Rex is a burglar who rob people's houses and sell items to antique shop. He has a girlfriend who is on benefits so he helps her out with the money. The girl has a child from another man who is a drug addict and he always pesters her for money.


5. Chapter Five

In the second or two it took for him to squeeze the trigger, Karina leapt from the bed and in front of Rex.  A shot rang out and Karina yelled out in pain.  They both gazed at her lying on the floor, blood coming out of her chest.

“You stupid bastard,” screamed Rex.  He bent down beside her.  She was still alive and looking into Rex’s face.  “Karina, how d’you feel?” he asked, looking at her bloody chest. 

“I don’t want to die.  Take care of Vanya” she whispered.  Then she breathed out long and slow and her eyes went fixed.

“You killed her,” said Rex. 

The man in the suit put the gun away in his pocket and stood up.  By this time the sound of the solitary shot brought people to the door, including the woman in charge. 

“Is she dead?” asked the woman in charge.

“Yes,” said Rex, now crying.

“We’ll take care of the body.  You two leave and don’t come back ever,” said the woman in charge.  The man in the suit stepped passed Rex and left.

“Who’s Vanya?” said Rex.

“I don’t know,” admitted the woman in charge.

“She whispered her name before she died.”

One of the girls squeezed through the throng round the door.  “I know who Vanya is.”

Everybody looked at her.  “It’s her daughter and she’s four.  I’ll get you her address.” 

“I never knew she had a daughter,” said the woman in charge.

Rex went into the corridor, all along it there were heads poking out.  He pushed passed the little crowd and walked out of the corridor.  It was when he got to the front door that a woman’s voice called him from behind.  She pushed a piece of paper into one of his pockets, and then was gone.  He left the brothel and got into his car. 

He drove into town and went to a cafe.  He didn’t realise that somebody was following him in a car.  That person even followed him into the cafe and took a table a few tables away from Rex.  It was while he was in the cafe and sipping a cup of tea that he fished out the piece of paper.  It was an address: ‘Flat 6, Harding House, Harding Road.’  He checked the map and discovered that Harding Road was only half a mile away.  He drove there.  Again he was followed.  The house looked like it needed condemning.  Rex opened the front door and walked in.  Flat 1 and 2 were downstairs so he went up the stairs and found 3 and 4.  He found flat 6 on the next floor.  He knocked three times and there was no answer.  He tried the door handle and found the door open.  It was just one large room with a bed, table and chairs and an old sofa.  Sitting on the sofa and looking at him in horror was a little girl.

“Vanya?” said Rex.

The little girl swept away some long brown hair from her face and nodded at him.  Her eyes were big and her ears stuck out like a funny cartoon character.  Maybe it was because she had pushed her hair behind her ears that made them stick out.

“Have you got a father?” he asked.

“No.  Where’s mum?”  Her English was normal.

“You’re coming with me, Vanya.”

“Why?  Where’s mum, do you know where she is?”

He held out his hand and she got off the sofa and took it.  “Have you got any clothes?”

“In a box under the bed.”

“Well, go and get it then.”

He took the box off her and they went down to his car.  He drove home and again he was followed.


Erik Thomson, 68, with short black, greying hair, stood in front of the wardrobe mirror and admired himself, despite being short and skinny.  His wife, Sarah, was sat across the bedroom from him at the dressing table.  She was combing her long blond hair.

“We don’t want to be late for the first act darling,” said Erik.  He opened the wardrobe door and took out a pair of shiny black shoes.  He went and sat on the bed to put them on.

Sarah, ignoring his obvious statement that was designed to make her hurry, continued to comb her hair.  It shone in the light and made a soft noise as the brush passed through it.  “They recommended ‘The Horse,’ at work did they?” she said, putting the brush down and selecting the diamond ear rings.

“It’s only on at the theatre for three days.  This is the last night and we’re jolly lucky to get tickets,” he said.  He stood up in his shoes and walked over to the wardrobe.  He looked at himself in the mirror – it will do.  He turned and looked at his wife.  Twenty years ago she was a stunner, would turn every male head, but now the spare tyre and facial lines put her in a different league.  She joined the ranks, like him, of the middle aged where the signs of advancing years spoke volumes.  But he loved her and wouldn’t swop her for the world.

“Are you ready darling?” he asked, in a shallow voice.

“Yes.”  She stood up in a black silk gown that didn’t hide her spare tyre and rustled to the door.  She went straight out the front door and into the front passenger seat of their car.  He locked up, being sure to leave the landing light on, and got into the car.

