Margot smiled as she manipulated the thin piece of metal through the panes of a window and watched the latch open. She glanced around one more time to verify no one had spotted her, although being on the rear of the house, standing on the back porch roof, and wearing a black leotard at 2am on a moonless night greatly reduced those odds.
She placed the jig back into her small tool bag and slid her gloved hands against the pane, easing it open. Once it was open far enough, she slipped through the opening and lowered it. She took out her penlight and shone it about the room. Based on the furnishings, this was most likely a guest bedroom, and there would be nothing of value in here.
She walked to the door and slowly turned the knob and opened it a crack. She saw no one else in the dark hallway, so she opened it the rest of the way. She looked down the hallway and saw a closed door with a crack of light underneath it. Muffled voices were coming from the room, which meant the occupants were still home and awake.
Strange, she thought. I've been watching this house all week, and I thought only a single woman lived here. Margot considered her options. She could sneak back out the way she came in, and no one would be the wiser. Still, she was already inside, and maybe the woman had a male friend over for a little "adult recreation" that evening. If so, she could successfully loot the place while they were busy. Worst case, she might miss out on some of the jewelry which was in the master bedroom, but she could probably secure enough electronics to make the effort worthwhile.
Margot crept toward the staircase and descended. About halfway down, one of the stairs creaked. Margot froze. She listened carefully, but apparently the couple was too busy to notice or too into the mood to bother checking out the noise.
Smiling at her good fortune, she made her way downstairs and saw an office at the foot of the stairs. Margot entered the office and headed toward the desk, when she felt a piece of cold metal press against the back of her neck.
"Hold it right there," said a male voice.
Margot cursed herself for not backing out earlier and raised her hands. "Look, I'm sure we can..."
"Shut up," said the man. "Put your hands behind your back... slowly, and cross your wrists."
Sighing, Margot did as she was told. She heard the man fidgeting with something and then felt a thin strip of plastic touch one of her hands. She heard a quick crackling sound and felt a sudden tension on her wrists confirming her suspicion that she had just been zip-tied.
The metal pulled away from her neck, and the man pulled another zip-tie behind her wrists perpendicular to the other, and tightened it.
"Can't we talk about this?" she asked.
"I said 'Shut up'," the man grunted. Margot saw a white cloth flash in front of her face before it was pulled tightly between her lips and tied behind her head. Once she was gagged, the man grabbed her shoulders and turned her around.
"Well, aren't you pretty?" commented the man. Margot wished she could say the same, but her captor was wearing a ski mask. She tried telling him to go fuck himself, but the gag reduced her defiance to a set of undecipherable grunts.
"Got a mouth on you, eh?" said the man. He reached out and grabbed one of Margot's breasts and gave it a firm twist and squeeze, causing Margot to whine in pain. "Better watch that mouth, or things can get real unpleasant real fast."
Margot scowled as she wondered what the man's plan for her was. He appeared to be considering his options as well. Obviously, he was up to no good as well, and Margot just found herself in a case of really bad timing.
The man pulled the gun out of his back pocket and grabbed Margot's hair with his other hand. "We're going back upstairs," he ordered and dragged Margot toward the staircase.
Margot was led upstairs and toward the lit room she spied earlier. The man opened the door and shoved her inside. The woman Margot had seen when she cased the place earlier in the week was seated on her bed in a nightie with each of her wrists zip-tied to the posts of her metal-framed canopy bed. She, too, had been gagged with a cloth, and her ankles were zip-tied together as well.
"Funny story," said the man to the homeowner. "This girl here had the same idea I did. You really need to get a security system or a dog... probably a big one."
The homeowner didn't seem amused at the man's comments. He shrugged and led Margot over to the foot of the bed. He took out another zip-tie and looped it between the ties binding Margot's wrists and secured it around the post. He took out three more, bound her knees and ankles together, and used the last to secure her ankles to the bedpost as well.
"You two can get acquainted while I finish my shopping," sneered the man. "I'll be back."
Margot couldn't have felt more awkward at the way the woman looked at her. Although they were both victims, had the man not beaten Margot inside, she would have put the woman in the exact same predicament. Margot shrugged and hung her head.
About fifteen minutes later, the man came back carrying the handset of a cordless phone. He put the phone in Margot's hand.
"Here ya go," he said. "You can call 911 and have the police free you within the hour and risk jail time for B&E, or you can drop the phone and try to get loose yourself. Of course, if you can't, then it's going to be a lot longer until someone checks on this gal. It's your call. In any case, I'm leaving, so good luck to the both of you."
The man left, and Margot looked at the homeowner who was nodding her head like there was only one obvious choice.
Margot's thumb hovered over the keypad wondering if her bad luck had fully run out or not...