In the summer of 1976, when I was eleven years old, I spent three weeks with my cousins at my Aunt Jean's house. My cousins--Donna (12) and Shirley (10)--played a series of bondage games between themselves and the neighboring kids: Becca (13) and her brother Jim (11), as well as another girl named Karen (12). By the second week of my stay, I had endured an epic bondage game at the hands of Becca when I spent the night at her place.
The day after this game was a sweltering Thursday in July, and everybody had pretty much went their own way, doing what they could to beat the heat. By mid-afternoon, I had changed into my bathing suit and hung out in my Aunt's pool with my youngest cousin George (age 6). George had a vast collection of toy boats, and he and I staged a merry reenactment of the "Poseidon Adventure" by trying to capsize the boats with our hand-made tidal waves. Once we sunk the whole fleet, I merely dove to the bottom to retrieve the plastic armada for another voyage.
It was during one of my "salvage operations" that I noticed Karen had dropped by. She stood speaking intensively with Donna and Shirley, who had both changed into their bathing suits, but had yet to actually get into the pool.
"Hi," I called to Karen, and she sheepishly threw me a wave--then resumed her talk with my cousins. I had hoped the girls would include me in their conversation, because I was curious to see what they were so hush-hush about, but it was obviously a private matter. Little did I realize then that I was the main topic of their discussion.
Eventually, Shirley left the chat and joined me in the pool. When I asked her what they were up to, Shirley gave me a curt shrug before she submerged herself completely for an underwater swim across the pool. Karen left the yard, allowing Donna to join us. But instead of getting into the water, Donna knelt down on the pool platform and gestured to me. When I swam over to her, Donna whispered, "Karen wants to kidnap us. Would you mind playing along?"
While it was no secret that Karen had wanted to play the captor in our bondage games for some time, I was still surprised that she was actually going to do it. As I found out the hard way when I "abducted" Becca, playing the captor required a certain self-assurance in a person (something which I was lacking in at that time). It took a lot of gumption just to initiate a game. Nevertheless, I quickly agreed.
"Good," Donna said. "Karen's at home right now, getting everything set up. When she starts the game, please try to act surprised. She doesn't know I told you."
"Ok," I said. "Is she gonna grab us now?"
"Yes, she should be returning any time," Donna said. "So act normal." With that, Donna got into the water and splashed around with us for a while. After what felt like several minutes, I saw Karen standing meekly by the side of the house. She stared right at me and mouthed the words: "Get Donna."
I tapped Donna on the shoulder, and when she saw Karen, she held her hands out and mouthed back: "What?"
Karen gestured wildly for Donna to come over.
Donna grumbled something under her breath as she got out of the pool. She dried off with a beach towel, then flung it over her shoulders. I got out of the water and watched as I dried myself off on the platform. When Donna walked up to Karen, the latter grabbed her arm and they both vanished from sight behind the house.
"What's going on?" George wanted to know.
"A bondage game," Shirley said with disgust. "Karen's the captor and she only wants Doug and Donna."
I winced when I heard the bitterness in Shirley's voice. I had assumed Karen was taking all of us (with the exception of George, of course, who was considered too young to participate in our games--but that didn't stop him from being an enthusiastic observer).
Before I could say anything, Karen came back into view and started waving at me. As I stepped down from the pool platform, Shirley, her voice dripping with venom, sarcastically muttered, "Have fun."
Feeling awkward, I flung my beach towel over my bare shoulder and walked over to Karen. Donna stood in front with her hands held up. Despite the fact that I already knew, I asked, "What's going on?"
"DON'T MOVE!" Karen screeched, waving a water pistol. "You're coming with me!"
I was about to ask how could I go with her if she didn't want me to move, but I thought better of it and simply raised my hands. "I'll do whatever you want lady, just don't shoot."
Poor Karen appeared extremely nervous, running strictly on adrenaline and anxiety, as she escorted Donna and me over to her house. She lived with her parents in a cul-de-sac less than a block away from my Aunt Jean's place. Karen was an only child (like me) with both parents working full time jobs, so she was home alone for most of the day with her elderly next-door neighbor checking in on her from time to time.
