Fromt GDIT: Two’s A Crowd


Part Three

Maddie

???

I came too slowly, as if from a deep sleep. I was lying on my side and instinctively rolled over onto my back. Damn, but that was uncomfortable, I could feel my hands digging into the small of my back. Why couldn’t I move them out of the way?

It took me a few moments to realise – I was tied up. Okay I thought angrily, which one of you bastards was it this time? Paul? Robert? But no, I hadn’t been at home had I? I’d been at Sabrina’s telling her about how Delores had framed me. So what the hell was I doing trussed up?

My wrists were crossed and bound behind my back, further they were pinned to the small of my back by a rope around my waist. Dammit, that meant I wouldn’t be able to perform my usual trick of slipping my bound hands under my legs and picking the knots with my teeth. Not that I could have done that anyway, something had been stuffed in my mouth, held there by a strip of tape across my lips. Finally my boots had been removed and my legs crossed and bound at the ankle.

I rolled around on the floor, testing my bonds and trying to find a weak spot but there was none and I just exhausted myself.

I had no idea how long I’d been unconscious but it was dark, nighttime. My parents would be home by now, they’d have realised I was gone. How long would it be before they started to suspect I was actually missing? Straight away? Or not until I failed to arrive home for my 9 o’clock curfew?

Scared and helpless I lay in the darkness waiting, what for I wasn’t sure, but tied up like I was there wasn’t much else I could do. Eventually after what felt like hours – come to think of it, it probably was – dawn came around and soft golden sunlight filtered in through a curtainless window.

As the light began to illuminate the room and my eyes adjusted to the darkness I found I could make out shapes, specifically boxes piled up in one corner. Other than that the room appeared to be empty, unused. It was a fairly small room, smaller even than the garage where dad keeps his car, and I realised with mounting dread I knew exactly where I was – Sabrina’s back bedroom.

She’d shown me it once, ages ago when she first moved in, she’d been so proud of the flat, pokey though it was it was her own home, hers and Sean’s and she’d given me the full guided tour. The back bedroom was unfurnished, with the cost of the mortgage they couldn’t afford to have the whole house decorated and so for practical reasons that particular room had been left untouched. Still. She’d told me; there was plenty of time for that, one day when they were ready this would be the nursery.

And now here I was being held prisoner in that self same room by Sabrina herself, but why? Did it have something to do with that had happened to Sean? To Suzee? My god, what if Suzee was right all along, what if Sabby really was a sucka-wotzit?

My mind drifted back to a conversation I’d had with Charlie a couple of weeks back. “Perhaps” Charlie had suggested “Sabby isn’t Sabby at all, perhaps she’s Kerrie” She’d been joshing with me as it turned out but what if she was right? How does that old saying go? Many a true word spoken in jest? On my god, that makes such perfect sense. Kerrie must have killed Sabrina and taken her place, now she was eliminating everyone who might recognise the difference – Sean, Suzee, me. Who was next? – Aunt Lavinia? Tracey?

I had to get out of there, I had to escape somehow and raise the alarm. But how? Kerrie had tied me up in such a way that my gymnastics prowess wasn’t going to help me and I wasn’t anywhere near strong enough to break the ropes.

Then as the room grew slowly lighter I saw it, my salvation. Against one wall a series of screws were embedded, probably all that remained of a bookshelf the previous occupants of the house had taken down when they moved out. The lowest of those screws couldn’t be more than 2 feet off the ground, if I could just reach it.. Maybe, just maybe I might be able to work myself free.

Slowly I shuffled across the bare wooden floor on my back until I was underneath one of the screws. I didn’t dare try to stand, not with my ankles crossed and tied, if I lost my balance and fell Kerrie would be sure to hear. No I had to concentrate on getting my ankles free first, then I could work on my hands.

Pressing close against the wall I swing my feet up and managed to hook the cord that bound them over the lowest screw. Then I began to saw slowly back and forth. It was a difficult task not least because I was balanced uncomfortably on my elbows, almost doing a handstand. Thankfully the cords that Kerrie had used to tie my ankles were thin and fairly worn, I wondered where she had found them.

