Thieves

Victorian London. The air was barley breathable and thick with smog. Life was hard for everyone but especially young Myrtle; she and her brother live in a run down orphanage where she is hated by the majority of its inhabitance, she has struggled her way through her life orphan but it was about to get harder. Thieves. Rich. Poor. Hate. Love. Death. Her life had been turned upside down by one man...

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3. Pain

Myrtle was sat on her bed, awaiting Ginny's wrath. She had experienced Ginny's anger many times, after living with her for around ten years. Her lashings out often resulted in black eyes, nosebleeds and, on the rare occasion broken nose or fingers. Myrtle was debating which it would be today, probably just a nosebleed; it is not as sevre as when she had her stolen dresses to make into curtains and trousers for Ralph. Ginny had only noticed when she came to beat her up for being a plain nuisance when she saw the curtains. Personally, Myrtle didn't think it would be a big deal but Ginny had weird priorities. There was a time that, on her fifteenth birthday, Patrick had given her some of his old leather boots; she looked down at feet a rubbed her nose, that was the worst. 

Footsteps neared her door, snapping her out of her daydreaming. Myrtle took deep breaths and prepared herself for the pain. The door slammed open and in strutted Ginny, Emma and Hugo at her heals, eager to watch. Emma carefully shut the door behind her, so not to draw attention to the room. Myrtle scrunched her eyes, tensing all the muscles in her face. Ginny edged towards her and raised her fist, Hugo and Emma stared in admiration. Before she knew it, blood was spurting out of her nose and adding more stains to her dress. Chocking back the cries of pain, Myrtle sat bolt upright, shaking violently. Emma applauded and Hugo sighed in admiration. Ginny threatened, "If you tell anyone I did this..." She drew a line with her finger across her neck, Myrtle nodded furiously. Ginny flicked her hair (like she always did) and strutted out, quickly followed by her fans. 

Myrtle burst into floods of tears, it seemed that just existing resulted in blood and broken bones. Luckily she only had to be in the same house as her for a few months more, that was the only upside of leaving. 

Dark was closing in and the nightlife was beginning to swarm. Rats assembled in large groups, plotting to raid houses or shops. Men desperate for a drink shoved each other into the pub and the men who were returning home, pretending they had been at work the whole day instead of drinking, running out. Their wives would be angry, another day with no income, apparently the boss was cruel but in fact they had been fired weeks ago. 

Rachel stormed up the orphanage stairs screaming, "Why is blood dripping from the ceiling?!" Myrtle had brainstormed excuses and found, 'I tripped over Ralph's shoes and I landed on a nail' the most convincing. "Children! Gather round," she belted. They all rushed out of their rooms, nervous but excited. It was room inspection time, they all knew it. 

Ralph had been with Morgan playing the most stressful game of chess he would ever play so knew nothing of what had happened to his sister. Slamming the doors open, Rachel examined the floors. Emma and Winnie's room: fine, Ginny's room: spotless, Morgan's room: fine, Hugo's room: fine, Ralph and Myrtles room... Rachel screamed for Ralph and Myrtle who rushed into their room. The others were buzzing, gossiping about causes. What had happened? 

Confused, Ralph stumbled after Myrtle; a frown etched on his face, Myrtle apologetically looked at Ralph. Rachel closed the door behind Ralph to muffle her screams; she raised her eyebrows and coughed. Getting her drift, Myrtle stuttered, "Umm... Well, I... I tripped," she cleared her throat, "Over... Umm... Ralph's shoes," at this Ralph turned to Myrtle, wanting an explanation, "I fell... And fell on a sharp nail." Scratching the dry blood under her nose, she knew the consequences if she told Rachel the truth but she needed to know though, for her, and the other children's safety (also she wanted to prove Patrick wrong, that Ginny wasn't the right one for him). 

Rachel tutted and edged towards the door; she was about to walk out the door when Myrtle blurted, "No! I lie." Shocked, Rachel turned to face her, "Tell me the truth then... Now!" Myrtle closed her eyes and contemplated the effects this would have. Gulping, she whispered, "Ginny," Rachel shook her head and turned to Ralph to give an explanation. He shrugged, "I wasn't there, I was with Morgan and I was wearing my shoes." 
Myrtle chocked back the tears and stumbled, "It was Ginny. She caught me eavesdropping and punched me, I had a nosebleed." The smirk faded from Rachel's face, she nodded and briskly walked out the door. 

Ralph embraced his sister tightly and kissed her cheek. Tearful, Myrtle explained the situation to him. 

Winnie was being talked at, her sister wouldn't stop, she was informing her of what had happened. Not caring, Winnie turned her attention to the window and examined the nightlife. It was times like this Winnie just wanted to shout at Emma, to shut her up. Ginny burst into the room, "Listen up ladies," Winnie rolled her eyes, "I think she's told Rachel," Emma gasped and shook her head in dismay. Pursing her lips, Ginny leaned to Emma and whispered, "She will pay." 
"How do ya know?" 
"Being the genius I am, I have realised the difference in Rachel's reaction to me, she usually greets me pleasantly because, as you know, I am her favourite. I mean who wouldn't adore me," she gloated, "And after today's incident she has looked away from me and ignored me!" Emma gasped. Ginny shoved Winnie away and they began plotting. Winnie slipped out the room and knocked on Ralph and Myrtle's room. Ralph opened the door a little at first to see who it was then, at the sight of Winnie, opened it fully, beckoning her inside. 

