapping one of the lengths of the cord over the cuffs of her dress and pulling them tightly together. As her wrists were lashed together, Jo watched the smaller man take an end of the cord and wrap it around her ankles, pulling them together before knotting the cord at the side of her ankles and passing the rope up the side of her leg. From there, he started to tie her legs together above her knees, knotting the cord so that they were held firmly together.
“Give me your wrists,” Jo heard Terry say, and looking over she could see that Katy’s wrists were lashed firmly together behind her back. She soon felt the cord cutting into the bare skin of her wrists as they were pulled together. At the same time, the other man had taken the washing line, played it out a little as he took it towards Katy and started to tie her legs together above her knees.
One length slipped below her knees as the rope went round, but it was still pulled tightly, knotted and played down to Katy’s ankles, where the remaining length was used to lash her ankles together in the same way as Jo’s. The tow girls sat there, bound hand and foot as the tow men stood up.
“Keep looking through the bedrooms, Terry – I’ll finish off here,” the smaller man said as he went back to the dresser and continued to look through the drawers. ?Jo turned and looked behind her flatmate’s back.
“Can you move them at all?”
Katy shook her head. “I hope they’re not here for much longer,” she whispered back as Terry came back into the room carrying a pillow case and a roll of silver tape.
“I found this in the store room under the stairs,” he said as he tossed the roll to his companion.
“All right – take care of the telephone and I’ll finish off here.”
As Terry went into the hallway and pulled the telephone set out of the wall socket, the other man tore a strip of tape and knelt beside Katy.
“Pucker up, dear,” he said as he looked Katy in the face. She pursed her lips together and sat still as the tape was smoothed over her mouth.
“I guess you want me to do the same,” Jo said as he walked over.
“In a minute,” he said, and to Jo’s surprise he kissed her on the lips before gagging her with the tape. He stood up and looked at the two girls, as Katy closed her eyes to avoid looking at him.
“Well, good night girls,” he said as she walked out of the room and turned the lights off, leaving the two girls as the gloom of the night gathered around them.
They sat there for a few minutes, letting their eyes adjust to the dimming light. Jo tried to find some give in the ropes, but with little success.
“I dnt knw – gvm a mnt.”
Jo looked around the room, and saw a glint by the table. As she looked more closely, she could see the blade of the kitchen scissors as they lay no the table.
“Kt – flw me!”
Katy watched as JO began to push herself forward on the floor, and followed suit. Eventually, they made it to where they were sitting next to the table, and Jo began to kick at the table top with her feet. The scissors slowly moved across the table, and both girls watched them eventually fall to the floor a little further away from them.
Another hour passed before Jo finally managed to cut the rope around her flatmate’s wrists, and Katy peeled the tape away from her mouth.
“That wasn’t how I expected to spend tonight,” she said as she untied Jo’s wrists and then began to unwind the rope around her ankles.
“No,” Jo said as she pulled the tape away from her mouth, “I just hope we haven’t lost too much.”
“Were you flirting with that small guy?”
Jo blushed as she untied her ankles. If they had met elsewhere, if only….