It was still an unbearably slow process but eventually I felt the rope snap and with a bit of wriggling I managed to pull one ankle free from its bindings. Relieved I let my legs drop gently back to the floor, kicking the air in an attempt to get the circulation going again in my feet. I was halfway there now; I’d be free in no time.

Pressing my back against the wall I used it as an anchor and pushed myself up until I was standing. Now if I could just saw my wrists free…

But before I could do anything I heard footsteps in the corridor outside.. Kerrie was up and she was coming for me. For a moment I was struck motionless, too terrified to do anything.

Then I saw it, my one chance to get away. It was a slim one, but I had to try. Ignoring the pins and needles running up my legs from my newly freed feet I hurried across to the door, reaching it just as the key began turning in the lock.

Poised, ready, my heart beating faster than an acid house remix, I waited for the door to open. Thankfully it opened outwards and as soon as there was a wide enough gap I put my head down and ran as fast as I could out of the door.

It worked – sort of – Kerrie was caught off guard, and I shot past her before she could even think to try and stop me, but I hadn’t thought this through, there was nowhere for me to go, and with my hands tied behind me it was impossible to stop myself. I ploughed straight into a low table clipping it with my knee and sending both myself and Sabrina’s cordless telephone flying.

Pain shot up and down my leg, cancelling out the pins and needles and my left kneecap burned where it had impacted with the table. I screamed in agony but to my horror the sound that emerged was no louder than a mouse’s squeal, I had been well gagged. Somehow that was the most frightening thing of all.

Kerrie – I had to keep reminding myself this was Kerrie and not Sabrina, they really are identical – towered over me, looking down on me with contempt. She was wearing a yellow v-neck sweater, faded blue denim mini skirt and black footless tights, flat white pumps on her feet.

She shook her head disdainfully as if I were some misbehaving five year old “Stupid little bitch, what did you think you were going to do? Run straight out the open door into the street? Get up”

Terrified I tried to pull myself up but it wasn’t easy with my hands tied and it hurt to put pressure on my bad knee. After I’d fallen back down twice Kerrie gave a theatrical sigh and leaning down, grabbed my hair in one hand. Her black painted nails cut into my skull threatening to pull the hair out by its roots.

“I said ‘Get up!’ she repeated pulling me to my feet and dragging me, doubled over and screaming into my gag, into the front room. Once there she threw me down onto the sofa, the same sofa I had been curled up on the afternoon before – at least I assumed it was only yesterday, I had no real idea how long I’d actually been out.

I could feel the tears streaming down my face where I was no longer able to hide the sheer unprecedented terror I was feeling. I had never felt as helpless or as scared as I was at that moment, not when I was kidnapped by Mrs King, not even when that evil man Fenton tried to blow us all up in the salon, no this was worse than both those occasions combined. And what made it so utterly terrifying was Kerrie, her uncanny resemblance to her sister, my surrogate sister, Sabrina, one of the kindest most caring people I knew, it was like looking at an evil mirror image of someone I loved.

Kerrie reached down and yanked the tape mercilessly from my lips, taking lipstick and skin with it by the feel of it. Gratefully – hard to believe there was anything I could be grateful for where that woman was concerned but believe me it was a relief to be able to breathe through my mouth again – I spat out the wad that had filled my mouth. As I did so I couldn’t help but look down to see what I had been chewing on for the past few hours. Oh god, I wish I hadn’t. A pair of sheer nylon knickers – Yuck! I just hope they were clean.

“Wh-what are you going to do with me?” I found myself asking, my voice dry and raspy from the gag.

Kerrie sat on the wooden coffee table facing me. She didn’t answer straight away; rather she took my chin in her hand and twisted my head from side to side as if examining me.

“I don’t know,” she said at last “Maybe I’ll sell you on E-bay. A pretty young thing like you is sure to raise a good few bids”

I stared at her, deep down I knew she was joking, taunting me, but helpless as I was I couldn’t help thinking that if she really wanted to sell me she would find a way.

“Yo-you can’t,” I stammered.

Kerrie slapped me hard across the right cheek, hard enough to make my ears ring.

“Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do, you little hussy” she snarled. The hostility in her voice made me cringe and I shrank slightly in my seat, trying to make myself even smaller than I am “Oh yes, that’s right, you should be ashamed. Did you think Sabby didn’t know about you and Sean? No, she was onto you, you and your little Lolita act.”

