There was a cold wind blowing outside on the February morning, so the lunch recess was being held indoors in the cafeteria. As the various groups of students found their place, two in particular were making their way to a far corner. One was about five foot six tall, with blonde hair that came down to just below her neck, and was wearing a blue v-necked sweater over a white t-shirt, jeans and knee length brown leather boots. The other girl was slightly smaller, with short dark hair, and was wearing a blue denim bib dress over a grey long sleeved top, dark leggings and mid-length black boots.
“Did you get it,” the dark haired girl asked as they sat down. Her friend nodded and produced from her satchel a large photograph, which she passed over. It showed the two of them, along with their friends and mothers, all sat in a large room, tightly bound and gagged as they smiled from their positions at the camera.
“Ali’s dad really knows how to take a good photo,” the dark haired girl said as she put the photo down, “Has Nats seen it yet?”
“Seen what,” another girl said as she sat with them. She was wearing a baggy light brown jumper with a long glowing skirt, and even though the temperature was near freezing she had no shoes or socks on her feet, a rope bracelet around her left ankle.
“Are you trying to get into trouble again, Natalie Jenkins,” the blonde haired girl said as she took a bite from her sandwich.
“What from the principle, Heidi?”
“No you doofus - from your mother. If you catch a cold, what is she likely to do?”
“Confine me forcibly to bed for a week - which sounds fun, but...” Natalie reached into her bag and drew out a pair of sandals, which she slipped onto her feet. “So, let’s see it.”
Heidi handed her the photo, which Natalie glanced over. “Your mums look happy together,” she said as she handed the photo back, “Have they said anything to you two yet?”
“About what,” the dark haired girl said in an innocent tone as she picked up a carton of juice and began to drink from it.
“Cindy,” Natalie said as she sat with her chin in her hands, looking at her two friends, “You two must have realised...”
“Yes, we have,” Heidi said quietly, “But they haven’t said anything to us - and we’re getting a bit frustrated about that. Other people have noticed, and there have been one or two remarks.”
“Who?” Natalie looked at both of them. “Let me know, and I will personally...”
“Do nothing,” Cindy said quietly. “We’re going to force the issue - our way. This weekend, our mothers are going to have to tell us.”
“Sounds intriguing,” Natalie said with a smile. “Jannifer and Alice in on this?”
“Nope,” Heidi said quietly, “Jannifer is away this weekend with the family, and Alice has a gymnastics contest. Are you and your mother still coming over on Saturday?”
Natalie nodded. “Why?”
“Because,” Heidi said with a smile, “Whatever plans our mothers have for this weekend are going to be rather rudely changed....”
“I really do not like the look of that sky.”
Amy Strong was standing in the doorway of the house, looking out over the angry grey clouds that seemed to be hanging over them like a portent of doom. A grey silk scarf was tied in a band over her hair, and she was wearing a grey silk sweater and slacks, the bottom of her short boots peeping out from the cuffs.
Heidi was in the kitchen, helping to prepare lunch. She was rather less well dressed, wearing a grey sweatshirt and joggers, with thick white socks pulled up over her ankles. Her aunt Veronica was at the sink, washing some salad leaves.
Veronica was a little taller than her sister, and was wearing a thick gillet over her blue jumper, jeans and black slippers. She had her hair tied back as well, and as she dropped the salad leaves into a bowl she said “Don’t worry, Amy - they’ll be here soon enough, and then after lunch we can all head to the mall.”
“Here’s Dorothy now,” Amy said as she came back in, followed closely by Cindy and her mother. They had left their coats and winter boots in the hallway, revealing the white jumper and light grey trousers that Cindy was wearing, and the green woollen jersey dress that was on Dorothy Elsworth, complete with green suede knee length boots.
“It is freezing out there,” Dorothy said as she hugged the two toher women, “Is there any chance of a coffee?”
The door bell rang at that moment, and Heidi said “I’ll get it” as she went to see who was calling. She opened the door to see Natalie standing there with her mother Katherine - and for once, Natalie was wearing a pair of thick boots on her feet, and had a thick scarf wrapped around her face under the hood of her parka jacket.
“Hello Heidi,” Katherine said as she came in, taking off her great coat to reveal a black roll necked sweater under a white blouse, and a knee length black skirt with thick tights over her legs. She pulled off the fur boots she had on her feet, while Heidi closed the door, the first flakes of snow falling through the sky outside.
“You can take your coat off as well, Nats,” Heidi said, but to her surprise Natalie shook her head. Heidi looked at her for a moment, and then said “Don’t tell me you’re...”
