January 9, 2014
My sixteenth birthday was approaching and what should have been a landmark birthday was marred by the fact that it was also my first birthday without dad who was away in Russia. Mum did her best to make the day as special as she could but although none of us said anything I know we all felt there was something missing.
In the evening mum treated us all to a meal at Solihull’s top Italian restaurant. We got home around 9:30 and checking my texts I squealed again “Oh wow. Joanna’s coming down to see me this weekend. That’s so mega. Excellent! I can’t wait to introduce her to all my new friends; they are going to love her. Hey mum, do you think I could have a slumber party Friday night? Have a few of the girls over from school?”
“I don’t know about that, I don’t mind Joanna being here, she’s a sensible responsible girl but I’m not to sure about you having a party, not when I won’t be here.”
Shoot! In my excitement I’d forgotten that mum had to go down to London Friday to sort out our old flat. A few days ago the estate agent had rung to say he now had a buyer and mum was going up to take care of the paperwork in person. She’d arranged to stay over night with Dad’s sister and wasn’t coming back until late Saturday afternoon. After much convincing and promising that I’ll look after Catherine, my younger sister, or Cate, she agreed.
I was excited now, I hadn’t seen Joanna since we’d moved from London to Solihull, though I e-mailed her often and tried to speak to her on skype at least once a week. Jo’s family had lived in the same apartment building as us and we’d been inseparable for over 10 years. She was three months older than me and subsequently had been a year above me all through school, now while I was struggling with school she was in the first term of Beauty college. In many ways Beauty college was Joanna’s calling, she’d always been far more feminine than me, constantly experimenting with make up and hairstyles. I wondered idly what she’d look like when I saw her on Friday.
Friday came and I was extremely excited both about the sleepover and seeing Jo. The house had been a bustle of activity that morning, mum had been getting ready to catch the train to London. There was a bus stop round the corner from the school, I searched through my purse and managed to scrape together just enough change for a single child’s fare to the bus station. The buses were just unloading their passengers when I got there. Desperately I searched through the crowds for a familiar face, but I couldn’t see Joanna anywhere. Where could she be?
A voice in my ear made me jump “Alright Chelle?” I swung round and there was Joanna stood behind me holding a big green rucksack, a stupid grin on her face. We hugged and kissed each other on both cheeks, and then we both took a step back and looked each other up and down.
“Chelle, you better change out of that the instant we’re at your house.” My friends always called me Chelle, alright my parents used Michelle while Cate used Mich.
I blushed, I’d momentarily forgotten I was still in my school uniform – a blue blazer, white blouse, and pleated dark blue knee length skirt along with black tights and black loafers – certainly I didn’t look anywhere near as cool or as beautiful as Joanna. She was wearing a stonewashed blue denim jacket over a pink crew neck t-shirt with ‘Miami’ in white letters across the chest, a figure hugging red lycra mini skirt, blue tights and pink mid-calf boots. Her hair was a mass of golden blonde curls loose about her shoulders, a floppy fringe hanging down over her eyes. At 177cm Jo was much taller than I was but I felt the same age as Catherine stood next to her.
“You like?” she asked giving me a little jokey twirl “I should hope so, this outfit cost me a small fortune. Feel my tights, go on, feel ‘em.” She lifted one leg and I reluctantly stroked it, it felt so incredibly soft. “Very nice” I admitted. “Pure 100% silk” She said proudly “But that’s nothing. You remember I was always scared of getting my ears pierced? Well…” She reached up with magenta nails and brushed her hair back behind her ears, large gold hoops hung from each lobe and there was an additional stud in her upper left ear.
“Wow!” I gasped “Are they real? What happened?” Jo laughed “Beauty school happened, that’s what. We did piercing in class a few weeks ago and I agreed to let the teacher demonstrate on me” she indicated the stud in her left ear “Once I’d had this one done I realised there was nothing to be frightened off so the very next day I went out and got my lobes done too.” I absently fingered the silver studs in my own ears as I explained to Joanna that had no money for the bus back to home.
“Don’t sweat it Chelle”, she laughed “I’m working four nights a week at a cinema near the college, it’s good pay too. I think I can swing to a taxi.” Joanna hoisted her rucksack up onto her back and followed me through the station to the taxi rank.
The taxi driver was listening to Radio Solihull and I shushed Joanna when the 5 o’clock news came on, my attention caught by the lead news item.”Excuse me could you turn the radio up a moment please” I asked, the driver did so and I listened carefully to the remainder of the item.”… the man who is believed to be armed and highly dangerous remains at large after escaping from prison this morning. He is described as Caucasian, over 6 feet tall with a bald head and black beard. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a black t-shirt, there is a scar down his left cheek and a tattoo of a heart with ‘mum’ written across it on his lower right arm. Residents of Solihull are warned not to approach this man but to call the police immediately if they think they see him. In other news….”