I couldn’t believe it. What was she accusing me of? Seducing Sean? As if!

Kerrie grabbed my chin again forcing my head up so my eyes met hers “Well I dealt with Sean and I dealt with that belligerent little sister of his. And I thought I’d dealt with you too. It wasn’t all your fault I know, Sean’s a menace, he likes his girls young and Sabby was getting a bit long in the tooth for him. You were just the next in a long line of teenage girls he’s talked into bed”

“But I never-” I protested but Kerrie pinched my cheeks tighter, a warning that I should shut up.

“You had a lucky escape; he would have gotten bored with you too in time. I knew you weren’t fully to blame so I figured losing your job would be punishment enough, that’s why I planted that fifty on you. But you had to try and get your job back didn’t you? If you’d just kept quiet and taken your punishment like you deserved you would have been fine. Now I’m going to have to deal with you more permanently, and you’ve only got yourself to blame”

“N-no you can’t” I sobbed with more confidence than I actually felt “I-I have family, friends, they’ll come looking for me”

Kerrie laughed cruelly “Let them. It’s not as if they’ll ever find you, not where you’re going. No, you’ll become just another statistic, another runaway teenager. And eventually your family will stop looking for you and move on with their lives, just like mine did”

She picked up the still moist nylon underwear from the sofa beside me and held it up to my mouth, I tried to clench my teeth against it, hold my mouth closed but Kerrie grabbed my hair and yanked my head back sharply. I cried out in pain and instantly the ball was back in my mouth, tickling the back of my throat. Kerrie picked up a roll of duct tape from the coffee table and tore a strip off, sealing my lips shut once more.

“Wait there” She said, a little redundantly before getting to her feet.

As soon as Kerrie was out of sight I began twisting and squirming in my bonds, desperate to get free, but she returned within moments carrying my ankle boots. Kneeling down in front of me she helped me into them, then she grabbed me by the elbow and pulled me to my feet “Come on, we’re going for a little drive”

My heart surged with renewed hope, she couldn’t just walk me out of the front door, bound and gagged. That would raise a few eyebrows, even in this town. She would have to untie me and once she did I could try and make another break for it. My knee was still throbbing a little but I could stand on it now, it was probably just bruised. I was, I hoped, fit enough to run.

We stopped in the hallway “You can’t go outside like that” Kerrie said. This was it; any moment now she’d cut me free “You’ll catch your death. You need a coat”

My heart sank as she retrieved my pink puffer from the coat stand and slipped it over my shoulders, zipping it up at the front and trapping my hands even more tightly against the small of my back. To be so close to freedom and then to have it snatched back. it was like she was playing with me.

Kerrie pulled the hood of my jacket up over my head, effectively hiding my gag. Now not only could no-one see I was tied up but they wouldn’t be able to tell what I looked like either, there was no evidence I’d ever even been here, to Sabrina’s flat. Oh why hadn’t I thought to tell someone where I was going? I bet Charlie wouldn’t make a stupid mistake like that.

Kerrie put her arm around my shoulder and led me out to where Sabrina’s Peugeot 306 was parked in front of the house. I looked anxiously around under the hood of my jacket but nobody was about. Most people were probably at work I guessed

“If you promise to be good Maddie I’ll let you ride in the front” Kerrie whispered “Do you promise?”

I nodded meekly and Kerrie opened the passenger side door, helping me inside. Then closing and locking the door behind me (as if I could have opened it again anyway in my condition) she ran round to the driver’s side.

Once firmly in her seat Kerrie reached across and pulled my seatbelt down, locking me into my seat. “We wouldn’t want to get pulled over now would we” she smiled, before securing her own belt and starting up the engine.

Part Five

Maddie

Kerrie took no chances with her driving, always staying well within the speed limit and keeping a safe distance from the car in front, just in case they should happen to notice she had a bound and gagged teenager in her passenger seat. I tried shaking my head free of the hood in the hope a passing driver might notice the tape over my mouth but it remained firmly in place, hiding my face.

