In October of 1978, when I was thirteen years old, I stayed over at my friend Scott's house. It was the Friday night before Halloween-which fell on the following Tuesday-and we were in the living room, watching an old black and white horror movie on the TV. Scott's mother allowed us to stay up and watch the movie, but only on the condition that we change into our pajamas. Scott lay on the sofa clad in pajama bottoms and a robe. He was barefoot, and underneath the robe he was shirtless. I lay facedown on the carpeted floor, with a pillow tucked under my chin. I was also barefoot, and clad only in my “pajamas”, such as they were: just my white under shorts, which were covered by the hem of the extra large football jersey that I wore.
The movie we watched was The Black Cat, an old 1930s horror flick starring Boris Karloff and Bela Lugosi. I didn't think it was really scary, but I watched with interest as a woman was being prepared for a ritual where she would be sacrificed. It was a big let down for me when, just as she was brought into the ceremonial room, the woman was not tied up at all.
When I mentioned how annoyed I was at this to Scott, he abruptly got off the sofa and left the room. He never said a word to me. I ignored him, figuring he had to use the bathroom, or something. I didn't even look at him when he returned; I kept staring at the TV.
That was when Scott abruptly stepped right over me, bent down and placed a handkerchief on the floor, and then straddled me. He pulled my arms behind my back and started binding them together at the wrists with a length of clothesline rope.
“I thought I said that I wanted her to be tied up,” I jokingly told him, referring to the actress in the film. My face was shoved into the pillow while Scott cinched off the knot that bound my wrists. “What brought this on?”
Scott simply smiled serenely as he tied a knot in the center of the handkerchief, and then gagged me with it. Resigned to my fate, I glanced up and watched the TV while my ankles were bound together with rope. I let out a slight grunt, which was muffled through my gag, when Scott pulled my bound feet up to my buttocks and hog-tied my wrists to my ankles for good measure.
Once I was trussed up to Scott's liking, he left me on the floor and sat back down on the sofa, where he watched the rest of the film without anymore of my critique. There wasn't much left of the film at that point, and when it had ended, Scott switched off the TV set. He also turned off the light in the living room, leaving me on the floor in the dark.
Scott's shadowy figure loomed over me, and in his best, ominous voice, he said: “Midnight approaches, I must prepare for the ceremony. If you have any prayers to say, young master Douglas, now is the time to say them.”
I let out a muffled groan from under my gag as I watched Scott pad out of the living room. In less than half an hour I went from watching a bad horror movie to being trapped in one. I lay on my side, with my head against the pillow and my bound legs bent up beneath me. I was not left in complete darkness, however. There was a small nightlight that had been left on in the kitchen, right over the stove. This provided the only illumination for both rooms, and the long shadows it cast certainly created a spooky Halloween mood for me.
I took stock of the situation, just as I imagined a real-life kidnap victim would. I did the time-old captive custom of testing my bonds, and found them to be secure. I wasn't going anywhere, so there was no sense in struggling. Being hog-tied was one of the hardest bondage positions to escape from. And I wasn't really sure if I wanted to be free just yet. It was great that Scott sprung a bondage game on me like this, but what made it even better was the fact that he had something further planned for me-something that was apparently Halloween-inspired-and I was curious to see what it was.
And so as I lay there, I savored the moment. I imagined that I had been abducted from my home, right out of my very bed-which would explain my being clad only in my nightshirt-and brought to this strange house, where I had been trussed up on the floor to await my fate while my captors prepared a dark ceremony for me.
My little horror movie fantasy was shattered when the ceiling light came on. I glanced over to see Scott's mother standing in the doorway. Barefoot, she was clad in an ankle-length nightgown that was off white in color. She padded over to me and casually asked, “Playing another tie-up game?”
I shyly nodded. In the harshness of the ceiling light, lying bound and gagged at the feet of this woman with a bemused smile on her face, I couldn't help but feel a little silly.
Scott entered, took one look at the situation, and said “Moooooom!” as a long, annoyed groan. This was a big change from several minutes ago, when Scott sounded like the high priest of doom from a Lovecraft horror story as he lorded over me. How the mighty have fallen.
His mother pointed towards the kitchen and said, “You left dirty glasses in the sink. And seeing how you've got Doug trussed up like a calf at a rodeo, you can go wash them, Scott.”
Oddly enough, Scott's mother followed her son into the kitchen, chiding him on his attitude. She even switched off the overhead light, leaving me in the darkness once more. She made no move to untie me, or even mentioned that I should be freed.
After Scott did the dishes, he came back into the living room, where he stood over me. His mother leaned into the room and said, “Don't stay up too late, boys. Goodnight.”
