THE CAR JOURNEY
Miss Sheldrake was frightened. Frightened, worried and extremely embarrassed. In fact she hadn't felt so embarrassed since the day she was held upside down in the school playground by the 5th form girls in revenge for Miss Sheldrake's snitching on them for smoking behind the bicycle sheds. Well, 'snitching' isn't really the right word: Miss Sheldrake was, after all, a probationary teacher who was expected to have regard for the welfare of her charges, but this had clearly not been treated as a mitigating factor by the girls who were bent on revenge. They had even alerted the boys about their intended retribution and the memory of her subsequent, very public, humiliation had remained with Miss Sheldrake ever since and had played no small part in her resolve to pursue another career.
But this was different. She hadn't snitched on anybody. She just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. True, her tormentors were girls and the humiliation was intense, but there the similarity ended. This wasn't a few minutes upside down in the playground with your knickers on display: this was far more sinister, with an uncertain ending. .
Miss Sheldrake shuddered. The evening had started like most evenings. Miss Sheldrake had finished work in her office - a little later than normal, it is true - and had made her way via the lift to the underground carpark beneath her building. She had just reached inside her handbag for her keys when everything went wrong for her. Completely, dramatically, utterly wrong. She was mugged.
A hand had been firmly clamped over her mouth from behind; shadowy figures had suddenly appeared as if from nowhere and a knife blade had glistened before her eyes. The keys were snatched from her hand and Miss Sheldrake was bundled in the back of her own car with her head forced down between her knees. The engine was started and the vehicle driven out of the carpark to join the arterial road which led to the motorway. Miss Sheldrake was being kidnapped.
Miss Sheldrake looked out of the car window. She could tell they were now on the motorway heading westward. She moved her fingers to keep the circulation going in her hands which were now bound behind her back. She tried to ignore the hand which had been thrust deep down inside her knickers for the last five minutes: it would have been difficult to ignore in any event, but this hand had fingers which were clearly intent on exploration - a voyage of discovery which had been facilitated by a brandished knife and a demand that Miss Sheldrake should open her legs a little wider. The girl holding the knife had even said 'please' - as if Miss Sheldrake had had a choice in the matter. The girl sitting on her right hand side was clearly enjoying herself watching Miss Sheldrake's humiliation at the hands of her fellow kidnapper - not that she herself was a passive onlooker: her own hand was exploring the inside of their victim's bra.
'How's she doing? Is she wet yet?'
'Very. Arn't you Sweety?' she asked, giving her finger an extra twiddle. Miss Sheldrake shuddered.
Except for the kidnapping, the mugging had been pretty straight forward. Once the car had moved away to a more secluded area, Miss Sheldrake was allowed to lift her head from between her knees. She realised, for the first time, that her muggers were three females. One was driving her car while the other two were sitting either side of her on the rear seat. They had snatched Miss Sheldrake's handbag and looted it of cash, credit cards and cheque book, then turned their attention to the modest amount of jewellery which she was wearing. The watch followed. The girls in the back studied Miss Sheldrake for what seemed an uncomfortable time.
"Nice suit she's wearing.'
"Um, bet it cost a tidy packet.'
'Seems a shame not to take it. I reckon it would fit me a treat.'
'You know, I think you're right. OK' - turning to Miss Sheldrake - 'Start stripping!'
Miss Sheldrake did as she was told. Her assailants clearly relished the spectacle of their victim struggling with her jacket and skirt in the confines of the back of the car, but she eventually managed to remove the garments which were immediately snatched from her grasp and thrust into the holdall which the girls had carried with them. Her boots followed. Her tormentors then bound Miss Sheldrake's hands behind her back with cable ties. A knife was again produced and this time used to rip the front of Miss Sheldrake's shirt and sever the cross piece of her bra.
'They are nice' replied the other girl, reaching across to test for firmness. 'They're real, too!'
'So's this!' replied the other, thrusting her hand down the front of Miss Sheldrake's knickers.
Miss Sheldrake's ordeal was interrupted by a voice from the front of the car.
'We can drop her off here' announced the driver, who was obviously the leader.
'But we're just getting warmed up!'
' So's she, I bet.'
They laughed as the car pulled up on the hard shoulder just before a turn off. The rear door was opened and the girl on the left got out and grabbed Miss Sheldrake by the arm, pulling her reluctantly out of the car. The girl climbed back in and closed the door.
'Have a nice day! Bet you haven't had so much fun since the day you ended upside down in the school playground! Remember? Byeee!'
Miss Sheldrake stared after her car as it sped away up the slip road. The breeze ruffled the hem of her shirt. Miss Sheldrake shuddered. She was not a happy bunny. She would rather not be standing at the side of a motorway in her shirt and knickers with her hands tied behind her back. The sound of a car slowing down as it approached did little to reassure her that rescue was close to hand...