It was all for a laugh really.  We’d done it before; one of us would keep a lookout, while the other two would sneak in through a window and poke around. We didn’t do it to steal, not really, but we’d move things around, mess it up a bit – one time Charlie ate this big meal they’d put in the fridge. How we laughed, imagining their faces when they got home and found their food gone!

This time seemed no different at first.  We mooched along the street, looking out for a possible target.  It was a warm autumn evening, so there were a few windows open, but mostly people moving around inside.  Eventually, though, we found a house that was closed up from the front and in darkness, and George crept round the side of the house to find a window open at the back.  It made us laugh; people think they’re being so careful, not leaving windows open at the front, but what idiot would break in from the street anyway?

So George put his arm through the window to release the catch of the bigger window frame, and he and I climbed in.  Charlie was on lookout this time round.  George and I started looking round.  I was hungry, so I looked in the cupboards, but George headed upstairs.

I was just tucking into a piece of chocolate cake I’d found, when George came running down the stairs so loud and so fast I thought at first he’d fallen down them.  “Out! Now!” he yelled, and yanked the back door open, not stopping to see if I was following him.  I took a last mouthful of chocolate cake and then followed him at a slower pace, but he grabbed my jacket and pulled me after him.  Charlie had been just around the corner, lighting a cig, and he came wandering round to see what was happening.  George slapped the cig from his mouth and almost screamed in his face.  “We’ve got to get out of here!”

By now we were starting to catch his sense of urgency, and while I wouldn’t say we panicked, we started following him pretty fast.  George tore down the street and headed across the park towards the woods, looking as though he feared for his life.  We gave up trying to act cool and sped up, but it was a good few minutes before we caught up to him, and then it was only because he’d stopped, hidden behind a tree.

I bent over, hands on my knees, gasping for breath.  “You gonna tell us what’s wrong, George?” I tried to sound casual, but my heart was beating fast and I felt a rising sense of fear, not helped by the expression on George’s face.  He looked terrified.  I’ve never seen anyone look that scared before, not even my little brother when he first saw fireworks.

George just shook his head.  “It’s over, guys,” he said, his voice shaking.  “We’ve done it now.  There’s no going back.  Ever.  We can never let them find us, or our lives are over.”


This is based on a dream I had recently.  The sense of panic was overwhelming.

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