“You look dishy tonight,” he complemented.

She smiled and smoothed her hair with a stroke of her hand.  They drove off in the direction of the theatre.


Rex looked at the digital clock he had by his bed.  It was midnight.  His mum, usually the last to go to bed, went up half an hour ago.  He had sneaked Vanya in earlier.  He would tell his parents about her later.  He looked at the way she seemed so helpless lying there in his bed asleep.

He’d had the stitches to his thigh wound removed a week ago and he was feeling fit.  He sneaked out of the house and was soon driving eastwards.  When he reached the house he stopped in the road and took a look up the short driveway to the house.  The car was gone and there was a light on in the house.  He parked a couple of doors up and got his big black holdall.

Standing in the porch he noticed that the door had a small key Yale lock.  He selected the crowbar from the bag and began levering the lip end into the crack in the door where the lock was.  A short time later the front door sprang open.  He waited half a minute for someone to appear because of the noise, but no one did.  He left his bag by the door and went upstairs to check if anybody was in bed.  After checking all four bedrooms and finding them empty, he went down and got his bag.

“I thoroughly enjoyed that,” said Sarah, as they both walked out of the theatre with the throng.

“Fancy a drink somewhere?” asked Erik.

“No.  Let’s go home.  I feel tired.”

Rex saw the heavy gold chains hanging on the side of the dressing table mirror.  He put them in his pocket.  Then he opened the jewellery box.  Nothing looked artificial so he emptied the box into his empty jean jacket pocket.  Most burglars would of then flung the empty box on the floor, but Rex wasn’t like most burglars, he closed the lid and placed it back on the dressing table

Downstairs he unplugged the large screen plasma TV and carried it to his car.  With that in the back seat, he went back for the DVD player.  That went on the front seat.  Then he went back for his bag of tools.  He had left them in the lounge.  Just as he picked up the bag a beam of light hit the windows and he heard a car approach.  The occupants had returned.  He couldn’t get away through the front door, so he looked for a back door.  He went into the kitchen and saw a back door.  He tried it and found it to be locked.  There was no key in sight.  He got out the crowbar and started levering at the lock.  The crowbar bent.  He was now panicking.  Everything was still dark, though he knew they’d be walking in any minute.  Where was a window?  He saw a window in front of the kitchen sink and tried it.  It opened.  So he pushed his bag out through the window and then climbed out after it.

By that time Erik had discovered that the front door was broken.  He told Sarah to go back in the car while he phoned the police.  When he had phoned them he slowly and quietly crept into the house.  He went into each room, turning the lights on.  When he went into the kitchen and saw the open window, he knew the burglar was long gone.  But he searched upstairs anyway.  Having checked the house, he urged Sarah to enter the house.  They sat in the lounge and saw that the TV and DVD had gone.

The police arrived three hours later.  By that time Sarah and Erik had checked their house for what was missing.

“A 42 inch plasma TV and an expensive DVD player, and my wife has lost all her jewellery.  I’ve lost my gold chains,” Erik told the officer.

“How could this happen to us?  The door was strong and we left a light on in the hall,” said Sarah, now in tears.

“That wouldn’t put off the determined thief,” said the officer.  “They’ll be coming to dust for prints in the morning, so don’t touch anything the burglar has touched.  We’ll be leaving soon so bolt the front door when we’ve gone.  At least you’ll be safe tonight.”

When Rex had jumped out of the window he had climbed over the garden fence into the next door neighbour’s garden and walked around to the front.  Then it was a simple matter of walking down their drive and back to the road where his car was parked.  He got home at 3.00 a.m. and Vanya was still asleep.  He climbed into the bed beside her and was soon asleep.

He awoke at midday and it took some time realising that there was somebody in bed with him, Vanya.

“Vanya, do you know what death means?” he said, still lying there in bed with her.

“Yes, when something goes to heaven and isn’t around anymore.”

“That’s right.  Well, your mum is dead.”

She began to cry.  “What happened to her?”

“She was knocked down by a lorry.  I saw it happen.”

There was a knock on the door.  “Are you all right in there, Rex, I can hear crying?” said his sister, Carol, behind the door.

“I’ll tell you later.”

“It sounds like a little girl’s crying.”


Edgar was a disruptive and uncooperative patient and the nurses would be glad to see the back of him.  He had collapsed twice in less than 24 hours and they diagnosed type two diabetes.  Of course he argued with them about it, but eventually he had to accept it, he was diabetic.  He was given tablets and he had to take one every day.  On the morning he was discharged he called a taxi and was driven home.  The gates were locked as usual so he pressed the buzzer.  Maria came out.