“She is,” Katherine said as she unfastened Natalie’s coat and took it off, to reveal that the young girl had her wrists tightly bound together behind her back with rope, the cords going round her waist as well. She had on the same jumper and skirt as earlier in the week, but as the scarf was taken off a large pad of brown plaster could be seen over her mouth, and the way her cheeks were padded out it was obvious something was under the gag.
“Her choice,” Katherine said as she helped her daughter to remove the boots, revealing a long pair of grey socks on her legs. “Seems she wanted to come prepared - any idea what she’s on about?”
“Who, me?” Heidi replied, her face a picture of innocence. Katherine shook her head as she heard Amy say “Is that you, Kath? Fresh coffee in here,” then headed for the kitchen as Cindy came out.
“Good grief, Nats, couldn’t you wait,” Cindy said as their friend looked at her, shaking her head. “Come on then,” Heidi said as she led Nats to the front room, “Let’s get you settled in here before Cindy and I get to work.”
“Is it my imagination, or is it snowing outside?”
Veronica walked over to the kitchen window and looked out. “It’s February, Dorothy - what do you expect?” Turning back to the other three women, Veronica sipped from her cup, before saying “They’re very quiet in there.”
“Well, I know Nats is,” Katherine said with a smile, “I guess the other two are just keeping her company. Anyway, when do you want to head off?”
“You four ladies are going nowhere.”
The four turned to see Heidi and Cindy standing in the doorway, both with black balaclavas covering their heads, and pointing water pistols at them. Amy swallowed, before saying “Who are you,” playing along as she raised her hands above her head.
“We already have the kid tied up,” Cindy said as she waved her gun towards the door, “You four - move.”
“Here we go again,” Dorothy whispered to Amy as they all put their hands on their heads and marched into the living room. As they walked in, they saw Natalie lying face down on the couch, her ankle and legs tightly bound and her skirt falling down around her waist - largely because her ankles had been pulled back and secured tightly to her chest ropes. A black sleep mask covered her eyes, and they could see a pair of earplugs in her ears.
“You two,” Cindy said as she looked at Amy and Dorothy, two lengths of rope coiled in her hand, “Take these and tie the wrists of your friends behind their backs.”
“Why are you doing this,” Veronica said, playing along with a smile on her face, “What do you want from us?”
“You’ll find out - eventually,” Heidi said. “Come on - get their wrists secured.”
“We’d better do as they say - they look dangerous,” Amy said as she took the ropes from Cindy and handed one to Dorothy. “Girls, put your hands behind your back - we’ll try to be gentle.”
“First time for everything then,” Veronica said as she turned and crossed her wrists behind her back, looking over her shoulder as her sister doubled the rope over and bound them tightly together, while Dorothy did the same to Katherine.
“Now their arms,” Heidi said as she handed their mothers longer lengths of rope. “I guess they mean business,” Dorothy said as she wrapped the rope around Katherine’s stomach, pulling her arms tightly into her body as she passed it round her several times.
“True,” Katherine said as she felt her body being tightly bound, “but on the other hand, I don’t think they mean us any real harm - they just want us out of the way for some reason.”
As Veronica felt Amy tie the ropes off, she turned and sat against the couch that Natalie was lying on, Katherine next to her. They both watched as Amy and Dorothy knelt in front of them, bending their knees before they were passed two lengths of rope each, and told to bind their captive’s ankles and legs together.
“Do you think we’ll get to the mall later then,” Veronica said quietly as she felt her legs coming together, the rope going around them below her knees.
“I hope so - at least the stores stay open late,” Katherine replied as she watched her own legs been tied, and then Dorothy moving them down and adjusting her skirt.
“Right,” Cindy said as she held out two sponge balls and a roll of brown sticking plaster, “Gag both of them.”
“Once you’ve done that,” Heidi continued as she held out two sleep masks and two sets of ear plugs, “Blindfold them and plug their ears, then kneel on the floor facing each other, hands behind your backs.”
The two girls watched as their mothers completed the gagging of the other two, the tape covering their mouths before the masks and ear plugs were added, and then knelt in the middle of the floor facing each other.
“Now then,” Heidi said to Cindy, “Open wide.”
Amy and Dorothy looked at each other, and then opened their mouths, allowing their daughters to push the sponge balls into their mouths. Amy could feel the sponge expanding inside her mouth, pushing her tongue down as Amy tore a strip of plaster off and smoothed it over her mouth, then passed the roll to Cindy to do the same to her mother.
“Now, then,” Amy said as she looked at both of them, “We want you two to be happy, so hug each other.”
“Mmmwwyy,” Dorothy said as she looked at Cindy.
“Mum,” Cindy said quietly, “We know - we both know. So do as you’re told, and we’ll make sure you have some quality time together.”