Sunday Best

And did those feet in ancient times,

Walk upon England’s pastures green….


The congregation were giving full voice to the hymn, but Samantha had other things on her mind.  It was a warm day, and she was beginning to feel the heat as she stood in the wooden pew.  She looked over the rest of the congregation – the older women in their hats, the younger children as they obediently filed out to their Sunday School – and began to wonder why she had to endure this ritual every Sunday.  She was reminded of that when the hymn stopped, the congregation sat down and her father walked to the altar to read the lesson.


“The reading today is from Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Chapter 3, and beginning at verse 18.


Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.  Husbands love your wives and do not be harsh with them.  Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.  Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged…..”


“Boring”, she thought to herself as she sat back, only to get a sharp nudge in the ribs from her mother who was sat next to her.  Wanda could tell her daughter wasn’t paying full attention, and wanted to remind her that she was in church, doing what they needed to do, in a way that did not attract disparaging looks from the people around them.



The sun was shining down on the spring flowers as the congregation slowly made their way out of the church, shaking hands with the vicar as they did so.  Samantha smoothed down her cream skirt and pulled her white gloves over her hands, before following her mother and father to the main door.  Wanda had already pulled her own kid leather gloves on, and was shaking hands with the vicar as Samantha came towards them.


“A wonderful sermon, as always, Vicar,” Wanda said as she stood in front of the doorway.  “I particularly liked your commentary on that speech the coloured man made in Washington.”


“Well, I think Doctor King is right, Mrs Johnson,” the vicar replied with a smile.  “God made us all equal, whatever some people may seem to think.


“Samantha, how nice to see you again.  How is college?”


“It’s going well, thank you,” she replied as she stood with her hands crossed.


“Well, we must be on our way,” her father said.  “Good day, Reverend.”


The three climbed into their Austin Healey, Samantha sitting behind her mother, and they drove off towards their home.  As they approached their detached house, Samantha spoke up.


“Father, I was wondering if you would allow me to go the youth club tonight?”


“So long as you’re back by ten,” her father replied as he stopped the car and applied the break.  Getting out, he smoothed down the jacket of his three piece suit and opened the door to allow Wanda to step out.  Her green woollen coat was pulled tightly around her waist to keep out the spring chill, despite the sunshine, while Samantha pushed the seat forward and stepped out.


Opening the door, a breeze from the back of the house could be felt.  “Wonder where that’s coming from,” Mr Johnson said to himself as he made his way to the kitchen, while Wanda and Samantha stepped into the front room.


“Samantha, I was wondering…..”


Wanda never finished her sentence, as she was grabbed from behind and a gloved hand placed over her mouth.  She watched as a man in a dark jumper and suit grabbed Samantha and hand gagged her as well, so that both of them could not call out a warning.


“Wanda, dear, it looks like the boy next door has hit his cricket ball…..”  Mister Johnson stopped still as he came into the room and saw his wife and daughter being held by two masked men.


“Good afternoon, Mister Johnson,” the man holding Wanda said in a voice with a hint of a welsh accent.  “Do exactly what we say, or else we will be forced to harm your family.  Do I make myself clear?”


He looked at both Wanda and Samantha, who pleaded at him over the hands that covered their mouths with their eyes, and nodded.


“A wise decision, Mister Johnson.  Ladies, sit down and put your hands on top of your heads.”  With that, the two men took away their hands.


Wanda turned and looked at her assailant.  “May I at least take my coat off?” she said with an angry voice.  The intruder nodded, and Wanda took off her coat to reveal a grey-blue dress with elbow length sleeves, and a gathered waist.


“Keep your gloves on,” the man said as she sat down and crossed her heeled ankles.  Samantha sat next to her, still wearing her cream jacket and skirt with a black sleeveless top underneath, and held her mother’s body.


“Now, Mister Johnson, we need to access your store to conduct some business.”


Mister Johnson looked at the two men.  “My store?  But it’s a newsagent, there’s nothing you might want there….”


“No,” the man said as he took a small gun out of his pocket and placed it on a table where they all could see it, “but the jeweller next door is where I really want to be.  I need your co-operation, or it is your wife and daughter that my friend here will be dealing with.  Do we have an understanding?”


“Please, daddy, don’t let them hurt us,” Samantha called out.


“Jack, close the curtains, will you?”  The man said to his companion, who walked over and closed the heavy velvet curtains to, darkening the living room.  “Done, Bert,” he called back.


“Excellent.  Mister Johnson, sit down and keep your hands on your head while we take care of one or two things here.  You,” he said pointing at Samantha, “I want you to kneel down on the floor, facing the couch, and grab hold of the heels of your shoes.  Jack – put the radio on, will you?”