“Edgar, it’s you,” she said, surprised.

“They let me out a short while ago.  I’ve got type two diabetes.”

She unlocked the gate and he swung it open.  “How are Eddie and Satan?”

“They okay.  Eddie already had his breakfast.”

“You can cook me a breakfast.  Hospital food is muck.  I had to endure it for four days.  What I want now is a big fry-up.  Can you do that?”

“Of course,” she said, as they entered the kitchen.  He sat at the table while she prepared his fry-up.  “Will you phone Francis about work?”

“You can phone him later.  Tell him he starts tomorrow at nine.”


Rex held Vanya’s hand as they went downstairs and into the kitchen.  As he expected, his mum was in there baking cakes and bread.  She was astonished to see a little girl holding on to Rex. 

“What have we here son?” she asked.

“This is Vanya.  She’s an orphan.”

“Where did you get her from, Rex?”  His mum asked the question while rolling out some pastry.  Her hands and face were covered in flour.

“It’s a long story, but she needs a home,” he said.

“There are social services for that, Rex.”

“Before her mother died I promised her I’d look after Vanya.”

“She’d be better off in a Foster home.”

Rex could feel himself getting angry.  “Look mum, why are you being so negative about this?”

“She can’t stay here.  Now go and see your father.”

He led her into the front room where his dad was sat in an armchair reading the paper.

“Dad, this is Vanya.”

He put his paper down and looked at the little girl.  “Foreign sounding name, if you ask me.  What country are you from my dear?”

“My mum is, was, Russian,” she said, softly.

“Bloody Rusky in my house.”

“Dad, she’s just a child,” said Rex.

“Get her out of my sight.”

Rex took her back up to his bedroom.  “You stay here while I go downstairs and talk to mum,” he said.  He turned on the TV for her.

The back door in the kitchen was open and Rex could see the sunshine on the concrete outside.  His mum was still baking and was at that time kneading some bread dough on the table.  Ronnie was lying on the windowsill oblivious to what was going on around him.

“Mum, please, I was involved in that little girl’s mum dying.  I must look after her, I promised her mum before she died,” he said.  He was surprised at how muscular his mum’s arms were as she bashed the dough this way and that.  The sweat dripped down her flour covered face and gave her the appearance of a clown crying.

Still kneading the bread dough she said, “Exactly how were you involved in her death?”

“She took a bullet for me.”

She pummelled the dough harder.  “What does your father think of her?”

“Her mother was Russian.  Need I say any more?”

Just then Carol, Rex’s sister, walked in.  “Whose mother is Russian?”

Rex sighed with impatience.  “Vanya’s mother.”

“And who is Vanya?” she asked.

“A little orphan girl, upstairs in my room.”

“So I did hear crying up there.  I bet it was Vanya crying.”


“Can I go up and see her?” asked Carol.

“She’s not a bloody zoo animal,” said Rex, getting angry.

“Calm down, calm down, I only asked,” said Carol.  “Mum, can Tim come for Sunday lunch?”

“Whose, Tim?” asked mum.

“My fiancé.”

“How long have you known him?” asked mum.

“Nearly three weeks.  But we know each other like we were an old couple – like you and dad.”

“When you going to marry him?” asked mum.

“Early next year.  He’s fantastic and I love him so much, mum.”

“I suppose he can come.”

“Oh,” said Carol, as an afterthought, “Rex has shit on the floor in the hallway.”

“Been busy have you my little darling.”  She threw the lump of dough on a baking tray and put it in the oven.

“What about Vanya?” asked Rex.

“I suppose she can stay for the while, but she needs looking after, school, clothes and feeding etc.”

Rex put his hand in his pocket and took out his wallet.  He counted out two hundred pounds.  “Here mum, for the housekeeping.”

“Thank you love, much appreciated.”

There was one thing you could be sure of in their household, nobody would starve to death.  Rex’s mum was nearly always in the kitchen cooking.  And the occupants were guaranteed three meals a day. 

“Vanya, you’re coming with me, we’re going out in my car,” said Rex, as he turned the TV off in his bedroom.  Vanya waited on the pavement by his car while he loaded a large TV and expensive looking DVD into it.  When he had loaded up he went back to the kitchen to tell his mum he was going out.  When he got to his car Vanya had gone.  Suddenly a grey car, a few parking spaces up the road, sped off and Rex caught a glimpse of Vanya in the back.  He jumped in his car and drove off after it.  The car was heading into town and was going fast.

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