James looked straight into a pair of frightened blue eyes in a dirty face. For a moment he stared back into them, waiting for a reaction, but the eyes simply stared back. Finally he asked
"Who are you?" No response came, then the eyes disappeared. James heard a scuffling and Andrew Foyle's voice saying
"Come here! Get out!" Suddenly the young woman rolled out of James' side. She jumped to her feet and, wide eyed, looked between James and Andrew. She was shabbily dressed, with no shoes and her hair was messy and dirty, mainly with dust from under the bed. She backed up against the wardrobe, James watching her, and moving to block her exit. Her eyes continued to glance at the door.
"Who are you and what are you doing here?" asked James again. She bolted for the door, but James's outstretched arm caught her straight across her stomach. She struggled, but James clamped his arms around her stomach and no matter how she twisted or struggled, or stomped on his feet, she couldn't free herself.
"What are you doing here?" demanded Andrew walking up so that he was less than an inch from her face.
The woman started clawing at James' arms with her nails, but Andrew grabbed her wrists and held them down, whilst James wrapped his arms around hers as well, pinioning them to her side.
"I asked you what you were doing here!" he demanded. She struggled and looked away, but said nothing.
"Can you hold her? Right, I'll go and fetch the police" said Andrew running for the door. As the door closed Andrew's footsteps could be heard on the stairs. For a few moments James was left holding the woman, who continued to struggle. Twice she swung her head back in an attempt to head butt him but missed. Her hands writhed trying to wrench free, and then James felt something wet drop onto his arm. Struggling to see her face without letting her go, he caught a glimpse of a face contorted with pain. Tears were rolling down her cheeks, but she was silent. No sobs, no cries, only a faint hint of heavy breathing. Now she had stopped struggling, so James released his grip a little, as he heard Andrew coming upstairs again.
"The police are on their way. Dear God man what did you do to her?" cried Andrew seeing her face.
"I'm not sure, she just started crying, but she isn't saying anything"
Andrew closed the door and stood in front of it, whilst James carefully let her go. As he did she sank to the floor, crying silently. On her arms two deep red marks showed where James had held her. James looked at them.
"I didn't realise I was holding her that tightly, she didn't say anything."
"She still isn't. Probably thinks if she keeps mum then she can get out of it."
"There's not talking and there's not making any noise at all. She must have been in a lot of pain."
"Just a trick probably." The door bell rang and Andrew motioned to James to guard the door whilst he let the policemen in. Just as James reached the door the woman looked up at the window. In an instant she was on her feet and had one foot on the window sill. James leapt across the room and grabbed her, trying to bring her back from the window. Just as James thought he had lost grip, two police constables barged into the room. They took a few moments to constrain her and as James watched be became more and more convinced that something was wrong. It wasn't that this woman didn't want to be arrested, it was that she was mortally terrified of it. She fought the policemen as if she were fighting for her life, but in the end she was too weak for them and they dragged her away, literally. Despite the struggle, the blood and tears she still didn't make a sound.
"I'm really sorry about all that" said Andrew, after they'd left.
"Of course you can have my room and I'll have father's."
"Thank you, you're very kind. Do you think she'll be alright?"
"What?" asked Andrew turning round.
"The girl" said James looking at him.
"She's a burglar and a thief. She'll be tried and brought to justice" said Andrew obviously.
"Odd kind of burglar. All she stole was three pots of marmalade" stated James.
"True" admitted Andrew.
"I mean there is a lot more of worth in this house" said James.
"And why was she sleeping under the bed. Why not on it? Why not steal some clothes?" added Andrew, beginning to see James' point.
"I doubt your father's clothes would fit her" surmised James.
"But he's got some of mother's hanging around somewhere. Apart from the kitchen and the spare room it doesn't look like she's touched anything else" said Andrew sitting down on the bed.
"And the way she fought with the constables, it was frightening" said James.
"You think she's in trouble" said Andrew looking at James.
"Big trouble probably" said James looking at the battered coat lying on the bed.
"Fine, we'll go to the police station in the morning and drop the charges. Then you see what you can get out of her and I'll try and contact father. He might have some idea of what to do."
The next morning at the station Andrew dropped the charges and headed off to send a telegram to his father, whilst James was shown through to the cell where the girl was being kept. The officer leading him nodded to him to follow.
"Has the girl said anything?" asked James.
"Said? No, nothing. Climbed up to the windows like an animal and tried pulling at 'em when we first put her in, but when she found that was no good, she gave up and sulked in the corner till the food came. Then she snatched it and wolfed it down using her hands. Made a real mess, ignored the spoon, didn't even say thank you Just rudeness really."
"Or hunger maybe?"
"If you say so. Animal like her don't belong in a police station. Asylum probably." Said the officer unlocking the cell carefully and allowing James in. The woman sat in the corner still, hugging her knees so tightly that her knuckles showed white.
"Hello?" said James tentatively.
"Hello, do you remember me? It's James, you were in my house yesterday. Well not my house, the house I'm staying in. I'm here to collect you, you see we dropped the charges. And Andrew..."
James cut off as the woman's head lifted to reveal extremely red eyes. In a moment she was standing and in the next she was heading straight for him.