Ralph sat close to his sister, whispering soothing things in her ear. Winnie wanted to assist Ralph in comforting her but couldn't say any kind words. Myrtle gestured at the space next to her and Winnie sat down and put her arm around her. 

Rachel screamed up the stairs, "Go to bed! Now!" Winnie jumped and hurried back to her room, not wanting to be seen coming out if their room. Suddenly everyone ran to their rooms and hushed. Within minutes they were asleep; Emma's snores reverberated through the walls.

In the dining room, Rachel sat, slumped in her chair. She whispered to herself, debating, "Do I believe her? She wouldn't lie about something so serious. I didn't think it was in Ginny's nature, I thought she was sweet, that she would never hurt a fly." There was a long pause. Emma's snores could be heard throughout the house, it was surprising they could all sleep. "I must have been wrong. But... Ginny's past record has been so perfect, not a single act of violence or rudeness... This must be a one off, will I give her the benefit of the doubt?" Rachel sighed and closed her eyes. Slowly, she began to drift off. 

Bang! She bolted up and ran to the door, cursing under her breath. She pulled her dress sleeves down, hiding her slit wrists. Rachel opened the door and put on a smile. A man stood in the door, shivering, "Let me in. It's bloody freezing out there!" He pecked her cheek and strode inside and tread mud everywhere, "I just cleaned the floor today," Rachel said quietly. Wincing, Rachel whispered, "Did you have to knock so flipping loudly Oscar!? The kids are asleep!" 
"Sorry love," Oscar rolled his eyes, "It's not my fault you work in an orphanage." Rachel could feel his anger brimming, when he got angry he got violent, she had the scars to prove it. Remembering the pain, she stroked a scar on her cheek and gulped, not wanting to make him upset. "Get ya 'hat on," Oscar ordered.
"Oscar, love, I can't go, I can't leave the kids at night." 
Oscar scowled, "Get... Your... Hat... On. Now!" Rachel gulped and grabbed a yellow hat off  the stand and put it on. Oscar lit his pipe and inhaled. Rachel straitened her dress and went outside, followed by her boyfriend. Extending his arm, Rachel took hold of it and they strolled in the moonlight, hating every moment.

After minutes of silence, Rachel dared to ask, "Where are we going? I can't leave the kids for too long." Oscar glared at her. A rat ran in between Rachel's legs and squealed; a stray cat chased it and followed the rats exact movements. "I don't care if the kids are alone for too long, I don't give a damn, you understand?" Shaking, Rachel let go of his arm. Her throat went dry, she knew what would happen next. "Do you... Understand?" Oscar clenched his fist and rose it above Rachel's face. She closed her eyes, trying not to show him her fear. After a few moments Oscar brought his fist down on his girl's eye. Uncontrollably shaking, Rachel touched her eye. Oscar wrapped his arms around her in a tight embrace and kissed her, tears rolled down her face onto his. "Let's go back to the orphanage," Oscar said calmly, "Sshh... It's all right now, I ain't gonna hurt you any more." An apology was alien to Oscar, the word 'sorry' was not in his dictionary, this was as good as an apology she was ever going to get. Hand in hand they walked silently back. 

Meanwhile, Patrick tossed and turned in his bed; the thought of Myrtle refusing him haunted him. The image of her shaking her head was fixed in his mind. He was drenched in a cold sweat, his clothes clung to his body and large sweat patches covered him. It was weird that such a small thing could have such a massive effect on, the usually fearless, Patrick. He could do any job, hence his reputation - the situation he was in had never occurred before.  

A figure walked up to Patrick's house, looking around, and knocked on the door. There was no answer. The figure reached into his pocket and took a large envelope and slid it underneath the door and hurried away into the darkness. Undisturbed, Patrick lay fretting until morning.

His room wasn't that big, it had one single bed with greying tattered sheets and blanket. The bed was incredibly hard but, laden in sheets, it was more comfortable. Patrick had one thin pillow that had been stuffed with old clothes. The bedside table was small and unstable; as he tossed and turned in his bed he knocked it. Folds of old newspapers were put under one of its legs to make it more stable. Books and newspapers, scraps of paper with addresses on covered the table and a lit candle flickered on top of these things. It was surprising it didn't catch the papers and send his house down in flames. The ceiling was high and vaulted; the wooden beams were decaying and cracking, they looked like they would fall any moment. The floor was rough and splintered, large nails protruded from the planks and had to be carefully avoided. A white painted chest of draws stood at the end of the bed. The paint was chipped and poorly painted in the first place; a wilting flower sat in a ceramic pot full of its petals on top of the chest. Patrick had to busy to water it and it got no light, inside in a London house. 

Next to Patrick's bedroom was another bedroom, smaller than his. It had a short single bed  next to the window.  The bed was bare, it had no sheets or blankets; the frame rocked if you sat on it. That was practically all that was in the room apart from a bedside table as unstable as Patrick's but cleaner. The windowsill was littered with dead flies and spiders and cobwebs were in every corner of the room. 

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