It was late afternoon on cold Autumn day in a comfortable well to do suburb.
Estelle Parker was sitting in the lounge of her very well appointed home reading a book. She was alone in the house, her housekeeper companion was having her day off but was expected back in an hour or two.
She was forty two and widowed, her husband having died several years before, leaving her comfortably off. She was of average height with a square face, curly brown hair, just starting to go grey and had a prominent double chin. Reasonably shapely limbs and a broad solid figure completed the picture. Sadly, this last was almost thirty pounds overweight.
It was said that if she could only shed this excess weight she would be an attractive person for her age. But she lacked the resolution to do the rigorous dieting and exercise necessary.
Today, she had not left the house and and was hoping her housekeeper would not be too late in getting home. Lately, she had been experiencing a certain amount of unease. Nothing she could put her finger on, but a vague feeling that she was being watched, observed from a distance. Two days ago a car had parked briefly on the opposite side of her street. A woman in it seemed to be studying her house. It was a general feeling that she and her household were under surveillance. Common sense told her there was probably nothing in it.
Just the same, she didn't feel entirely comfortable.
Actually, her instincts were quite right. She was an object of interest and was being quietly investigated. Certain items in her household, in this case valuable documents in a concealed safe, had been targeted and plans were under way for their removal. A group that specialized in such works (theft to order as it was sometimes called) had had her under observation for some time. Estelle was right to feel uneasy.
And this afternoon had been selected for the removal of the papers. An operative was on her way to do just that.
This was Beryl, who specialized in such thefts. A lady only slightly younger than Estelle herself. About the same height but with a full athletic figure. Obviously extremely physically fit, with a smiling friendly face, which had proved very useful in her occupation. For this work she wore a well fitting grey business suit, a small matching hat of the same colour and carried an expensive looking leather briefcase. Black shoes, soft black leather gloves and dark glasses.
She looked like a typical lady business executive on her way home after a day at the office. Just the impression she wanted to create.
Usually, on missions like this, she worked with a partner but this one she felt she could manage alone. After all, it simply involved the capture and tying up of two suburban ladies who were unlikely to resist and the opening of a safe, the combination of which she already had. Her organization did their preparation for these projects thoroughly.
Beryl arrived at the front of Estelle's home. A brief look around and then she walked quickly up the path, noting with approval several trees growing in the front yard which would hide her entry. She pressed the doorbell.
Estelle heard it ring and decided it must be her companion housekeeper coming home early. She had her own key but sometimes forgot it. As she must have now. She hurried down the hallway and opened the front door.
The two women looked at each other. Beryl in her business suit and Estelle, wearing a tailored black skirt with a matching short sleeved top. She wore a single string of pearls around her somewhat fleshy neck. She stared uncomprehendingly at this stranger.
Beryl spoke first. "Good afternoon Estelle. I've come to pay you a visit. It shouldn't take long, then I'll be on my way."
"What! Who're you?'' said Estelle. "And how do you know my name?"
Beryl smiled, produced a small pistol and held it in a black gloved hand in front of the surprised householder's face. She then pushed her back into the hall and closed the front door behind her. Estelle had moved easily for such a big woman. Her captor studied her size carefully. Tying her up would require a certain procedure.
"Just be calm Estelle," said Beryl softly, "I'm going to tie your hands. Just relax, don't do anything foolish and you'll be quite comfortable." She turned the now speechless Estelle to one side so that she faced the wall and dropped her briefcase on the floor.
Swiftly, she took a folded strip of folded torn sheet from it, looped it around one of her captive's wrists, then pulled the other around behind her, crossed them both and began to bind them. The thickness of the householder's arms made this difficult but her captor tried to cause as little discomfort as possible.
Estelle had found her voice. "I don't keep large sums of money in the house and there's not much in the way of jewellery or valuables," she began, "I really don't know why you've come here."
Beryl ignored this. She was concentrating on tying this overlarge woman up and it was not simple. Having tied her hands she had taken the longest strip from the briefcase and had fitted it under her ample breasts, around her thick arms and crossed it behind her back. Though many feet long, it barely circled her twice and there was just enough at the ends for a strong reef knot. She did the same with another long length and used a third strip to lash her above the bust. She bound with care and with some consideration to make sure there were no twists in the lashings which might have been painful to these plump arms. The strips were wide enough to be comfortable even when pulled tight. Estelle was by now beginning to look like well wrapped black and white mummy.
"I thought you were only going to tie my hands," she said sharply."You've got me wrapped up like a parcel."