The other intruder walked over to the large phonograph, turned it on and tuned it to a station announcer saying…. “And now, Two Way Family Favourites.”   Samantha looked at her mother and father, stood up and turned round before kneeling down, pulling her skirt up so that she did not catch it under her, and grabbing hold of the heels of her black patent leather shores with her gloved hands.


Bert stooped down beside the couch the ladies were sitting on, and produced a black leather bag which he placed on the table in front of Mister Johnson.  “Were you a Boy Scout, Mister Johnson?” he asked casually.


“Yes, why?”


“Well then,” Bert said as he opened the book and took out a length of white rope, “You will know how to tie a knot.  Tie your wife’s hands together, behind her back, with this rope, and your daughter doesn’t get a nasty surprise.”


“It’s all right, David,” Wanda said as she stood up, “Let’s just get this over with so that these horrid men can get out of here.”  She turned her back to her husband, and crossed her wrists behind her back.  David took the rope and wrapped it around his wife’s gloved wrists, pulling the rope tight and finally knotting it off.


“Plenty of rope left – pass the two ends around your wife’s waist and tie the ends together in front of her,” Bert said.  Wanda turned round and watched her husband securing her wrists against the small of her back, before he took her by the shoulders and kissed her.


“I’m sorry dear,” he said as Bert produced another length of rope from the bag.


“All right, now tie your wife’s ankle together – quickly as you can.”


Taking the rope, David gently took Wanda’s ankles, crossed them as she sat on the couch and began to tie them together with the rope.  Samantha watched as he gently pulled them together and passed the rope between her legs as well as that she could hardly move them.


“Not exactly how we intended to spend our Sunday is it?”  Wanda said as she saw the worried look on her daughter’s face.  “Be a brave girl, Samantha – I’m sure this will be over soon.”


David stood up and looked at his family.  “All right, Mister Johnson, you’re going to drive me to your store – and no funny business, or else I will call Jack here and your family suffers.  Jack – take care of things here, will you?”


“Sure thing Bert,” Jack replied as Bert took David by the arm and led him out of the house.  He turned and looked at Wanda, who was trying to turn her wrists around.


“Right – your turn now,” he said as he took some rope and knelt down behind Samantha.  Taking her wrists, he crossed them and held them in one gloved hand while he warped the rope around with his other one.  It took only a few minutes before Samantha had her wrists securely bound and against her own back.  Taking her arm, Jack helped her to her feet and sat her down on the couch next to her mother.


“Don’t move,” he said as he left the room for a minute, returning with a chair from the kitchen that he placed in front of the two women.  “Come and sit in this chair,” he said to Samantha.


Standing up with some difficulty, Samantha walked over and sat down in the chair, while Jack retrieved some more rope from the bag.  Kneeling down beside her, he took her left ankle and pulled it against the chair leg, lashing it against the wooden leg with rope, and repeating the process on the other side.  This had the effect of pulling Samantha’s skirt back slightly, so that her light cream panties were starting to show.


“Please,” Wanda said as Jack went back to the bag and retrieved more rope, “Is it absolutely necessary to demean my daughter in that way?”


“Oh – my apologies,” Jack said as he pulled Samantha’s skirt down, before tying her legs together below her knees.  He then wound a long length of rope around her arms and chest, passing it through the slats in the back of the chair, so that she was firmly held against the wood.


“I’m not going anywhere am I?” she said as she tried to move her body round.


“That’s the idea.  Now, Mrs Johnson, I want you to turn round and face the other end of the couch.”




“You’ll see,” Jack said as he started to unravel a long length of rope.  Wanda looked at Samantha, then turned round so that her back was to the intruder.  Jack passed the rope around Wanda’s chest below her breasts, and then pulled it tightly so that her arms were held into place by her side.  He passed the rope around her arms above her breasts, and then repeated the process several times so that her arms were secured in place.  Passing the rope around the loops under her arms, he finally knotted it in place in the small of her back.


“I’ afraid I will be taking these as well,” he said as he unhooked the string of pearls that were around Wanda’s neck, and placed them in her pocket.  “Please, let me help you to lie down and make yourself comfortable.”


With some difficulty, Wanda allowed herself to be laid on the couch, with her head resting on the arm so that she could look at Samantha.  Jack took more rope and secured Wanda’s legs together above and below her knees, then secured her ankles to the foot of the couch with a further length of rope.


“Excuse me for a moment, ladies,” he said as he left the room, and mother and daughter looked at each other.