Once we arrived at her home, Karen guided us to the guest bedroom through the back door. When we entered the bedroom, I initially thought Karen had laid clothesline rope out on the bed--however, it wasn't rope at all, but old pieces of cloth cut into thin strips.
"Ok," Karen said, pointing at Donna. "You take a strip and tie him--no, wait!" she corrected herself. "Doug, you tie her hands."
Donna gave me a knowing smile as we removed the towels from our shoulders. Then she turned her back towards me and presented her hands for bondage. I took a strip of cloth from the bed--it was white with a faded flowery design--and used it to bind Donna's wrists together behind her back. I wrapped the cloth strip around her wrists about four times, then tied it off in a knot. Karen inspected my work, then ordered Donna to lay down on the bed. Donna pointed out that her bathing suit was still wet from swimming (as was mine), so I unfolded both of our beach towels and placed them over the bed sheet. Donna laid down on her back, leaning slightly towards her left side to keep the weight of her own body off of her bound hands.
"Now you," Karen told me. I dutifully turned my back towards her and presented my hands. Karen tied my wrists together behind my back, using two strips of cloth which were double bound with one running vertically over the other.
After she was satisfied that my hands were well tied, Karen made me sit on the edge of the bed while she retied Donna's wrists with a second strip of cloth. As she did this, I secretly tested my bonds, and was surprised at how secure these cloth strips were; my wrists were held firmly together. Karen bound Donna's ankles together with two separate strips of cloth, then hog-tied them to her wrists.
Once Donna was thoroughly tied up, Karen escorted me to the other side of the bed, where I was made to lay down in the opposite direction of Donna. Karen double-tied my ankles together, then fastened them to my wrists in the same hog-tie fashion she put Donna in. After I was securely bound, Karen stepped back with a broad smile on her face, then let out a heavy sigh, as if relieved that she got this far.
"How much are you asking for us?" I asked, trying to look panicked.
"I don't think she wants a ransom," Donna said in an overly melodramatic manner. "Just what are you going to do with us, anyway?"
"That's for me to know, and you to find out," Karen said over her shoulder as she left the bedroom. She clearly appeared to be enjoying herself.
Once we were alone, Donna immediately began twisting and writhing as she tested her bonds. Her hair, which was wet and slicked back from swimming, was now starting to dry in that fashion, giving her the comical look of having been caught in a wind tunnel. I didn't laugh, because I knew my hair probably looked the same way. After a brief struggle with her bonds, Donna gave up. "I can't believe Karen was
worried she wouldn't be able to tie a decent knot," she muttered.
I gave my own bonds a test, but got the same results as Donna. "I guess she learned a lot from getting tied up all the time."
"Can you roll over so that we're lying with our backs--" Donna abruptly stopped talking when Karen reappeared in the doorway with a roll of tape.
"What are you guys up to?" Karen asked, giving us a suspicious look.
When Donna and I didn't answer, Karen simply shrugged and gagged Donna. Then she gagged me, covering the bottom half of my face with the tape. Putting the roll of tape next to me on the bed, Karen decided to take this time to recheck my bonds.
She must have spent a good five minutes just tugging at my knots, then pulling at the cloth strip which hog-tied me, then tugging at the same knots yet again. I glanced over at Donna, who shook her head and rolled her eyes. Karen must have caught this look between us, because she abruptly left me alone and walked out of the room. I couldn't help but notice that she never bothered to check Donna's bonds.
As soon as Karen shut the door behind her, Donna immediately began writhing and squirming until she managed to swing her body over so that she now lay completely flat on her back. Thanks to the hog-tied position her bonds kept her in, her knees were bent up with her bare feet pressed against her bottom. But by pushing down against the mattress with the balls of her feet, Donna used this as a pivot to turn over on her right side, so that her back--along with the knots binding her wrists and ankles--was now facing me.
Donna craned her head over her shoulder and gave me an expectant look. I confidently tried to do the same thing...and failed miserably. In retrospect, Donna was able to shift her weight so easily because she actually laid on her back to begin with, while I laid completely on my left side, which made rolling over more of a chore for me (Karen didn't leave much slack on the cloth strip that hog-tied my wrist and ankles). What added to the problem was the fact that there wasn't much room on the bed to begin with, and so I was also paranoid about falling off--which was not a pleasant prospect when you realize I didn't have the use of my arms or legs to help break the fall. The thought of landing on my head and breaking my neck wasn't very appealing. And so fear--more so than my actual bonds--kept me right where I was.