At first I wondered where she was taking me, but the further from Crookesville we got the more familiar our route seemed to become. I’d been this way before, a couple of months ago with Sabby. We were headed into Swindon, to the squat where Kerrie had arranged to meet her, the meeting that never was. We were going back to where it all started, but why?

Sure enough Kerrie pulled up in the back alley behind the squat. Getting out of the car she walked round to the passenger side and leaned in; popping open the glove box she retrieved a torch, which she gripped like a cosh. Only then did she reach over and unfasten my seat belt.

Taking me by the elbow she dragged me out of the car and towards the rear gate. The padlock I had seen the policeman use to lock it just a couple of months earlier and which old Bob had subsequently forced open still hung there, broken and useless. Obviously no-one had been back here since or maybe they had and Old Bob just kept breaking back in.

She pushed me through the open gate into the overgrown back garden, I tried to pull away but with my hands tied behind me and my body cocooned in my puffer jacket there was nothing I could do.

Helpless to resist I was dragged into the house and up a wooden staircase into a musty smelling bedroom. Like the downstairs rooms I’d seen on my last visit it had been stripped out, though the remains of a venetian blind hung in the window and a couple of shelves still hung on the far wall.

In the corner furthest from the door and window lay what I took to be a bundle of rags. I fancied I saw the pile move slightly and hoped it was just a shadow. God forbid it was a rat.

“Welcome to your new home” Kerrie sneered, she whipped my puffer jacket from about my shoulders, pushing me further into the room as she did so. I tripped on a loose floorboard and collapsed to my knees; with my hands tied I couldn’t reach out to brace myself and it was sheer good fortune – and ten long years of gymnastics training – that stopped me falling flat on my face. Kerrie barely seemed to notice.

“Say hello to your room mate” she continued. She switched on the torch, focusing the beam on the pile of rags in the corner. To my horror the light revealed a girl’s face, half hidden under greasy, unwashed black hair, and caked with dried blood on the left temple. Her mouth was taped shut just like mine and a pair of hazel eyes peeked out from under her bloody fringe, staring dully into the light.

It was Suzee I realised with a start, Sean’s sister. How long had she been here? She smelled of sweat and piss so I guessed it must have been a few days at least. She wore a black wool cardigan over a slim line black knee dress, black patterned tights and brown leopard print pumps, a thick grey belt around her midriff. She lay there motionless, arms bound behind her back, bound ankles tucked up under her, her light laboured breathing the only sign she was still alive, her entire body slumped in defeat.

I shuffled forward on my knees trying to reach her, but Kerrie grabbed the collar of my cardigan and dragged me back. My shins scraped against the wooden floorboards even through my denim jeans; thank God I decided not to wear a skirt for once.

“Naughty naughty” Kerrie chided, her voice cold and sinister. She pushed me forward onto my face and grabbed my legs. I tried fighting back but was unable to stop her binding my ankles in the same way as Suzi’s Then just as I thought she was done I felt my feet being pulled up and tied to my wrists.

I felt Kerrie stand up and take a step back as if to get a better look at me. As I lay on my stomach hogtied and gagged it began to sink in just how desperate my situation was, I was a good twenty miles from home trussed up like a turkey in a derelict house and nobody had the slightest clue where I was. Kerrie could just leave me here to starve, assuming the house didn’t collapse on top of me first, and no one would be any the wiser.

I rolled over onto my side to get a better look at Kerrie, to see if there was any sign of compassion in her eyes but her attention was elsewhere, she stood stock still in the middle of the room listening intently, but to what?

A moment later I heard it too, a creak on the stairs, someone else was in the house.

“Ground floors clear Dave, I’m just checking the bedrooms now” A woman’s voice, fairly young by the sound of it, but who was she talking to? Were there two of them?

I wondered if I had strength enough to scream or kick out, to make enough noise to attract attention, but Kerrie towered over me and she placed her foot against my throat “Make one sound” she hissed “and I’ll crush your thorax like it was paper”

Looking into her eyes I had no doubt she could and would do it, so I lay there meekly and waited for her to make the next move. I could hear doors being opened and closed, footsteps as the girl checked out the upstairs rooms. She appeared to be alone so where was the man she’d been speaking to? Was he waiting downstairs?

