The scene was a quiet street in an outer upper middle class suburb. Glenys was walking along it to a large pretentious house at the western end.
Glenys was in her mid thirties with a trim, firm figure and an oval, often smiling face. Her brown hair was worn shoulder length with a neat fringe. She was unmarried but had had relationships in the past. She had accountancy training and held a minor administrative position in a local business.
She lived alone in a neat cottage at the far end of the street and was a member of a local Committee.
This early Autumn afternoon she was on her way to visit another Committee member who lived about a kilometre away. This was a visit Glenys did not really want to make. She was going to see Kate McKane, a prominent neighbourhood lady who was not generally liked. She was arrogant, intolerant and something of a bully. Lately she was in local disfavour over a court case involving a disputed estate. She been successful because she had been able to afford the better legal counsel, but this had meant that a couple of struggling families had to struggle harder now.
Kate was in her early forties, came from a somewhat privileged background and had been divorced some years ago. She was tall, solid, dark haired and her waistline was just starting to thicken. And she had a stern uncompromising manner.
She and her intending visitor were going were going to look over some Committee papers together. Glenys considered this a minor matter and felt she could have studied the documents quite adequately in her own home, if only she had been able to get hold of them. But Kate had insisted she make a formal visit.
Glenys suspected this was because she did not get many callers these days and that also she was going to be lectured on some trivialities. She really thought the whole visit quite unnecessary and wished she could have avoided it.
Kate let her in, led her to the dining room and they both sat down at the long dinner table. Glenys wondered why this was not being attended to in her private study in a small room off to one side. Perhaps she wanted to show off her newly purchased and expensive dining setting. Kate picked up the papers.
And then the front door bell rang.
“Damn,” said Kate with a frown, “Some of those religious people I suppose. They've been hanging around lately. I’ll get rid of them.” She put down the documents, got up and strode purposefully out of the room and down the hall. The sound of voices came from the front of the house.
Left to herself, Glenys picked up the papers and began to study them. They were simple and straightforward. She became absorbed, moving from one to another until she finally came to the last.
She suddenly realised that this had taken fully ten or twelve minutes and Kate had not come back from the front door. There was only silence from the hallway now. What on earth was she doing? Then Glenys heard the sound of several approaching footsteps. Whoever the callers were, Kate must have invited them in. A complete reversal of her stated intent to send them packing.
Four people entered the dining room. Kate with a man and two women. These ladies both wore nylon rain jackets, thick winter skirts and woollen caps pulled down over their foreheads. The man was wearing a belted leather jacket, dark jeans and a baseball cap, also adjusted to hide much of his face. All three wore large dark glasses and leather gloves. Both the women had carry bags slung over their shoulders. One carried a leather briefcase.
But the big surprise was Kate. Pushed along in front of the other three, she had been bound and gagged with strips of torn cloth. Her wrists had been crossed and tied behind her back, her arms had been firmly lashed to her sides and even cinched under her armpits. And in her mouth was a large folded cloth gag which prevented her from closing her lips. She had been very effectively been rendered helpless and speechless. This must have been done to her at the front door.
Glenys was astonished. She stood up and stared at the four.
“Well then,” said the most athletic appearing of the two women, “It seems we have a visitor.” She turned to the other two. “Take Kate into her private den and get on with the business. I’ll attend to our friend here.” The other two took Kate by the forearms and steered her into her study, shutting the door as they did so. They seemed to have detailed knowledge of the McKane household.
“And now Madam,” she said, advancing toward Glenys and unslinging the carry bag from her shoulder, “It becomes necessary to tie you up. It needn’t be unpleasant. If you’re a sensible girl.” She smiled. She did have a friendly face, when she chose to show it.
Glenys was recovering from her surprise. And she also sensed something else here, something she couldn’t quite put a name to.
But she recovered her voice, “What is this? A robbery?”