“what do you think that other one – Bert – is doing with Dad,” Samantha said as she tried to move her ankle round, the squeak of her stockings against the rope and wood barely audible.


“I don’t know, but I hope he’s all right,” Wanda said as she tried to move her legs around.  The squeak from the stockings she was wearing was more audible, as there was more rope securing them together, and she realised there was no way she was going to be able to move for some time.


Eventually, Jack came back in with two glasses of water and straws.


“I think you both need a drink,” he said as he knelt by Wanda’s head and held the glass so that she could take a drink.  “May I complement you both on your jewellery collections – it’s almost a pity that I have had to take them from you.”


“Your manners do you credit, even if what you are doing to us doesn’t,” Wanda said as she took her mouth away from the straw.  Moving over to Samantha, she watched as Jack allowed her to take a long drink as well.


“Just how much longer are you going to hold us like this,” Samantha said as Jack placed both glasses on the coffee table between the two bound women.


“As long as it takes – why don’t I put the television on for you?”  he said as he turned off the radio and switched on the large set that stood in the corner.  As the picture warmed up, an external shot of a theatre announced that Sunday Night At The London Palladium was starting, and the announcer shouted that the special guest was Matt Munro.


“I like him,” Wanda heard herself saying without thinking.  “MUM!” Samantha shouted as the telephone rang.


“Excuse me,” Jack said as he left the room.  The two women listened in on the conversation.


“Dulwich 5729?


“Yes, everything is fine here.  You?


“I understand.  I have a couple of things to do here, and then I’ll be on my way and meet you later.


“All right.”


Through the door, Wanda could see Jack replace the bakelite receiver, then take hold of the black wire that ran from the headset and pull it free from the connection in the wall.  He then went up the stairs, returning a few minutes later with two flannels and a roll of brown plaster.


“I’m afraid I have to make sure you can’t call for help,” he said in an apologetic manner as he stood behind Samantha.  “Open your moth as wide as you can please.”


“You don’t have to do this,” Wanda called out.  “You’ve disconnected the phone, we can’t move; just leave us as we are….”


“Sorry, Mrs Johnson, but I have a standard to maintain,” Jack said as he held the blue flannel in front of Wanda’s daughter.  “Now, open wide.”


Closing her eyes, Samantha opened her mouth and felt the cloth being pushed deep into her mouth.  Hearing the ripping of tape, she opened her eyes again and watched as Jack closed her lips together and tore a strip of plaster off the roll before smoothing it over her lips.  Two more strips went on after the initial application, and then he re-checked the ropes that were holding her in place.


“Are you all right, Sammi?”  Wanda said, and her daughter nodded.  Her mother hadn’t called her by her pet name in years, and a tear began to fall down her cheek as she realised what that meant.


A few minutes later, Jack stood up after smoothing plaster over Wanda’s stuffed mouth, and picked up the black bag.  He silently left the room, closing the door behind him, and Wanda listened as the front door opened and closed.  She then began to twist wildly on her back, trying desperately to find some give in the ropes that were wrapped around her, and her shoes slipped off her feet and landed on the floor.


“Mmm?   MMMMMM!!!”




“Stp – ul nl hrt yrslf.”


“smnth, sht r w gng t d?”


“UI dnt kn – bt kp clm, pls!”


Samantha was trying to find some give in the ropes that held her against the back of the chair, but they had been wound so tightly around the woodwork as well that she realised there was no chance of getting free.  Instead, she started to try and shuffle her chair so that she was closer to where her mother was lying.


As she did so, however, the foot of a leg caught on the carpet, and with a sickening thud Samantha fell over onto her side, hitting the floor with her head.  Wanda raised her head and screamed out.


“SMNTHA!!!  Tlk t m!!”


“M ll rght, mm – dnt wrry.”






Wanda awoke with a start as the door was thrown open, and David ran in.  The screen of the television was covered in static, and looking at the curtains she could see a dim light that suggested it was the early hours of the morning.


David was in his shirt sleeves, and around his mouth were marks that indicated he had had tape over his mouth as well.  Looking first at Wanda, he saw his daughter lying on the floor and peeled the tape away from over her mouth.



“D… daddy,” Samantha croaked as she took a gulp of air, “What happened?”


“Never mind that,” he said as two policemen came in and started to untie Wanda, “I’ll tell you later.  Let’s get you and your mother free first….”


Another policeman came in.  “Sorry, Mister Johnson, it looks like they’ve taken some stuff from here as well.”


“Just get us to the hospital, please,” he said as she cried and held his daughter in his arms.