A woman in a dirty, torn dress and grubby coat, with no shoes stands in an alleyway watching a grey-haired man locking the door to his house and walking down a small flight of stairs, carrying a suitcase. He is greeted by a young woman with blonde, curly hair and a tall young man.
"Morning Sir! Have you got everything?" asks the young woman cheerily.
"I hope so." He pauses and looks at them. They are both smiling inanely, and she is hugging the young man's arm.
"So, when's the wedding?"
"How did you know, Sir?"
"I've had my suspicions. Congratulations both of you!" he says, shaking the young man's hand. He lets go and is enthusiastically hugged by the woman.
"You will be back in time, won't you sir?" she says returning to the arm of her fiancé.
"If I can make it" answers the man, looking up for a moment. He sees the slightly sad look on the woman's face and adds
"I'll try my best, Sam. I'd love to be there. But, I can't promise anything."
"Ok, Sir, that's good enough for me" says the woman, smiling again.
"Shall I put your luggage in the boot, Mr Foyle?" asks Adam.
"Yes please" smiles Mr Foyle, handing him the case. In a few minutes they are all in the car and have driven away. The woman in the alley continues to watch the house. Hours later, and a church bell has just sounded midnight. She crosses the road and walks up the steps. She pulls a couple of hair pins out of her hair and begins to pick the lock. An hour later she opens the door carefully, steps inside, and closes it warily. She searches around downstairs, listening vigilantly. No one is in. She heads to the kitchen, and looks in the pantry. The only food left is preservatives; jams and marmalades, unopened. The woman licks her lips and takes one out. She then slowly goes through the drawers until she finds a small teaspoon. She sits herself down at the kitchen table and slowly eats half the pot. Then she seals it up and puts it back in the pantry. She cleans the spoon under the tap and dries it, replacing it in the drawer. Then she tiptoes upstairs. She locates a bedroom which looks quite plain and barren, which she decides is the spare room. She goes over to the wardrobe and carefully opens it. She pauses in fear as a loud creaking noise is emitted. After a few seconds she continues. There are no clothes inside, and in the bottom is a pile of blankets. She unhooks a wire hanger and takes her coat off. Once she has hung her coat on the hanger, she removes the piles of blankets. She quickly closes the wardrobe and waits for a second. No sound can be heard from anywhere. She then lays the blankets out under the bed, and curls up on them. The bed clothes hanging over the edge of the bed obscure her completely, and she begins to sleep.
A week later a key can be heard in the door. Two young men with black hair step inside. The first, with heavily gelled hair is followed by another carrying a suitcase. He says
"It's nice to meet you, Mr Foyle..."
"Call me Andrew" says the first, smiling.
"I'm James Devereux."
"How do you know my father?" asks Andrew
"He saved my neck" replies James
"What were you accused of? Hang on, yes, I remember it was in the papers. I didn't realise my father was involved. I thought he was retired by then" says Andrew
"He was" answers James.
"I wonder what made him take on the case, he couldn't wait to get out of the police" says Andrew, almost to himself. James thinks for a moment then replies.
"He knew my mother. They met during the Great War, she was his nurse. I understand that they were good friends "
"Ah I see. I'll show you around, here we have..."
Upstairs the woman hears them talking. She is under the bed, frozen in fear. She listens intently as she hears them leaving the lounge and head into the kitchen.
"And here is the kitchen. Cutlery in this draw, cups in this cupboard, oven, coal, pantry..." his voice trails off.
"Is everything alright?" asks James. Andrew steps out of the pantry carrying three empty pots of marmalade.
"This is very odd. Father never leaves empty jars around."
"Maybe he just forgot with the preparations for America."
"Yes, but he doesn't like marmalade. He only has it in case of visitors, or me. Why would he eat three jars of it? And it's still wet, someone's cleaned this pot recently."
"You think someone's broken in?"
Andrew pauses. "No, that's ridiculous. The house is perfectly fine, the door wasn't forced, nothing's been stolen. The marmalade must have gone off and he's washed out the pots." James looks at the pots unconvinced, but he doesn't argue.
"I'll show you upstairs then. I hope you don't mind me asking, but why are you staying here? It's just that I understood you're quite wealthy..."
"I couldn't stand to stay in the old house anymore, so many painful memories. And Mr Foyle was generous enough to offer his house, so I took him up on it."
"Must be a bit smaller than you're used to." Smiles Andrew. James merely smiles back.
"That is Father's room, that is my old room, and this is the guest room." He opens the door.
"Hmm, there seems to be a slight smell in here, I'll open the window...that's better. There are spare blankets in the wardr..." he opens the wardrobe, and is greeted by the empty floor and the tatty coat. He picks it up by the hanger, examining it.
"That is not my father's" he says, holding it up to the light.
"That's a woman's coat" points out James.
"Could be Sam's I suppose...no, that's ridiculous, she'd never let a coat get into that state. It would be cleaned and mended."
"Whose Sam?" asks James.
"Samantha Stuart. She's...she was my father's driver, they're still good friends. She stayed here for a while when her flat got bombed. I'm just going to go and look for those blankets." He says throwing the coat onto the bed and walking out of the room. James looks around the room, out of the window. He glances towards the bed and then Andrew re-enters.
"I'm sorry, I couldn't find those blank...Are you alright?" asks Andrew.
"I think there's someone in here" mouths James. He points under the bed, and they both creep round it, one on each side. They both duck down at the same time and pull the covers up.