Again the smile. “Well, we’re certainly going to remove something from Mrs McKane. But not from you. And it is necessary to bind and gag you. Turn around please.” The woman, it seemed, could be polite.
Glenys decided to co-operate. Though they were perhaps about the same age (she sensed this as well) the woman would probably beat her in any sort of a struggle. But at the same time her memory was persistently trying to tell her something.
And so she turned her back and even crossed her wrists behind her. Yet all the time her mind was racing. Have I seen this woman before? But where? Sometime in the past?
Swiftly, her captor got to work. Taking cloth bindings from her bag she tied Glenys’ wrists together, then she lashed her arms firmly to her torso and waist in much the same manner Kate had been secured. She bound with neatness and some care, after all her captive was being co-operative and not resisting. In reality she was quite comfortable. All the time her captive was thinking, I know this woman from somewhere.
“And now my love, it’s time to gag you. Open your pretty mouth.”
It was the expression “My love” that did it. A term of endearment first heard nearly twenty years back. Now she remembered her captor's identity.
But to explain it is necessary to go back nearly two decades to Glenys’ schooldays.
She had gone to St Catherines Ladies College, an expensive private school for the daughters of the wealthy. Educational standards had not been all that high for all the money spent, but some of the privileged young madams there had made bitchiness and bullying an art form. Glenys, a thin slight girl in those days and something of a loner had suffered from this.
On one hellish late afternoon she had been seized by two of the worst sadists, dragged into a remote, hidden corner of the quadrangle and subjected to some really nasty behaviour. The larger of the pair, nearly twice her size and strength, had pinioned her arms from behind and clamped a hand firmly over her mouth. The other, a particularly vicious bitch named Letitia St Clair came at her from the front, pulled up her tunic, yanked down her knickers and was preparing to do something unspeakable to Glenys’s vaginal orifice.
Fortunately, help was at hand.
Another girl appeared from nowhere, knocked Letitia to the ground with one blow and kicked her in the stomach when she tried to get up. Next she punched the other twice in the face, dazing her and causing her to let Glenys go. On being asked if she wanted to fight the bully had turned and fled. The rescuer had then taken their victim by the arm and led her away.
Only then did she speak. “I’m sorry I didn’t get there sooner. I’ve been keeping an eye on those two for some time. Are you all right?” Glenys was properly grateful and the two became friends from that moment onward.
This provident rescuer’s name was Beryl. Oddly, the two had hardly known each other before this. No one laid a finger on Glenys after this incident.
This friendship had only lasted a few months and then Beryl suddenly and inexplicably disappeared from St Catherines. No one knew why or where she went to. Glenys herself did not know where her friend had gone. Though the other girls continued to leave her alone.
Beryl, so newly her friend, had just vanished from Glenys’ life.
Back in Kate McKane’s dining room Glenys’ captor had taken a prepared gag out of her bag and was preparing to put it into her mouth from behind when her bound captive turned and faced her.
She addressed the lady by name. “You're Beryl. Beryl Stamp. Remember me? Glenys? St Catherines? Nearly twenty years back now. Surely you remember? Those two bitches in the courtyard? You helped me.”
The other woman looked her full in the face and then slowly smiled. “Of course. Glenys Adams. Little Glenys. How could I forget.” She put the gag down, stepped forward and embraced Glenys warmly, despite the fact that her onetime friend had been firmly tied up by herself and could not respond in kind. “How indeed could I forget you. My love.” The old term of endearment that had triggered a long dormant memory. “But what circumstances for us to meet under. Anyway, sit down.” She pulled two chairs out from the dining table, pushed her old schoolfriend down on one and sat on the other herself. She did not move to untie her. “We can talk. My colleagues are going to be busy for quite a while.” She glanced toward the study into which they had taken Kate.
Glenys had a question she had wanted an answer to for nearly twenty years. “You simply vanished from school without warning. No one knew where you went. What happened?”