"Permit me my methods, Estelle dear," she murmured, "It's necessary to make you secure." She stood back to look at the neatly trussed woman and smiled at a difficult job well done. "And now it's time for us to move to your bedroom."
"I'm not your 'dear'," Estelle snapped. "And what if I won't go anywhere with you? You're going to pick me up at carry me, perhaps?"
This would be difficult with a woman her size.
"Oh no. In that case, I'd simply tie your ankles here and leave you lying in this cold, hard, tiled hallway. It doesn't really matter to me so long as you're immobile". She smiled, "But I'm sure you'll be much more comfortable in your own bedroom. Don't you think?"
Estelle shrugged and allowed herself to be led to the bedroom. Once there, Beryl looked around, noting how comfortably well furnished it was. She opened the wooden door of a large solid wardrobe and saw a three drawer cabinet on one side. "I think this will do very nicely," she said, "You can sit down here on this." She moved two pairs of shoes on the top of it onto the wardrobe floor and then swung the larger woman round so that she had her back to it. "Sit down please."
Estelle was disinclined to move so her captor pushed her down so that her ample bottom rested on the chest of drawers. "You're going to leave me tied up and locked in a wardrobe?" she asked incredulously.
Beryl was searching around in her briefcase which she had brought in with her. "You'll be quite comfortable in here," she said, "It's large, airy and best of all, secure. I would have tied you to the bed but I don't think there's enough ties left. I seem to have used most of them just tying you up. In any case Brenda will find you in an hour or so and let you out." Brenda was Estelle's housekeeper companion. By now her captor had found some more strips and was busily tying her captive's legs. First her ankles, very securely, then above and below her knees.
"How do you know my housekeeper's name?" Estelle was concerned at how much this woman seemed to know about herself and her household. Why had she been investigated so thoroughly?
Meanwhile, Beryl had finished tying up the worried householder. She stood up, smiled at her and said, "You look like a nicely wrapped package. Just one thing more. A nice tight gag to keep you from getting too noisy."
"You don't have to do that. I'll be quiet. I won't, a mmffff..." Beryl deftly and expertly forced a wadded gag between her lips and then knotted it at the back of her neck. Estelle strained in protest but found all she could manage was a muffled mewing.
Beryl was obviously pleased with how effectively she had secured her portly captive. Still smiling, she lifted up her legs and turned her sideways so that she was now completely inside the wardrobe and facing her own clothing, hanging at the other end. "Now you just be quiet and keep calm darling," she admonished the glaring Estelle, "And Brenda will release you when she gets home." With that she closed and latched wardrobe door.
With the lady of the house now well secured, Beryl turned to complete the rest of her mission. In the lounge room she found the concealed safe within minutes. Already having the combination, she had it open within seconds and began to move the documents she had come for into her briefcase. She was just completing this when the front doorbell rang.
It rang four times. Four short, sharp rings. Beryl froze. In her organization, four quick signals of any sort meant just one thing. Something unexpected has come up, possibly danger and immediate attention is required. She left the lounge room and walked cautiously down the hall to the front door. "Who's there?" she called quietly when only a few feet away.
"Liz," came the equally quiet reply. "Let me in, quickly." Beryl relaxed. Liz was another member of her group whom she had often worked with before. She had actually been considered as a partner in this operation until it had been decided that she could easily handle it on her own. She opened the door.
Liz was a thin, somewhat short girl of about thirty. A narrow face, pointed chin and short hair. She wore a buttoned up raincoat, dark glasses and had a carry bag slung over one shoulder. She hurried in, locked the door behind her and faced Beryl. Who asked, "Why are you here?"
Liz smiled. "Management sent me. There's been a complete change of plan. Your mission has been cancelled and you're to put those documents back in the safe. Instead, we're going to remove Madame Estelle herself." The organization both ladies worked with sometimes did abductions, kidnappings, invariably women, as required and 'removal' was the term generally used.
"Indeed," commented Beryl, "Well that's a radical change. I wish they'd told us sooner."
"I know it's all very short notice." Liz went on, "But the client's paying a lot of money for it. And there are a few other unusual things about this. Which I'll explain later. Anyhow, let's get those papers back." Both women turned and went into the lounge where Beryl returned the documents to the wall safe and closed it.
Beryl faced Liz. "What else is strange about this new operation? For a start, does Management know the size of this woman? She must be at nearly eighty kilos and won't be easy to handle."