Perhaps it was just as well our escape attempt fell through, because Karen soon re-entered the room. She stopped short when she saw Donna was now in a different position.
Shaking her head, Karen said, "I'm going to have to move one of you. It was a bad idea keeping you two together, anyway."
That was when we all heard a door slam in the hallway, followed by the sound of a female voice calling Karen's name. Remember I mentioned earlier that Karen's elderly next door neighbor checked in on her from time to time? Well, this was one of those times.
In response to the woman's unexpected arrival, Karen whispered a curse, then ran out of the room, closing the door behind her.
What followed were several extremely tense minutes as Donna and I both laid very still on the bed, each staring wide-eyed at each other over our gags. I could overhear Karen chatting amiably with the woman, and I actually closed my eyes when I heard them walk right by our door. If Karen was rattled by the woman's sudden appearance, she didn't sound like it.
Donna and I continued to anxiously listen for any signs that the old lady might walk right into the room we were tied up in--not that we could do anything about it, of course. However, I have to admit that hearing the casual conversation outside only made the whole kidnap game even more real for me. I've lost count of the many scenes in movies and TV shows that I've watched where the abductors were calmly shooting the breeze while their bound and gagged kidnap victim in another room would be anxiously watching the door like Donna and I were doing now.
We remained like that for the better part of twenty minutes before Karen entered the room. She made a beeline for Donna--who laid closest to her--and only untied her hog-tie and wrists bonds before running back outside. The first thing Donna did was to stretch out her legs, then she wearily sat up and removed her gag with a heavy sigh of relief.
I cleared my throat sharply, to remind her that I was still tied up. Leaving her ankles tied, Donna rolled over and pulled her legs up under her so that she knelt next to me. She freed the cloth strip which hog-tied me, and I gratefully stretched out my legs while Donna untied my wrists.
When I sat up and removed my tape gag, Donna sat back facing in the opposite direction with her still-bound ankles lying right next to me. I wondered why she was doing this until she began untying my feet for me--I took the hint and untied her ankles for her. Once we were completely free, Donna and I tip-toed over to the door and cracked it open. The conversation between Karen and her caretaker continued in the kitchen down the hall.
We peeked in that direction and saw only Karen standing in the kitchen doorway, chattering away. She caught a glimpse of us and made a furtive waving gesture with her hand. Seeing the front door was wide open, we quickly got the hint and carefully walked out of the house, our bare feet silent against the carpeted floor. I realize this might sound weird, but all of this sneaking around only added to the game for me. We were making our escape from our abductor, and I was loving every minute of it.
In our haste to leave, we forgot our beach towels. Karen brought them over to my Aunt Jean's later and also let us know that our game wasn't finished. Apparently, she had planned to hold Donna and I captive all afternoon by giving us breaks in-between the bondage. I recall Donna response to this was: "Oh great, we've got another Becca...."
Shirley remained royally ticked off. It was bad enough she couldn't stay over at Becca's house the night before, but now she missed out on Karen's big bondage bash. I privately asked Donna: "Why didn't Karen want to kidnap Shirley?"
Donna made a face at that. She explained that Karen originally wanted to keep her first game as a captor simple by abducting only one particular person. But, feeling awkward at the thought of holding a lone captive, she also invited Donna, her best friend. Karen didn't invite Shirley--or even Becca and Jim--because she thought two captives would be more than enough for her to handle her first time out. I could understand that, but I was curious about something. "Who did she originally want to kidnap alone?"
Donna grinned broadly at me and said, "You. Karen's been wanting to kidnap you since she first met you."
I remember feeling mortified when I heard that. I tried to figure out what I could have said or done to Karen to have ticked her off. But Donna reassured me that it wasn't anything like that. Karen eventually got her second chance--but not before all of us were struck by a force of nature so powerful, that we could only surrender under its sheer might. I'm talking about my oldest cousin Keith (age 15) and his friend Peter, who decided to play a bondage game of their own. As always, thanks for reading.