Her captor smiled “When you’re expelled from St Cath's they want you out of the place at once. I was packed up and kicked out in less than half an hour.”
“Expulsion? But for what? You’d done nothing.”
“Ah, but I had. Remember how I handled Letitia when I found her groping you? She comes from a very influential family. Her mother was on the school board of directors. It took them a while to organise it but I was thrown out on a trumped up charge of insubordinate behaviour.”
Glenys was appalled. “You got expelled unjustly because you helped me? Beryl, I’m sorry.”
“Don’t be,” responded Beryl cheerfully, "Not your fault. It wasn’t entirely that incident anyway. I’d had a few run-ins with Letitia before. She was very much a person to bear a grudge. Anyway, from there I went to a state school where I got a better education at far less cost.”
“But you got kicked out, at least partly because of me. I feel responsible. You were a good friend. No one touched me after that incident. Even after you’d gone I was left completely alone. Perhaps they thought you’d come back some day. Meanwhile I had two hassle free years to settle down, study and ultimately get a reasonable pass. And I feel I owe that to you. And yet the swine expelled you, at least in part for what you did for me”.
Beryl smiled, “I told you, don’t be sorry. I was happier where I went to. Away from those insufferable, privileged young madams at St Cath’s. As I said I received a much better education. I even went on to university.”
Glenys simply looked at her on hearing this. For one who had received a tertiary education, what she was doing now didn’t seem an advancement. She assumed Beryl and her two associates were a criminal gang.
Beryl must have read her thoughts. She laughed. “Don’t think I’ve come down in the world. Nothing of the sort. This is only part of what I’m involved in now. Long ago, all I wanted to do was become a teacher. Then I slowly realised there were other things I could do. Things that would benefit me and, in a very obscure way, at least some of the rest of the world. It’s a long story, which I won’t go into here. Let’s say I’ve never regretted it. I’m far better off than I ever would have been teaching, much as I'd have loved that."
She leaned back in her chair and smiled at her securely bound school companion of long ago. Then nodded toward the door of the study. “Your associate Kate in there. I won’t call her a friend because I know she's unlikely to be one. You know about the inheritance affair she was involved in last year?”
“The whole neighbourhood knows about it,” remarked Glenys, “It was disgraceful what she did to those people in court. But of course, she had the money to do it. And get away with it.”
“Well we have some idea of what she’s done but we’re here to get the contents of her safe. And some other information. Then we’ll be on our way. But it’ll be poetic justice for some of the things Madame Kate’s done to other people.”
Glenys said, “You won’t get the safe combination or anything else out of her easily. Whatever else, she’s a stubborn, pigheaded woman.”
Her old friend laughed, “That won’t matter. We’re using a very powerful truth drug that'll have her singing like a bird. And my friends are very skilled in using it. When we’ve got all we want from her we’ll leave her doped out and she can tell the police whatever she likes when she wakes up,” she paused, “The question is, what are we going to do with you? You can certainly make a very positive identification of me, can’t you?”
Glenys was outraged. “I’ve just told you! I got the education I did because of you. And from there, what start in life I've got. I owe it all to you. Not to mention you were the best friend I’d ever had in my life! Even if it was a short friendship. And all you got in return was summary expulsion! Do you honestly think I’m going to inform on you to the police? What sort of a person do you think I am?”
Beryl smiled. “Alright then." She nodded toward the closed study door, “But there’ll be an investigation about this. The police’ll want to talk to you as well as Madame Kate in there.”
Glenys was ready for this. “Well then. There’s a gang been operating in these northern suburbs lately. Their method is to make a home invasion and bind and gag anyone they find. They use all means to get information out of them, rob them thoroughly and then depart, leaving their victims tied up or drugged.” She smiled, “And this is just the sort of thing they would do. Force their way in without warning and tie up everyone they find here. So, why not let them get the credit for this? It’ll keep the spotlight off you. ”
She continued. “They’re said to be overseas born, though directed by a local crime figure. Anyway, the story I’ll tell will be that they talked amongst themselves in some foreign language. It’ll be different from what Kate will say but I’ll also say she was terrified of them. That she was overpowered quickly, bound, gagged and then drugged most of the time. And so, not able to get an proper picture of her attackers. Whereas I was simply tied up and remained calm throughout, since I knew they weren't after me. They’ll consider me a better and more accurate, cool headed witness.”