Liz smiled."They're very much aware of that. And because of that Sarah and Trish will come with a van after dark. Which they'll park in the driveway and she'll be taken off in that." These two were a couple of very dependable ladies that Beryl and Liz had often worked with in the past. "It seems she's to go off to a very remote destination indeed. And another odd thing about it is that, if she ever asks who is behind all of this, we're actually instructed to give her a name."
Beryl shrugged and then smiled. Some of the things her organization did amazed her at times. And why anyone would pay big money to abduct a plump suburban matron like Estelle was beyond her. However she did say, "The housekeeper companion is due back from her day out any minute now. She'll have to be tied up. I take it they know about her."
Liz' smile broadened. "No problem. She's to be abducted too." Beryl looked at her. No wonder Management had assigned four of them to this greatly altered operation.
At that moment they heard the front door open. Estelle's companion and soon-to-be kidnap partner had come home.
Brenda Platt was the same age as Estelle. The two had been at school together. She was a tall lean woman with a thin face, short black hair and usually had a stern look on her face. Unlike Estelle, who had gone into a solid marriage and was now a comfortably off widow, she had never married. There was perhaps a reason for this. Even at school she had been suspected of having lesbian tendencies and she was still of this turn of mind. Of latter years she was hoping to make some sort of a relationship with her employer. Estelle's marriage, though lacking nothing financially, had not been particularly successful sexually.
Left to themselves, the pair might have even come to some arrangement.
But all this, it appeared, was going to change.
She wore a dark suit, sensible black shoes and a small, tight fitting hat. Over all of this she wore a firmly buttoned, dark grey belted overcoat. She strode down the hall and into the lounge. She stopped as Beryl and Liz turned to face her. "Hello Brenda," she was greeted, "Pleased to meet you. Sorry, but we've got to tie you up."
"What's this? Who're you two? Where's Mrs Parker?" Having asked these questions, Brenda Platt opted not to wait for an answer but turned to run.
Her assailants knew what to do. Beryl seized her from behind, clamped a black gloved hand over her mouth and pinioned her arms. Brenda struggled, she was strong but her captor was stronger. Liz took a prepared length of white rope out of the carry bag on her raincoated shoulder and moved to tie her wrists together. Their captive mewed, writhed and began to lash out with her feet and it was with difficulty her hands were bound. Finally Beryl took the small black pistol out of her suit jacket pocket and held it in front of the straining housekeeper's face. It was whispered in her ear that she could be just as well tied up unconscious and it was hoped this would not be necessary. With that Brenda stood still.
With their captive now standing passively the pair set to work, using lengths of soft white rope Liz had brought with her. They bound her upper arms tightly to her body and cinched the loops under each armpit. This was done twice, above and below her breasts. They then tied her crossed, knotted wrists to her waist. The thick fabric of her quality overcoat whispered as they pulled the lashings tight.
Brenda, at last found her voice. "This isn't just a robbery is it? There's something more to it than this, isn't there?" Clearly she was a woman of some intuition and perception. Perhaps she too had sensed that the household had been under surveillance.
"You could say it is," Beryl said smiling, "But we're only going to remove two objects. And we're certainly not going to ransack the house looking for valuables, nothing as crude as that. Anyway, let's now adjourn to the bedroom. Mrs Parker is waiting for us," she added enigmatically.
Without further ado Brenda was pushed toward the main bedroom. Once there she was seated on a corner of the bed and Liz promptly began to tie her legs. First her ankles, then above and below her knees. She looped the rope with care, having some regard for the comfort of her victim but at the same time she took pride in the neatness of her work. The trussed housekeeper remained thoughtful and silent throughout.
Meanwhile Beryl had walked around to the wardrobe. "In case you're wondering about Mrs Parker," she said. "She's in here," and opened the cabinet door. The bound and gagged Estelle, seated inside, turned and looked at the trio outside. Her eyes bulged at the sight of her carefully tied up companion.
"Estelle," began the surprised Brenda, "What is this? Who are these people? What's going on here?" Quite overlooking the fact that the object of her questions was incapable of saying anything. Yet she seemed to think her employer knew what was going on.
"Too noisy Brenda," murmured Beryl, "Time you were gagged as well."
She took a prepared cloth gag from the carry bag and swiftly, deftly forced it into Brenda's still protesting mouth. Meanwhile Liz tied her ankles to the bed corner post, firmly anchoring her in one place. This done, the two captors calmly surveyed the now mute and carefully bound housekeeper and lady of the house.
"Well ladies, you may both relax." they were told, "Shortly you'll be going on a journey to far places."
Both captives glared. The wardrobe door was quietly closed on Estelle.
