Frances put down the book she was reading with a little sigh.
"Reading 'The Terror at Dawson's Creek' won't get you your degree, will it?" her mother scolded. "Now, come on, get your proper books and don't be wasting any more time on silly fiction. You know I've promised to baby-sit for your Auntie Margaret - and don't be all night on the phone whilst I'm out. My phone bill will be as long as your arm if you spent any more time on it talking to that Deirdre or whatever her name is. I'll be back tomorrow morning about eleven, so be sure to have some of that essay done before then."
"Right oh, Mum", Frances replied," I hope you have a quiet evening. I'll get some of it done for sure. Now you get off to Aunt Maggie. I'll be all right here. I've got the things out in the kitchen for breakfast."
"All right, then. Now remember what I've told you. Don't answer the door to anyone, specially after dark. There have been some nasty rumours about burglars round here last month."
"Don't worry, Mum. There have always been rumours and nothing has actually happened, has it?"
"Well, be careful, that's all. I'll have to go now. The bus will be here at half past three. Good-bye now. Remember, get on with that work!"
"O.K. Mum, I will. Good bye!", Frances replied, dutifully.
The door to No.7 Burton Road closed noisily and Frances breathed a sigh of relief. 'She thinks I'm still at school', she thought,' Most of the rest of my group are staying in Hall. It's nice to be looked after, but I wish Mum could treat me as a grown up, sometimes.'
She looked at her books waiting on the small round folding table and turned on the television. There was nothing on that interested her, just kids' programmes on one channel and politics on another. She adjusted the radio until some loud pop music came on, then turned to her books again, thinking that she wished something exciting could happen.
Frances was eighteen. She had long red-gold hair, braided and wound neatly round her head. She was quite tall and very pretty. Her figure was quite suitable for a fashion model, slim, but rounded in all the right places. Her legs were long, but her flat-heeled shoes did not shape them as a higher-heeled pair would have done. Although she wore a bra, she did not yet need its support, her black jumper would still have been stretched attractively had she not worn one. She did not have a boy friend, though.
Her beauty was masked by a pair of heavy horn-rimmed spectacles, which she did not really need and her jumper was camouflaged by a grey overall, which she wore over a dark grey skirt, long enough to cover her knees.
Her dull thoughts were interrupted by a knock at the front door.
"Excuse me, miss, we have reason to believe . . ." A policeman in uniform stood at the door as she opened it.
Instead of completing his sentence, the officer pushed her backwards whilst another followed him into the house, brandishing a gun,, which looked like the mouth of the Liverpool Tunnel as it was pointed straight at her.
The first one covered her mouth with a huge hand and the other said, "If you make a sound it'll be your last!"
He had something metallic in his hand which he passed to the first one, who growled, "Open your mouth!"
Frances was paralysed with fear. She opened her mouth and the thing he was holding was pressed into it.
He held out his hand to his colleague for a black leather contraption and quickly wrapped the lower part of her face with it, then took one of her shoulders and spun her forcibly to face the wall. She felt straps being fastened behind her head and the click of something metal.
In her mouth, there was a metal plate under her tongue and another flat circular plate with rough knobbles all over it, making her tongue immovable. A thin rod pressed it in place and an attached disc over her mouth was held there by the leather harness. As another strap was tightened over her head, her jaw was forcibly clamped shut. The faint sounds of protest she made would not have been heard a couple of metres away, even without the music from the radio.
The men knew what they were doing. They worked quickly and efficiently together. The grey dust-jacket came off before she knew what they were doing. Her hands were grabbed and fastened behind her by steel handcuffs, tightened firmly, but not painfully, then double-locked to prevent damage to her wrists. Her chin was kept up by a stiff collar which was also locked closely round her slender neck and a leading chain was attached to it.
One of the men spoke: "You'll be in difficulty if you need the toilet in the next half hour. Do you need to go now?"
Frances nodded, as well as she could against the posture collar. Indeed, she needed to change her underwear already!
The man said,"Which way, then?" She led the way, trembling to such an extent that she could hardly walk. She opened the door, hoping to shut out the sight of these horrible policeman by closing it, but one of them stuck his foot out to stop her.
"Sorry, miss, I'm not letting you out of my sight for a moment."
She had to perform in full view of both of them. Her face was deep red with shame. As she went to pull up her panties, the man put his foot on them.
"You won't be needing those." he said in a flat, matter-of-fact tone.
He pulled her out of the toilet by the leash and brought her into the living-room where she had been preparing to work. She saw that all the furniture had been pushed back against the walls.