Beryl nodded. “OK then.” She stood up, “I’ll just see how my colleagues are getting on.” She went over and entered the study.
Left to herself the bound Glenys reflected on how the old complete trust between the two friends had resurfaced. She was not gagged and had she chosen to scream she would be heard three houses away. Her legs were as yet untied. She could stand up and, bound though her arms were, simply walk out of the house. The back door was unlocked. But she would do neither of these. She had just renewed the best friendship she had ever had. And she wasn’t going to let it go again in a hurry.
Beryl returned. “They’re almost finished. About another twenty minutes then they’ll chloroform dear Kate and let her revive in her own time. Then she can come in here and release you. Which means I’m going to have to finish tying you up, securing those pretty ankles and legs. And sadly, you’ll have to be gagged as well. To leave you in any other way would look suspicious.”
Glenys laughed. "I can stand that. What’s a little bondage between friends.” They both thought this was funny. “And while you’re at it you’d better blindfold me as well. It’ll fit in with the story I’ll tell that I never got a good look at any of you. That it was done right at the beginning. Along with the tale of you all talking in far eastern accents.”
“You sound as if you ought to be one of us,” Beryl laughed. She got some more cloth strips out of her carry bag and, kneeling before Glenys, began to tie her ankles.
“You know,” reflected Glenys, as her legs were bound,”Crazy though it might sound, we both owe a debt to Letitia for bringing us together. If you hadn’t knocked her down, chased off the other one, we might never have got to know each other.” She paused, “Those two were going to force some toxic irritant into my cunt. Their idea of a joke. The bitches.”
Beryl had some further information on this. “I’ve had something to do with Letitia since then. Two, three years ago it was decided to kidnap her for ransom. She and her mother, another bitch I might add, were coming back from a trip somewhere and stopped for the night at a country motel. Our people visited them late in the evening, overpowered and bound and gagged the pair of them. They drove off with both of them captive in their own car.” She laughed at this. “Madam St Clair tied up in the back seat, Letitia similarly secured in the boot. Their luggage and personal effects packed up and taken as well. The overall picture was they had decided to leave the motel suddenly, early in the morning. Not even waiting for their breakfast.”
“Instead, they were taken to somewhere in the country. A remote, secluded place with its own airstrip where we sometimes keep people before we spirit them out of the country to distant places. They didn’t stay there for long. Madam St Clair was ultimately taken on to her own home where she spent a rewarding day at her own home office computer under our supervision helping transfer a large part of her ill-gotten funds to a specified destination. She worked quite well, having just that morning seen her daughter firmly bound, gagged, placed on a stretcher and flown away on a light aircraft. ”
”She wasn’t leaving the country her but mother was told that’s what would happen if she herself didn’t co-operate. Off to some distant destination in the Middle East or perhaps Latin America. And that’s where she’d go too if she dared breath a word about this. After that Mrs St Clair was very helpful. Letitia went to a safe house in the far north and remained there for three days. She was in the care of two lusty young men, one of them a very talented sexual performer.”
Beryl paused. “Did you know that Letitia, with all her other shortcomings, was sexually frigid?”
Glenys looked perplexed. “No, I didn’t. I know she never had a boyfriend. And she always looked unhappy. I put it down to her general bitchy nature.”
“She was passionless,” Beryl informed her, “Totally unresponsive in the arms of a male. But, for nearly seventy hours she was in the hands extremely well skilled lover.”