The two intruders then went through the house, putting everything away. Cupboard doors were closed, drawers pushed in, anything out of place carefully put away. Both wore gloves, Beryl, the stylish black pair she had worn into the house, Liz put on a pair of tight thick rubber industrial standard. The intention was to leave the house in perfect order. As if the two occupants had left everything neat and tidy and then vanished into thin air.
In less than half an hour, just as night was falling, an unmarked van arrived and was driven quietly down the driveway and parked at the rear of the house. Its drivers, Sarah and Trish, both wearing grey boiler suits, were let in by the back door. They were carrying two tubular steel stretchers. "Good evening," said Sarah, a solid firmly built woman who looked as if she would be good at heavy lifting, "I believe you have a couple of items for removal here." All four smiled. They had often worked together before.
"Indeed we have," said Beryl cheerfully. "Two neatly wrapped packages ready for shipment. They're waiting in the bedroom." She led the way.
In the bedroom the stretchers were placed on the floor and their two occupants made ready. First Brenda had her legs untied from the bed post, was stood up and even thoughtfully brushed down. Then she was carefully laid down on one stretcher and strapped to it by four webbing straps that it was equipped with. Estelle took longer. It required three of her captors to lift her out of the wardrobe but they were fit muscular women and had obviously done this sort of work before. The silent fuming householder was finally laid onto the second stretcher and secured.
"One thing more," said Trish as the quartet made ready to transport the two captives on their long journey. "We know you've already gagged them but Management thought these would be better for the first stage of the trip." She reached into her boiler suit pocket and took out two red rubber ball gags with leather straps. "They'll be more comfortable and they've been perforated for easier breathing."
The others nodded and knelt to remove the wad gags. The two captive women took the opportunity work their stiffened jaws. Brenda asked for water, which was brought from the bathroom in a tooth mug. Estelle finally had something to say. "Who's behind this? Who's paying for all of this?" Clearly she was a lady of some perception.
Liz was the authority on this. She was the one who had been told what to tell the abducted duo if they asked questions like these. "You're about to go on a journey to far places. It seems one Justin desires the company of both of you. And is prepared to pay for it."
"Justin?" snapped Brenda who had regained the power of speech, "Who's Justin? Who is he?" Estelle remained silent. It is possible she knew who was being referred to. She looked thoughtful.
The captors fitted and strapped the ball gags. Estelle was still quiet, Brenda began a violent mewing for a time but eventually stopped.
It took three of them to lift Estelle but they were strong women and managed her easily. They carried her out of the house and slid the stretcher into the van. It was then attached to the inside wall of the vehicle. Liz remained inside with Brenda whose turn was next. Finally both captives were secure in the transport Sarah and Trish had arrived in.
All four stood in the darkness beside the van. "Well then," said Sarah, "We'll be taking these two darlings to the Estate." This was a reference to a remote country property with a private airstrip where women their organization sent on long journeys were kept to await transport. "They won't be there long. A plane will fly them out in the early morning." She smiled. "There's a lot of money involved in this. It's quite surprising really, even for one of our operations."
Beryl, the least informed of the four, was still curious. "I can't understand why anyone'd be interested in Madame Estelle. She's on the way to obesity."
Sarah smiled. "This is one job were we've got some idea what's going to happen to our clients." This was unusual. As a rule the girls had no idea of what happened to their captives after they passed out of their hands. "Her Ladyship Estelle is going to a secure distant place where she'll be forcibly subjected to a rigorous dieting regimen - amongst other things. Brenda will accompany her. She, in turn, is known as being of the Sisterhood and there's some use going to be made of this as well as her administrative talents. Oh yes, she was quite highly placed in the business world before she had a falling out with with some influential people and found afterwards all she could get was a job as a ladies' companion. All told, these two are headed to a very interesting future. At least more interesting than what was happening to them here."
She laughed. "Here, they were becoming a couple of aging neighbourhood ladies whose most exciting experience was to go to the local library and change a book occasionally. They've at least been saved from that."
She and Trish took their leave of their two colleagues, got into the vehicle and drove off. Beryl and Liz returned to the house.
They gave it a quick look around, making sure everything was in order and they had left nothing. Beryl picked up the leather briefcase she had brought into the place, Liz her carry bag.
Beryl remarked, "I still wonder that anyone would pay money for those two."
Liz laughed. "There's no accounting for the tastes of some of our clients. And you know they've got the necessary millions to pay for them."
The two switched off the lights and quietly, unobtrusively left the building.
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