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The wall was high, but slipped over it with practiced smoothness. It was a quiet neighbourhood and this house especially, with its large secluded grounds, would be easy pickings. They were obviously very wealthy whoever lived here, and easily able to afford to replace whatever I took. Christ, they probably wanted something like this to happen just for the insurance payout.

Once inside the grounds I relaxed. No one, not even the next door neighbour overlooked the grounds. I had all the time in the world.

I approached the house across the lawn and took a moment to assess how to get in. My decision was made for me when I spotted a half open window on the ground floor. A smile spread across my face as I imagined the arrogance of the person who lived here. They weren’t above being robbed, and I was there to prove it. The window was old, wooden and with no proper lock. I good push and it moved. It fitted very tightly to the frame and required a lot of effort to get moving. Once I got it half open I accepted defeat at the hands of friction and pulled myself inside.

As I suspected, it was as grand inside as it was out I’s entered into the study and it was decked out in a very stylish manner. I could have taken anything from in here and it would have been a good haul, but I had more valuable items in mind. Nice as the various pots and paintings were, this sort of crap wasn’t on my list. There were two doors on adjacent walls. Randomly I chose the one ahead. I figured it didn’t matter, no one would be home for hours.

The door was surprisingly light, no doubt a modern replacement for an older much heavier door. The door opened into what appeared to be a living room. For a moment I wondered if this was the living room. By my standards it was, but it was very grand and felt like a picture, rather than a room. No doubt they had another more informal room somewhere. This alone justified steeling from them. Rich bastards.

I walked through the room to the next door, over the thick rug and passed the large bay windows. Normally I avoided windows like the plague, but I felt so safe from prying eyes that I made no attempt to skulk passed.

The next door was heavy, as I had expected, and swung open under its own momentum. It lead onto the hall. I was surprised how small it was, I’d half expected a grand staircase, but it was almost normal, abate the wooden panelling and polished wooden floor. A floorboard creaked underfoot as I took a look around. Should I look around? See what else was down here? No, no need to invite disaster. I knew where the good shit would be, upstairs, in the bedroom. A quick in and out was always the best policy, so I started up the stairs.

I’d only gotten up three maybe four steps when I froze. A noise. Not a normal noise. Not heating, not creaking, not a house noise. I held my breath waiting, trying to hear. My heartbeat pounded in my ears at a deafening volume. It was so loud I wondered if it would drown out everything lese, but that idea evaporated as it came again, shattering the sound of blood rushing through my veins. My body almost jumped as adrenalin flooded through me. There it was again, a chink, something banging together, not hard, just enough to touch.

Slowly I edged down the stairs and eased along the hall to the door at the end. Again and again, at regular intervals it kept coming. There were other sounds as well. Water? Yes it had to be water.

I was at the door. If needed I felt I could jump a building, lift a car. My energy rush was barely contained inside my body. Shit, my hands were shaking as well. Fight or flight, which one would it be? I could leave now and no one would know I had been here, but had whoever it was heard me? I couldn’t think straight. The police could already be on there way. I had to know.

Slowly I reached out for my back pocket and pulled my handgun. It was loaded bit I had no intention of using it unless they pulled one as well. Christ, I’d never needed it before.

On the count of three. One, two three..

I burst into the room. The kitchen. The sun was streaming in. “What the fuck”

The words just came out, but I couldn’t believe my eyes. Stood at the sink was a half naked woman washing dishes.

I pointed the gun at her. It shook even though I held it with both hands. The woman only turned her head and looked at me. She had long brown hair, gathered up roughly so that only a few strands fell down her back.

“Can I help you” Her voice was calm but direct and cutting. What the fuck? I had caught her half naked, in her own home and on top of that a gun was pointed at her, and that was all she had to say? It made no since at all. Slowly she lowered the plate she was holding into the sink yet never took her eyes off me, or even so much as blinked.

“I’m not going to hurt you, just stay there” I’d tried to sound threatening, but it just betrayed my nerves and came out at an odd uneven pitch Clearly her assessment of me was complete and she looked down into the sink.

“you shouldn’t be in here” her tone and attitude had me in tatters. I took a couple of steps into the kitchen in an attempt to establish myself more firmly. She paid me no attention and continued to slowly wipe the plates in soapy water.

“Look, I just want it easy. Do as I say and nothing will happen” I had no idea what I was saying, it was just coming out of my mouth and I felt as though I was somehow taking a back seat to the unfolding events. The problem was that I had no idea what to do next. I looked around for some kind of inspiration.

“How did you get in?” her voice remained calm and her head down as she spoke. Ah the cupboard, I could put her in there and jam the door. With her out of my hair I could finish the job and get the fuck out of here. Finally I had a plan.

“How did you get in?” again the question cam in exactly the same tone.

“I came in though..” but I caught myself in mid sentence. What the fuck was I doing myself to her? “Listen, just get in that cupboard over there!” My raised tone seemed to have no effect on her at all. If she was listening, she clearly didn’t care, and if she did care she certainly didn’t show it.

“No” She said firmly. It took a moment to absorb the answer.

“What? I’ve got the gun, now get in that cupboard NOW!” I yelled. Again this only served to betray my nervousness.

“Or what?” her voice completely cold.

“Or else!” As soon as the words left my mouth I regretted them. I’d committed myself now and there was no going back. She spun her head and stared straight at me. Her was face a picture of calculated anger.

“You should leave now” There was no anger intoned in her voice, nut it was the less full of venom.

“Get the fuck in there now!” I took a step toward her with arm raised and gun pointing directly at her head. She didn’t blink, she didn’t flinch, she didn’t so much as move and inch. My heart was racing now. I was aware that I was out of control. I’d stopped thinking, now it was just reaction, just instinct. I remembered the feeling from the times it had happened before. This was going to end badly.

“Leave now” she said still staring directly at me and in the same threatening tone, but all the while still gently wash the dish she held. In one motion I pointed the gun at the roof above her head and fired.

“I’m not going to tell you again bitch, fucking move now!” She did move, but not in the way I had intended. Without breaking her gaze she pulled a long knife from the soapy water and turned to face me.

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