“At first she had to be spread-eagled to the bed. Tied by wrists and ankles with silk sashes. For several hours she fought tooth and nail but our young man was persistent, and knew how to please any woman. Gradually her resistance faded. Slowly her long held inhibitions crumbled. And then they gave way entirely. The floodgates opened, she became avid and loved it. She was unbound so that she could respond in kind. In the end she couldn’t get enough of it.” Beryl laughed at the recollection. “In forty eight hours she was a changed woman.”
“Her mother paid the ransom eventually and it was time for her daughter’s return. Would you believe it, she didn’t want to go. But go she had to.”
Glenys was finding her one-time tormentor’s discomfiture and then forced change of sexual inclination amusing. “I haven’t heard of the bitch since I left St Cath’s. What happened to her from there?”
Beryl continued, “Dear Letitia was bound and gagged and then moved from the country location to her mother’s residence. Very upperclass as you can well imagine. She arrived just at dusk on the third day after her abduction. Hetty St Clair was in the lounge room, still unconscious from the various drugs they’d been using on her. Her much changed daughter was tied to an armchair in front of her and told she would be released when her mother woke up.”
“It must have been quite a meeting,” laughed Beryl, “She wasn’t the same girl she was when she was taken away."
“Since then we’ve learned she put in a chaotic few months in which she chased after every male she could in her own social milleu. Mum was at her wits end. Finally, to restore some sense of decency there was a hastily arranged marriage with one of the younger members of her mother’s circle of business associates. Whom, no doubt she’s making very happy, or turning him into a physical wreck. So much for a genteel, privileged upper crust upbringing. And what an advertisement for St. Cath’s. That’s the last we’ve heard on Letitia.”
By now Glenys was securely but comfortably bound hand and foot and time was passing. She spoke, “Look, I’m really pleased we've met again. You’re the best friend I’ve ever had and I’d hate to think we’d never see each other again. All right, I know with the occupation you’re in now you probably can’t afford to have too many friends, and they have to be of a certain type. But, if it’s at all possible, I’d like us to see each other from time to time.” She smiled, “I know how to keep my mouth shut.” Another smile, “I’m in accountancy and complete secrecy about our client’s business is the first requisite. The same would apply to you, of course."
It was Beryl’s turn to smile. “I enjoyed our friendship too. And my occupation does touch on the world of finance sometimes. It could be an advantage to have someone one could turn to for general advice. We’ll see, my love.” The long ago term of affection which had led to the two old friends recognising each other surfaced again. “But,” she went on, “It’ll have to be me who does the getting in touch. And now, dearest, the time has come for me to blindfold and gag you.”
She took a wide soft black sash from her carry bag and carefully but effectively blindfolded Glenys. "To give credibility to the story that you never really got a good look at them but thought they were foreign born. Probably East Asian.” Her friend nodded. “And now unfortunately the time has come to gag you darling.” She picked up the prepared gag from the table where she had placed it when she had discovered who she had tied up.
Before she inserted it Beryl leaned forward and kissed her friend on the lips. “Until we meet again, my love.”
“Until then,” whispered Glenys, “And I hope it’ll be soon.”
Beryl was just tying the gag at the back of Glenys' neck when the study door opened and her two colleagues came out. The other woman was carrying the brief case, now well filled. “All done,” she said as she walked over to where the two friends were both seated at the dining table. “You two know each other, don’t you?"
“We go back a long way,” admitted Beryl. She stood up, picked up her carry bag and said, “And my friend is going to say this visit was just like something Harry’s Asian pals would have done.”
The woman smiled, “Just impression we tried to give to madam in there.” She nodded toward the door. "Talking in suitable accents, references to Hong Kong and Singapore now and then. Just like Harry’s friends.”
“Well, let’s go then,” Beryl gave Glenys’ shoulder a squeeze and then all three walked out of the house.
Glenys was content. This visit which she had begun with so much reluctance had turned out well after all.
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