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August 14 2012 18:37:49.
Today Tuesday 21 May 2013 17:52:41
I picked up the bergen with both hands to control the noise, and with
the flashlight in my mouth I made my way over to the staircase doors. The
beam shone on plastic bags under the staircase containing the world's
largest collection of empty Kraft ready-made dinner containers. They weren't
putting the rubbish out; they were hiding it. They were taking no chances.
Nor was I; I took the bow from the bergen and laid it down so that as I
picked it up with my left hand the cable would be facing me, and the arrows
were ready to access.
There wasn't any light shining through the gaps around the staircase
door. I put my ear to the wood and listened. The voices on the TV were
louder, but still indistinct. There was more shooting and police sirens, and
a fairly constant murmuring, which I could distinguish from the TV;
it 1seemed as if the household was having a long night of telly,
munchies and chat.
An inspection of the lock told me it was an ordinary lever type. I
gently pushed on the area of the door by the lock, then pulled it forward,
to see if there was any give. There was about half an inch. Then, with my
hands down at the bottom of the door and still on the same side as the lock,
I pushed hard and slow to see if it had been bolted. It gave way an inch,
then moved back into position. I did the same to the top of the door. That
also gave way, this time just over half an inch, and I gently eased it back
into position. It seemed that there were no bolts on the other side, just
the one lever lock to deal with.
Holding my breath, I slowly twisted the handle to check that the door
was locked. You could spend hours picking the lock only to find the thing
was already open; best to take your time and check the obvious. I'd always
found that holding my breath gave me more control over slow movements, and
it made it easier to hear if there was any reaction to what I was doing.
As I'd assumed, the door was locked.
The next move was to check all the likely places where a spare key
might be hidden. Why spend time attacking a lock if a key is hidden only
feet away? Some people leave theirs dangling on a string on the other side
of the letterbox, or on the inside of a cat flap. Others leave it under a
dustbin or just behind a little pile of rocks by the door. If a key is going
to be left, it will nearly always be somewhere on the normal approach to the
door. I checked the shelving above the washing machine, under the old
rusting paint tins by the door, and along the top of the door frame and all
the obvious places. Nothing. I would have to work on the lock.
I got down on my knees, listening all the time to the TV show, and
looked through the keyhole. I could still see nothing but darkness. I shone
the flashlight through and had another look. There was a glint of metal. I
smiled; piece of piss. They'd left the key in the lock.
The glow from Baby-G in this darkness was outrageous, but it told me it
was now nearly 2 a.m. I'd give it just another thirty minutes, and maybe by
then these fuckers would be in bed. Meanwhile, if they came downstairs for
more munchies, I'd need to know, so I sat on the floor with my ear to the
door listening to the rain and the TV The police cars were still screaming
and the shooting had become more intense. A floorboard creaked above me,
then another. I looked up and followed the sound, trying to picture where he
was. The movement continued across the floor to more or less directly over
Picking up the bow, I turned and looked through the keyhole to see if
he was going to turn the light on and come downstairs. The key obscured most
of my vision, but I'd be able to see light, as the teeth were still up in
the wards of the lock. There was a faint glimmer, but it was ambient light
from quite a distance away, maybe way up at the top of the stairs. No one
was coming down. The light disappeared. There were more creaks above me,
then the muffled talking started again. The commercials must be coming on.
There was nothing to do but wait while the minutes ticked away. All I
knew was that I had to get in there and do it at two thirty, no matter what.
How, I didn't know; I'd just play it by ear. I sat down again and got
back to listening to the TV and the rain.
I was quite thirsty after the exertions of the night. The chest freezer
started to rattle again; I tiptoed over and lifted the lid very slowly. The
light came on. I had a quick look at all the goodies. There were boxes of
Kraft dinners, macaroni and microwave fries. It was obvious that nobody had
been giving a lot of thought to the culinary side of this trip, which I bet
Sarah didn't like, and none of it was any good to me. Then I found something
I could munch: a Magnum bar.