The Locked Room - Peter Viney

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CHAPTER ONE

Where am I?
I don't know. I'm in a beautiful room in an old house. There's a bed, an expensive chair, and a beautiful table. I can't see anything from the window, only a green field. The sun is shining on the field. I can hear music, quiet music. It's Mozart.
Why am I here?
I don't know. My head is hurting. I can't open the door, and I can't open the window. I'm wearing grey trousers and a grey shirt. I'm not wearing any shoes. I'm hungry and I'm thirsty. There isn't any food in the room. There isn't a drink either. There's a pen and some paper on the table. There isn't anything on the paper.
Who am I?
I can't remember. I can't remember my name. I can't remember anything. My head hurts a lot. I'm very tired. I'm going to sleep.
It's morning. I'm on the bed. I'm wearing the grey clothes. I'm very hungry and very thirsty. I can hear music again, it's the Mozart again. My head doesn't hurt now, but I can't remember my name. I can't remember anything. I can hear someone. There's someone outside the room. The door's opening ...
He's in the room. He's wearing black trousers and a black shirt. I don't know him.
Man: Hello. How's your head?
Me: My head? It's OK. It doesn't hurt now.
Man: Good.
Me: Where am I?
Man: You don't know?
Me: No.
Man: Are you thirsty?
Me: Yes, I'm hungry and thirsty.
Man: Drink this.
He's got a glass in his hand. I drink from the glass… I'm very tired again. I'm going to sleep… What time is it?
My head's hurting again. I'm on the bed, and the room is dark. I can't hear music now. I'm going to turn on the light.
Now I can see. There's a glass on the table. I'm thirsty again… I'm going to drink from the glass… Sleep! I'm going to sl...
Man: Wake up!
Me: What? My head ...
Man: I'm going to ask you some questions. Who are you?
Me: I don't know.
Man: What's your name?
Me: I don't know.
Man: I'm going to ask you again. What's your name?
Me: I can't tell you. I don't know.
Man: Where are you from?
Me: I don't know...
Man: Drink this.
Me: No, I can't, there's...
Man: You are going to drink it. Do you understand?
There's a gun in his hand. I drink from the glass… The room is dark...
CHAPTER TWO
Questions
I'm awake again. It's quiet outside. The sun is shining outside the window. There's food and water on the table. I'm not tired now, and my head's OK.
Someone's coming. The door opens. It's the man in black clothes.
Man: Do you want to talk now?
Me: What about?
Man: OK, who are you?
Me: Who are you?
Man: I'm asking the questions. Why are you here?
Me: You tell me.
Then he hits me. He hits me across the face.
Man: We're going to start again. Who are you?
Me: I can't remember. Don't hit me...
But he does. Then he opens the door, and he goes. There's a bump on the back of my head. It doesn't hurt now, but my face hurts. A bump… I can remember something.
I can remember. I'm in a field. I'm lying under a tree. I've got some binoculars in my hand. I'm watching a house. It's a beautiful old house. Then there's a noise behind me. It's a man with a dog, a big dog. The man's holding a gun. Then the man's hitting me. He's hitting me on the head with the gun. Then everything's going dark. I've got a bump on my head now.
Why? Why am I in that field? Who am I? Am I a policeman? Am I a spy? And who is the man? Is he a policeman? Is he a spy? Or is he a criminal? I don't know. But now I can remember something. Tomorrow. Tomorrow I'm going to remember some more.
CHAPTER THREE
No more time
The next day. The man with black clothes is in room again.
Man: Well, how are you today?
Me: I'm OK.
Man: Can you remember anything?
Me: Yes, a little.
Man: Who are you working for?
Me: I don't know.
Man: Why are you watching us?
Me: I don't know. Who are you? Tell me. Then… maybe I can remember.
Man: Very clever. I can't tell you anything.
He goes out.
I remember again… I'm watching the house. It's evening. I'm wearing a blue coat. There are lights in the house. A car's going to the house. It's a white Jaguar. I'm watching carefully. I can see two people. They've got a box. Then… then there's the noise behind me and the bump on the head.
It's dark. I can hear voices outside the room.
Woman: Well, is he going to talk?
Man: Maybe. He can't remember anything, because of the bump on his head.
Woman: What about the drinks?
Man: No. The drinks aren't helping us.
Woman: OK. Two clays more. Then… that's it. We haven't got any more time. How much does he know? That's the important thing.