Scott let out a heavy sigh, and then he bent down and untied me. Actually, he only untied my legs. My hands were still tied as Scott helped me up to my feet. Scott grabbed me by the nape of my neck and led me upstairs to his bedroom. There was a foldout bed in the middle of the room, next to Scott's bed-this was where I was to sleep tonight, and this was also where I was to be kept tied up. I saw a length of rope trailing out from under the metal framework under the mattress.
Scott made me lean up against his desk while he retrieved the rope from under the bed. He let out a curse when he saw that the opposite end was not properly secured to the metal framework. While he bent down and busied himself retying the rope, I decided it was time to take a little walk. My wrists may have been bound behind my back, and my mouth was gagged with cloth, yet my feet were free. I slipped out of the room on tiptoe, my bare feet silent against the carpeting. I was out of his bedroom and halfway down the hall when I finally heard him shout “HEY!”
I didn't try to go back downstairs. Instead I quickly slipped into an old guest bedroom that was used as a hobby room by Scott's mother. It was empty now, since she had gone to bed. I pressed myself up against a wall by the doorway and waited until I heard Scott run past, cursing like a sailor under his breath. The lord of darkness sounded like he was ticked off at my escape.
With luck, my satanic captor will be looking for me downstairs, which should buy me enough of time to do what I was about to do right now. I went over to the sewing table and grabbed a pair of scissors with my bound hands. I had trouble manipulating them with my bound hands, and decided that it would be better if I were sitting. However, it was all too easy for Scott to see me in here if he ran past the doorway, and if I shut the door, he would still know I was in here, anyway.
So I brought the scissors with me into the closet, where I knelt down on the floor with my back up against the wall. I placed the handle end of the scissors on the floor between my bare feet and carefully slid my bound hands up and down the blades. It took a while, but I finally cut through the ropes that bound my wrists just enough to work my hands loose. With my hands free, I pulled off the cloth gag, letting it hang around my neck, and stood up.
I balled up the rope, threw it in the garbage pail, and then I put the scissors back where I found them. Despite the fact that I was now free, I still did not consider this game to be over, not by a long shot. While I, the young sacrificial victim, may have just freed myself, I was still trapped in this strange house clad only in my bare feet and scant nightclothes. I had to find my way out of this place, which meant I would be wandering around the shadows of this large creepy house-at least until I was recaptured again.
I tiptoed over to the doorway and peered out into the hallway. It was quiet and empty. Scott must still be looking for me downstairs. Since that would be where I would have to go in order to escape this nuthouse, I descended the steps into the inky blackness. It appeared as though Scott had turned off the nightlight in the kitchen, because the entire ground floor of the house was pitch black. It was so dark that I literally had to feel my way around once I was on the floor. Talk about feeling like I was in a horror movie! It couldn't get any worse than this.
Or so I thought.
I let out a startled yelp as I was tackled from behind. Scott hand gagged me and pinned my left arm behind my back, forcing me to kneel down on the floor. Scott then pulled the football jersey off of me, and I was now clad only in my white shorts.
“Thanks for still wearing this,” Scott whispered, as he shoved the knotted section of my cloth gag back into my mouth. To my surprise, after he re-gagged me, Scott then came around and tied my wrists together in front of me. He stood up and pulled me to my feet by tugging on my bound hands, then led me over to a closet that was under the staircase. It was a tiny space, with the wall on side of the closet leaning in at a sharp 45-degree angle, matching the angle of the stairs that were directly above. There were various boxes and knick-knacks on the shelves, along with a full-length mirror that was on the wall opposite from the door.
Scott made me lean up with my back against the wall next to the door, where he pulled my bound wrists above my head and hung my rope bonds on an old metal coat hook that was nailed into the wall. I was literally hung up against the wall with my bound hands pulled above me. I wasn't even able to stand flat-footed; just the balls of my feet touched the floor. And to make matters worse, Scott bound my ankles together with more rope.
“I've got to go get set up for your sacrifice,” Scott said into my ear, “I'll be back for you when I'm ready, so just hang tight, ok?”
Scott shut the door on his way out, leaving me alone in the cramped space. Thankfully, the bare light bulb that stuck out from the ceiling was left on. I glanced up at my bound hands, which hung helplessly on either side of the hook. Since I was forced to stand on my tiptoes, I couldn't get the leverage needed to try and swing my bound hands up and off of the hook. Scott really got me completely trussed up and helpless this time.