Joanna giggled nervously. “Oh great so there’s an armed maniac on the loose in Solihull is there? And to think people say London is dangerous.” I shrugged “I wouldn’t worry about it. He’s probably well out of the area by now.” Still I couldn’t help worrying. What if Cate had run into the man on her way home? She could be his hostage now, or worse…
I unlocked the front door and showed Jo inside. Cate’s jacket was hanging on the end of the banister while her ankle boots lay discarded on the floor just inside the door. I called out to her but she didn’t reply. Taking Joanna’s denim jacket I hung it up in the hallway alongside my school blazer. Joanna sat down on the stairs, resting her rucksack against the wall, and pulled off her pink boots. Kicking off my own school loafers I prepared to go upstairs and change into something a little more comfortable. First though I pointed Joanna in the direction of the kitchen and urged her to go and fix herself something to eat and drink. Halfway up the stairs Joanna called me back “Err…Chelle, I think you’d better come and see this” There was a nervousness to her voice that I hadn’t heard before so I turned round and walked back down the stairs.
“What’s the problem, Jo?” I asked “Spider in the kitchen?”
I gave an involuntary gasp as I followed her finger. In the far corner of the kitchen, half hidden behind the table was Cate. She lay on her side her back to us, apparently unconscious, still dressed in her black T-Shirt and trousers, white pop socks on her feet. We could tell she hadn’t just fainted but her wrists and ankles were bound with plastic ties. I rushed up and knelt over her, saw that duct tape had been wrapped around her head and mouth, what was more her cheeks were swollen under the tape as if something had been stuffed into her mouth before the gag were applied.
Cate lay so still I was worried she might have choked on her gag but she let out a low moan and I knew that though only just conscious she was alive. Before I could do anything however I heard a gruff voice behind me.
“Okay missy, that’s enough. Stand up and turn round slowly.”
Terrified I did as I was told, and came face to face with a bald, bearded man wearing jeans and a black t-shirt. He sported a scar down his left cheek and had his right arm locked around Joanna’s neck, an arm that proudly displayed a ‘daggar tattoo. A pistol with a silencer was pressed against her head.
“You!” I said recognising him straight away from the description on the radio “You’re the man who escaped from prison.”
“That’s me” he retorted.
“What are you doing in our house?” I demanded a bravado to my voice which I really did not feel. At the same time I was walking slowly towards the man though I had no idea what I hoped to achieve.
“Don’t sweat it kid, I ain’t looking to hurt no-one, yet” His words made me flinch, I hate people using double negatives like that. I wondered what he meant by that but a moment later I found out. Releasing his hold on Joanna’s neck he pushed her towards me
“Catch your friend.”
Joanna skidded across the kitchen, her silk tights slipping against the well polished linoleum floor and tumbled into my arms nearly toppling us both over. I held my friend tightly, looked into her frightened eyes, she was almost in tears. “Don’t you dare cry” I whispered “You’ll ruin your mascara” she laughed at that and I knew if I could show I was calm she’d be okay.
“Catch,” The guy said, and I caught a small bundle. Insider were plastic ties and a roll of tape. Secure your friend like I did to the little one,” he ordered.I considered defying him but what good would that do? The both of us would probably shot or injured by him. At least while we were awake we had a fighting chance.
Joanna seemed to read my mind “Best do as he says Chelle” She whispered. Turning so her back was to me she crossed her hands behind her back and offered them up to me. Reluctantly I wrapped the plastic ties around her slender wrists. “No, another tie around her wrists,” he said, the gun pressed against me. Thus, Jo’s hands were bound with the ties in a cross like manner.
“Now, catch this, lass,” he said and I felt something cotton-like in my hands. It was one of my own knickers.
“You pervert. What are you doing with my underwear?” I asked.
“It’s what you’ll be doing hun. Now, stuff thme in your pretty friend’s mouth.”
“What???!!! You’re sick. No!” This I’ll definitely not do.
He calmly shifted his aim towards my sister and that did it. “Ok, ok, you win. I can’t believe I’m doing this. Sorry, Jo,” I said as I raised my own undies to her lips.
”All the way in” he ordered sharply. “Uh-Uh” the man reprimanded twirling his index finger in a clockwise direction as I plastered a piece of tape, condemning my friend to sucking my own under “Right round the head, just like I did with Blondie there” He indicated the still unconscious Cate. Lifting as much of Joanna’s curly blonde hair out of the way as possible I pulled the tape round against the back of her neck, then up onto her cheek again and across the first layer so her mouth was covered not once but twice. Although I succeeded in keeping most of Joanna’s hair out of the way of the tape I unfortunately managed to snag one of her large hoop earrings and it became trapped against her left cheek.
“Okay, that should be enough” I felt relieved when the intruder stopped me and cut the tape from the roll. “Wait, don’t tell me you gagged Cate with my underwear too?” I remarked.
“Nah, that’s only for you teens. I used a piece of cloth.” That was some comfort.
”Well, I guess it’s my turn now is it?” I asked annoyed that my voice was so obviously full of fear. “
He sneered “Put your hands behind your back.” I did as I was told but before he could even begin to tie me the doorbell rang. The man froze “Who’s at the door?” he demanded.
I had a fairly good idea it would be one of the other girls I’d invited over but I wasn’t going to tell him that “I-I don’t know. I can’t see from here”.