Finally the woman came to the room we were in, the one furthest from the stairs. As the handle started to move Kerrie released her hold on my throat and stepped back out of sight, her finger up against her lips as if we were playing some sort of joke.

The door opened slowly and in she came. I could see her clearly through the light from the hallway behind her, she was no more than 20 with red hair down about her shoulders and a freckled face, she wore a yellow hard hart and luminous jacket over a black sweater, jeans and timberland boots.

In one hand she carried a large torch, in the other what looked like a walkie-talkie. She swung the torch around the room checking the corners. I was practically underneath her and I don’t think she even realised I was there but then her torch illuminated Suzee tied up in the corner and she gave a little gasp of surprise.

After that everything happened very quickly, Kerrie sprang out from behind the door knocking both the torch and walkie-talkie from the girl’s hands as she rugby tackled her to the floor. The girl tried to scream but Kerrie’s hand was over her mouth, stifling her cries. Somewhere in the struggle she’d lost her hard hat and Kerrie slammed her unprotected head down against the floorboards so hard it made me wince with pain.

“Is there anyone else with you?” Kerrie hissed, not removing her hand from the girl’s mouth.

Terrified she shook her head “Nmm”

“Is that the truth? If you’re lying to me I will kill you”

“Yss”

“Okay who are you and what are you doing here” Slowly Kerrie removed her hand from the girl’s mouth.

“L-Lizzy, – er- E-Elizabeth Brown. I-I’m just checking for squatters. The council are demolishing this whole street this afternoon, W-we need to check there’s no-one in here first. P-please you need to get out”

“Oh don’t worry I will” Kerrie reached over and grabbed the girl’s radio “But first you need to report in, tell your boss this house is empty”

Terrified Lizzy took the walkie-talkie in her trembling hands and pressed a red button on the side

“U-upstairs bedrooms clear” She said nervously

“Okay Lizzy” The voice came back “That’s the last of them. You can clock off now if you like, go get yourself some lunch”

“Th-thanks Dave”

“Don’t be late back” Dave continued apparently oblivious to the fear in her voice “This afternoon’s going to be a blast.” He laughed at his own joke “This is your first demolition job right? Looking forward to it?”

“I w-was”

“Cold feet eh. Well don’t worry about it. I’ve been doing this twenty years and I’ve not killed anybody yet”

“Th-that’s good to know”

Kerrie snatched the Walkie-talkie from her before Lizzy could say any more and threw it against the wall, then rolling the girl onto her stomach she began tying her hands behind her back with some rope she pulled from her pocket

“Luckily I thought to bring plenty of spare in case either of you gave me trouble” Kerrie said directing her explanation at me. “You can never be too well prepared”

“Puh-please” Lizzy was sobbing as Kerrie secured her in a hogtie “You can’t do this. They’re going to demolish this whole street. We’ll be killed”

But Kerrie ignored her. She fished a handkerchief from her pocket and forced it into the girl’s mouth tying it in place with another length of rope. Apparently being prepared didn’t extend to carrying rolls of duct tape everywhere.

Once she was done with Lizzy Kerrie came back over and double-checked my bonds then did the same with Suzee. Apparently satisfied she walked out closing the door behind her.

After Kerrie left us I immediately set about trying to free myself from my bonds. I’m not exactly inexperienced in escaping from tie-ups – growing up the only girl in a house with three older brothers it’s pretty much a standard requirement. But there’s a huge difference between being hogtied by a playful teenager and being trussed up by the bitch from hell. As hard as I struggled I achieved nothing, except maybe for wearing myself out.

Exhausted I reluctantly admitted defeat. There was no way I was going to get out of these ropes unaided…. Of course! That’s when it hit me, I wasn’t alone, there were two other people in the room with me, surely if we worked together…

Struggling into a sitting position I looked around the room at my fellow captives. Suzee was virtually catatonic, her eyes staring listlessly into space; she wasn’t going to be much help. So I turned to look at the other girl, the council worker, what was her name? Liz? Lizzie? She lay on her side curled up in a ball sobbing into her gag and shivering from more than just the cold.

Slowly I began crawling across to her…

It seemed to take me forever for me to crawl across to Lizzie by which time I could feel the sweat dripping off my body. I was just glad Kerrie had thought to remove my puffer jacket before hogtying me, I think I would have melted into the floorboards if I’d still been wearing it.