CHAPTER FOUR
Out of the locked room
I hear a key. They're putting a key into the lock.
They're turning the key. They're locking the door. They're walking away. But the key is in the lock! Two days more… and that's it! What are they going to do? I can't stay here. The key's in the lock.
I've got some paper from the table. Now… put the paper on the floor. Push the paper under the door. The paper's under the door. Now… take the pen. Push the pen into the lock. Yes, there's the key. It is in the lock. Push the key with the pen. Yes! The key is falling from the lock! Is it on the paper? I don't know. Pull the paper under the door. Pull it slowly and carefully. Very slowly and very carefully. It's coming under the door, and there's the key. It's on the paper! I've got the key. I can open the door. It's quiet outside. I'm opening the door very quietly and carefully. There's a corridor. It's empty.
I'm going out. Now, I'm going to lock the door again, and take the key.
I'm walking along the corridor. It's a beautiful house. I can hear the music again, the Mozart. There are a lot of doors. At the end I can see stairs. I can hear people downstairs. I can't go down. I open some doors. There are bedrooms. I open four or five doors, then I open another door. The room is full of paintings! Famous paintings, Picassos, Rembrandts, Van Goghs. They're beautiful. They're on the floor. There are millions of pounds in this room! Millions! I look at a Picasso. It's the famous stolen Picasso from the London Art Gallery. Who are they? They're art thieves. But who am I? I close the door. How can I get out of this house? They have got guns. I remember! One of the bedrooms! There's a telephone. I can telephone the police. I walk quickly along the corridor and open the door. The telephone is next to the bed. The number is on the telephone, Bradstreet 35972. I take the telephone carefully. 999… I'm waiting.
Operator: Police, fire or ambulance?
Me: Police… quickly.
Police: Police. What's your number?
Me: Bradstreet 35972… Quickly! I'm a prisoner here. I can't get out. The house is full of stolen paintings. Come quickly!
Police: What's your name?
Me: Come quickly. This is Bradstreet 35972. I can't...
Then I hear people in the corridor. I put down the phone. I can hear them outside the locked room.
Woman: Well, open the door, then.
Man: I can't find the key.
Woman: Come on...
Man: I can't find it.
Woman: There's another key in the kitchen. Get it.
Man: Right.
CHAPTER FIVE
Who am I?
Five minutes later. I can hear him again. He's coming with the key. He's opening the door.
Man: What? He isn't here! Where… but the door's locked.
Woman: Find him… and take your gun. And this time, finish him. Do you understand?
Man: OK, I'm going ...
I can hear him. He's opening doors. Are the police going to come or not? He's in the next room. Then I hear them! Police cars, a lot of police cars. They're outside the house.
Woman: It's the police! What do they want? Don't take the gun with you!
They're going downstairs. I can hear voices.
Woman: Good evening, Inspector. What can I do for you?
Inspector: We want to look round the house. We're looking for some paintings.
Woman: But there's nothing here. Nothing.
Inspector: We can look, then.
Woman: But why?
Inspector: A telephone call. A telephone call about some paintings.
Woman: Who from?
Inspector: We don't know.
Woman: You don't know? Well...
Me: From me, Inspector. The paintings are up here. I can show you. Follow me...
It's ten minutes later. The man and the woman are in the police cars.
Inspector: Well, Eddie, this is a surprise.
Me: Eddie? Is that my name?
Inspector: Eddie! Come on!
Me: No, I can't remember.
Inspector You can't remember me!
Me: I can't remember my name. Eddie… Eddie what?
Inspector Eddie Hampton. What are you doing here, Eddie?
I tell him. I tell him about the field and the binoculars, I tell him about the bump on my head, and the room. I tell him about the paper and the key. He's laughing at me.
Me: OK, I'm Eddie Hampton. But who's Eddie Hampton?
He's laughing again.
Me: You know me. Am I a policeman?
Inspector No, Eddie, you aren't a policeman.
Me: Then who am I? And what am I doing here?
Inspector I don't know, but I can tell you something.
Me: What?
Inspector: Eddie Hampton's a criminal… a thief. Not a big thief. Those two people are big thieves, with their famous paintings. No, you're a small thief, Eddie. You steal from houses. Televisions, radios, videos, hi-fi's, a little money sometimes. You're a small thief. But thank you for your help.
— THE END -
Hope you have enjoyed the reading!
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