“Very funny” The man grabbed me roughly by the arm and pressed the pistol against my back “Let’s go and see shall we.”
‘The Intruder’ marched me back out into the hall and up to the front door. Through the frosted glass I could make out at least two figures on the far side of the door and for a moment my heart soared. Could it be the police? Had someone seen the man enter our home and reported it?
”Who are they?” he hissed As I’d feared it was the girls I’d invited to my sleepover. They must have met up on the way over. It seemed I had no choice but to tell the truth.
“They’re friends of mine. They’re here for a slumber party”
“A slumber party? Like a sleepover you mean? So their parents think they’re spending the night here?”
I realised then I’d said the wrong thing. If everyone thought my friends were spending the night here there was no way any of us were going to missed before morning at the very earliest. On the other hand if I sent them away it might have aroused suspicions.
Sure enough he seemed to have come to the same conclusion. “Best let them in then.” he whispered “Careful though, no tricks. Remember I’ve got two hostages in the kitchen and I will hurt them if I have to.”
Forcing myself to smile I opened the door “Hi girls, glad you could all make it.”
Jenn was first through the door. She was wearing a white denim jacket, orange shoulder strap top, cropped navy blue jeans and white trainers with white ankle socks, an orange head scarf covered her close cropped hair. Behind her was Lin 166cm tall and growing taller. She also has the most vibrant infectious personality, you can’t help but like her. This evening she’d tied her hair in a French plait. Lin was wearing a black leather bomber jacket, a low cut yellow t-shirt and a red tartan mini skirt. Her legs were sheathed in red nylons and a pair of black open toed strap ups added a good 10-15cm to her height. Leanne was behind her Last but not least there was Leanne, whose black hair is not as long as Lin’s but still falls a good 20-25 centimeters below her shoulders. Tonight her hair was loose, tucked back neatly behind her ears. She wore a white hooded fleece over a white vest, a khaki skirt and a pair of black calf high slouch boots. At 173cm she was the tallest of the trio.
I ushered the girls into the hall. Accepting the wrapped presents each gave me and placing them on the telephone table.
“Why have you still got your uniform on Chelle?” Jenn asked “I thought you’d be dressed up to the nines and ready to party.” She pronounced the last word part-ay.
The front door slammed shut making us all jump “Hello” said a voice. The girls turned around and Lin and Jenn screamed with fright as they recognised the man who stood behind them pointing his pistol at us. “Okay ladies, let’s move it, through to the kitchen if you please.” With me leading the way we walked through the hall to the kitchen where we found Cate and Jo back to back, with Jo trying to peel off Cate’s gag.
”Thought you be trying to do that, girl,” he sneered, using his feet to pry them away. He then opened up his back pack and motioned to Jenn and Lin. “Ok, shortie and you, on the floor, hands behind your back.” Leanne and I were then given similar material to bound our friends. Yet again, the escaped convict produced several pairs of my knickers for us to stuff their mouths. He must have raided my cupboard and the laundry. Pevert, Super Pevert, I thought, as I regrettably gagged my friend. Leanne was then finally trussed and gagged.
“Can I expect any more visitors this evening?” He asked. I shook my head, offering up a silent prayer that mum was safe.
“Chelle is it? Is that what your friend called you?”
“My friends call me Chelle” I corrected him trying to maintain the façade that I wasn’t scared “You may call me Michelle”.
“Alrighttt… Michelle, You’re friends may be pretty and dressed up, but you’re hot. Now, let’s go upstairs to your room shall we?”
The gun told me all I needed to know. Still, As I was forced up, I muttered, “Your quite a perverted person, using my knickers as gags.”
The gun was pushed against my back, “Silence, or you’ll get it”. I obeyed.
In my room, I was forced to my knees and like my sister and unsuspecting friends, he drew out one of my black bikini knickers and stuffed it in my mouth, sealing it with tape. What came next was a surprise: Instead of trussing me up, he reached behind and struck me on my neck. I saw stars and fell unconscious.
My eyes were cloudy and finally my eye sight returned, only to see a pitch blackness. “Mmmmpph” I cried, realising that I was still gagged. I attempted to move, but something was crushing my arms, which seemed pinned behind my back. Half a minute later, I discovered that I was in some sort of trunk, my wrists and ankles bound behind my back with the plastic ties he used on my sister and friends.
I’m not claustrophobic or anything but being trapped in the space was too much for me.
“MMMHHHHHHHHHHHHHHPmmmPPP!!” I cried many times. All of a sudden, as if my cries were heard, clicking noises broke through my screams and suddenly the top popped open, revealing faces.
“It’s alright missy, we’re the police,” one began and slowly, I was helped out of what finally appeared to be a car’s boot—my mother’s car. As I was freed, the story was related to me. Cate was the one who somehow managed to reach her mobile and call the police, yelling through her gag. All of them were freed and it appeared that the convict used my mom’s car as a getway vehicle, hiding my unconscious body inside the trunk.
The guy somehow was never found and while the case remained open, my friends and i made up for the “interruption” by having a proper sleepover several weeks after.
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