Twisting round so my back was to her I stretched out my fingers, trying to pull the gag from her teeth, but the rope bit tight against her cheeks refusing to budge. I could hear my breath, ragged beneath my own tape gag as I strained to reach the knot at the back of her head. It was hopeless. And it didn’t help that my hands were tied not only to my feet but against the small of my back too; it was all I could do not to kick the girl in the face as I struggled to remove her gag. Finally, exhausted and defeated, I gave up and slumped to the floor beside my fellow captive.

Up until this point Lizzie had been slumped in a semi foetal position on the floor but just as the last of my courage seemed to be slipping away from me she suddenly found hers. She pulled herself into a sitting position and twisted around, stretching out with her hands as best she could, her long thin fingers reaching for my face.

Realising her intent I wriggled slightly closer moving my head down so she could reach the tape across my lips.

I could feel her fingers picking away at one of the edges, carefully getting a purchase. “Now” She grunted and I pulled away, feeling the tape peel free like a plaster.

“Owww!” I wailed softly to myself spitting out the heavy packing. “Thank you” I added croakily, addressing the girl beside me.

She smiled as best she could through the rope gag., and twisted round offering her bound wrists to me.
I wondered what to do next, my mouth was free but my throat was too dry to call for help, even assuming there was someone around to hear.

On the other hand …My dentist wasn’t going to like this but needs must. Reaching over as best I could I began to pick at the knots around Lizzie’s wrists with the only tools available to me – my teeth.

I have no idea how long I spent chewing at the rope around Lizzy’s wrists, but it felt like hours. In the end all I got for my trouble was a dislodged brace, bleeding gums and a nasty taste in my mouth that I couldn’t get rid of. And despite being a little damp the ropes were as secure as ever

I stopped when I felt my fellow captive nudging me with her bound feet, her steel capped boots digging painfully into my already sore shoulder.

“I’m going as fasht ash I can” I slurred, the misplaced brace giving my voice a pronounced lisp.

She looked at me and shook her head, then directed her eyes toward the corner of the room, pointing as best she could with her nose. “-ook” She mumbled “O-er –ere”

I followed her gaze and saw laying in the corner her discarded radio. “-e –an –al –o- -elg” She tried to explain “-one on” And with that she began pushing herself along the floor on her belly towards the radio.

Seeing what she had in mind I followed her lead. The radio had a big red button on the front, and it would take two of us to use it, one to hold down the button and the other to call out to the person on the other end.

It was slow progress, as tightly tied as we were even crawling on our bellies proved a near impossible task, but eventually we reached our goal. Twisting round Lizzie reached out with her bound hands grasping at the radio.

It took her several attempts but finally her fingers clasped the bulky wooden box. With an elated grunt she lifted it off the floor…

My face fell as I saw the radio literally collapse in her hands. It must have broken when Kerrie threw it against the wall, the casing was shattered and parts spilled out onto the floor. Another attempt at escape had failed.

I sank back in despair, tears welling up in my eyes. So this was it? Any minute now the building around me would be demolished and I would be killed. I wondered if my body would even be found among the rubble, and what of my parents? My brothers? What would they think? They’d probably have heard by now about my getting fired from the salon. Would they assume I was guilty and had run away in shame?

No, I couldn’t die, not without clearing my name. I struggled fiercely against my bonds, as if I might find some last reserve of inner strength and snap them but it was no good. I was completely helpless.

Lizzie nudged me gently and made shushing noises through her gag. I thought she was just trying to comfort me at first but then I heard it, somewhere across the landing a floorboard creaked

I froze. There was someone in the house. But was rescue really at hand? What if it was Kerrie come back to check on us? No why would she? She seemed confident enough we wouldn’t get free and with the demolition crew around she wouldn’t want to risk drawing attention to the place.

I figured we had nothing to lose, if it was Kerrie the worst that could happen was that she’d kill me now rather than later. Gathering up all my strength I shouted at the top of my voice “IN HERE! HELP US! QUICKLY! WE’RE IN HERE”

I heard footsteps in the hallway outside, hurrying in our direction, then the handle of the door began to turn…

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