The second man said, "Doesn't look as if they were going to have their party in here, does it? Anyway, I've cleared the space for the stand. I'll fetch it in now, but I'd better get this uniform off first. The neigbours will wonder what a cop is doing, carrying stuff into someone's house."
"O.K.," replied the first. "I'll get her ready while you bring it. Let's have the ankle-cuffs."
The other was busy taking off his outer clothes. He had a pair of blue jeans under the uniform trousers and without the jacket he looked quite unlike his former, official self. Frances shivered again when she saw him undressing. She anticipated the worst! However, the man just went out and returned, bringing a big metal plate and some poles. He set it down on the middle of the living room carpet and screwed a pole on to an attachment to the plate and two shorter ones, joined across their tops by a third, just above knee height.
He said, "O.K., it's ready now."
The two men took her arms. Her legs were pulled apart and her ankles attached by leather cuffs to rings which had been screwed to the plate. She felt the handcuffs being undone and her arms lifted over her head and pulled backwards, towards the pole, after which the handcuffs were locked back on, held high on the pole by a spring hook. She was bowed uncomfortably backwards over the horizontal bar. The strain on her wrists was considerable.
"Not bad", one of them commented, "the customer ought to be quite pleased with our company's service when he gets here."
"He will be, when we've finished. He's paid for it and we're delivering, just as we promised. Have you got the shears?" replied the other.
Frances thought,' They're going to cut my hair. Please don't let them cut my hair!'
But that was not their intention. The device they brought out of a bag they had brought in was a small, electrical gadget, used by tailors for cutting out material for clothes. They quickly found a power outlet. The collar she was wearing held her head up, so she could not see what was going on, but the feel of the tool on her body moved up from her waist to her neck-line, then up her sleeves. She was naked from the waist up. The feeling continued downwards and a few seconds later, she was completely nude, stretched over the frame, her hands locked behind the pole with her legs chained widely apart.
"We'll soon be done," one of her captors told her, "Only a little bit more and we'll leave you ready for your boy friend"!
Another dip in the bag and another tool. She felt a cool metal thing between her legs and a buzzing. They were shaving her! The other "policeman" was working up a lather with a large shaving brush in a white mug and as soon as the buzzing stopped, she felt the warm brush being applied.
"Hold still! Make sure you don't jump until I've finished!" The man with the razor held it up for her to see. "I'd hate to spoil your looks!" and he grinned and bent to his task.
He dried her carefully, then, with the aid of the other man, unlocked the manacles, lifted her into a standing position and removed the three poles that formed the frame over which she had been so uncomfortably and obscenely stretched. They re-attached the handcuffs behind her round the remaining pole and then did the same with a short bit of chain which they fastened on her ankles, so that she was standing upright with her legs tight against the pole. The leading chain, still attached to the back of her collar, was brought under an arm, round her body under her breasts, back under the other arm and fastened round the post and back to the collar at the other end.
The one who had shaved her said, "Just one more thing."
The third pair of manacles was applied to her upper arms, over a hook on the pole, to bring her elbows close together and prevent her from sliding downwards. He packed up his tools and took the bag outside, collected the remnants of her clothing, carefully swept the floor round her and even used a small portable vecuum cleaner to ensure that he had left nothing by which they could be traced. He went to the telephone, dialed a number and said, "We've finished here at Barton Road, where is the other gear to go?"
He heard a reply and said, "Yes, all the lot. We've cleared up, like you said. I'm sure he'll be pleased. The other is just a delivery, not another bondage job like this one, isn't it? Right? Be seeing you!" and he rang off, dialed another number and rang off again after hearing someone speak, leaving the handset on the table.
"I don't suppose your boy-friend will be long. I know I wouldn't anyway, knowing what is waiting for him here." he said to Frances, "Good Afternoon!"
Frances heard the door close and she was alone. She heard the sound of a van starting up and going away.
Alone, bound, naked and without a hope of freeing herself. Nobody knew of her plight. Fifteen minutes ago, she had been wishing something exciting would happen! The house in Burton Road was very quiet after he'd turned off the radio. Frances knew she had a long time to wait before her mother would return the next morning. To think that Barton Road and Burton Road could have been confused! She could just see the clock on the mantelpiece. Five o'clock!
. . . She could hear it ticking . . .
. . . She would be here for eighteen hours! . . .
. . . The phone had been left off its rest. . . .
Then she heard the sound of a key in the front door. It had to be her mother; nobody else had a key.
Her voice echoed down the hall : "Frances, Your uncle is sick, they're not going out tonight!" as she went upstairs to take off her coat, without looking into the room where Frances was standing.
"I thought I told you not to be on the phone all night! I've been trying to ring you for the past hour."
'That's my Mum!', Frances thought.