I stared at myself in the full-length mirror. A sandy haired thirteen-year-old boy stared back at me. Barefoot and shirtless, he was clad only in his white under shorts. The deep summer tan had long ago faded from his long, colt-like legs and bare arms. His bare feet were bound together with clothesline rope that was wrapped four times around his ankles, and cinched off in a knot that was tied vertically over the original bonds. A cloth gag was wrapped around his head, holding a knotted up section of cloth that had been stuffed into his mouth. Although his bound wrists could not be seen in the mirror, from the way his arms were pulled up over his head, it was obvious that the boy was securely tied to something.
The small space that the thirteen-year-old boy was trussed up in was confined and dingy looking. The pale glow of the light bulb gave the dark paneled walls an ominous look, which reflected the present situation the boy found himself in. Ripped from the warmth and safety of his bed in the middle of the night, the boy was brought here and left tied up like a side of beef in these squalid quarters. However, as uncomfortable as the boy might be in his restrictive bondage, the longer he was left alone in here, momentarily forgotten by his captors, the longer he stayed alive. At this rate, he wondered if he would live long enough to see the dawn.
The boy's fears rose to the surface once more when the door opened and his captor, the high priest of doom himself, entered.
Scott grabbed me around my waist and lifted me up slightly, enabling me to free my bound wrists from the hook. Although my hands were free of the hook, they were still tied together. But it still felt good to be able to bring my arms down for a change. Scott blindfolded me with another handkerchief, and after he untied my ankles, he led me out of the closet.
I knew I was being led back upstairs to Scott's bedroom. He had been preparing the cot I was to sleep on for me to be tied to. And I could only assume that he was finished with his preparation. After I had been led upstairs and down the second floor hallway, I was brought into Scott's room. I knew this because I had been over his place so many times that I knew where I was even though I was blindfolded. Also being barefooted helped; I could feel from the floor where I was, and I knew from all the carpeting that I was on the second floor.
Scott made me lie down on the cot on my back. My bound hands were secured above my head to the edge of the cot, and my ankles were tied together and then secured to the opposite end. I was a tightly tied up sacrificial victim, laying with my bare chest exposed and helpless for a knife to plunge into.
I lay there, wondering what was next, and waited, and waited…and waited.
Then I heard Scott lie down in his bed next to me, and I wondered what was going on. It must have been midnight, or close to it, and while I wasn't expecting Scott to really sacrifice me, I was wondering what he had planned.
Apparently, it was nothing.
I had fallen asleep without even realizing it. I woke up with a start, still gagged and blindfolded, still trussed down to the cot. But something had awoken me, and I soon realized what it was.
My hands were free.
They were still tied together at the wrists, but they were no longer secured to the edge of the cot above my head. I brought them down--my arms stiff from having lay in the same position for too long--and pulled off my blindfold. I glanced around the bedroom, expecting to find Scott standing over me.
But he was nowhere to be seen in the room.
A glance at the clock told me that I had been asleep, trussed up on the cot, for almost four hours.
I sat up and pulled off my gag, and then I reached down and untied my ankles. My wrists were still tied together in front of me because I was unable to work the knot loose, so I got up and left the room to search for something sharp. And once I placed a bare foot in the hallway, I glanced over my bare shoulder and saw the most frightening sight in my young life.
A shadowy figure stood in the hallway. Dressed in black, he wore a rubber Halloween mask. He reached out with his arms to grab me as he ran towards me like a bat out of hell.
I let out a shriek as I ran for my life down the hallway. Scott's mother's bedroom door flew open and she stood there, clad only in her pajamas, staring wide-eyed at me as I ran helplessly towards her.
“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON HERE?!” Scott's mother demanded, as she grabbed me and protectively held me in her arms.
I had started to babble incoherently on about how we needed to get inside the bedroom and lock the door…until I saw Scott standing behind the masked intruder, laughing his ass off. The masked intruder removed his mask to reveal a teenaged boy.
He turned out to be Scott's older cousin Ron, who was coming up to stay with them for a few days. The problem was he wasn't expected until tomorrow. But he caught an early bus, which deposited him in town tonight. When he arrived at the house, Scott let him in and showed him what he was up to: namely me. When Ron saw me, he and Scott decided to play a Halloween prank on me while I was tied up on the cot and sound asleep. Ron put on the Halloween mask, and then freed my hands from the cot. Just as I was busy freeing myself, Ron and Scott ran out into the hallway, ready to give me the scare of my life. I had to say, as much as I hated them at that moment, I was really grateful that the whole thing turned out to be a joke. For a brief few minutes, I had been caught up in a real life horror movie.
But that wouldn't be my last encounter with Ron. I would meet up with him again on Halloween night, and that meeting would prove to be ten times scarier than what went down tonight. But that's another story.