CREEPERS ( Part 7 )

Will had been on the hospital wing a week when he was sweeping the fourth floor landing, and an inmate Kenny Price looked out of his hatch as Will passed his cell.
“Oi tea boy,” Kenny said.
Will felt slightly irritated at Kenny’s tone and answered, “What,” as he looked through Kenny’s hatch.
Kenny was holding a small piece of cannabis between his thumb and forefinger and he said, “Give this bit of puff to my mate Micky Dingle in cell 39 on the three’s.”
Will stared at Kenny a moment and thought to himself that Kenny looked like one of the most evil people he’d ever seen, then Will said, “Sorry mate I can’t do that.”
“Eh,” Kenny replied looking even more serious, “Whad ya mean you can’t do that?”
“I can’t pass drugs,” Will said simply, “I’m a Christian.”
“A Christian?” Kenny said looking like he was about to explode, then he said, “I don’t care if you’re the bloody pope. Just pass the puff to my pal or I’m gonna do you some serious damage.”
“I’m not frightened of you,” Will said simply, and he turned to continue sweeping the landing.
Kenny’s eyes looked like they’d pop out of his head and angry veins appeared on his forehead, and with a voice that sounded like ice, Kenny said, “I’ll deal with you later tea boy. You dunno who your dealin’ with.”
“Whatever,” Will said unimpressed, and he continued sweeping the landing.

Will went on to the exercise yard in the afternoon. There were about a 150 inmates on the yard. Half the wing at a time. Around the edges of the yard were also some small groups of prison officers.
Will was walking around with Tony Peters, a professional shop lifter who’d just been sentenced to two years. Tony had been put on the hospital wing for observation as he’d asked the prison doctor for antidepressants. Will knew Tony from another prison.
As Will and Tony were walking, Kenny Price suddenly stepped in front of Will and faced him. He was with two other inmates, one black and the other mixed race.
“You wanna get mouthy with me now screws tea boy?” Asked Kenny, his eyes bulging like he was psychotic.
“I don’t want no trouble man,” Will replied as he tried to step round him.
Kenny looked around the yard and saw there were no officers looking in their direction and Kenny suddenly gave a right hook punch to the side of Will face. But Will didn’t even flinch.
Kenny sneered, “You gonna forgive me Jesus boy? Or are you gonna be a man and fight back?”
Will surprised himself by suddenly smiling and said, “Jesus said in the bible that if a man strikes you on the cheek, then turn to him the other cheek also…So if you wanna hit me this side as well, do it.”
Kenny clenched his fist and thought about hitting Will again, but then he said, “You’re a nutter,” And walked away.
Will smiled and continued walking.
When they’d got to the other side of the exercise yard, Tony said sounding frightened, “Do you know who that is?
“No,” Said will, seeming unconcerned, “Who is it?”
“That’s Kenny Price,” Said Tony, looking round nervously to make sure he was out of Kenny’s earshot, “He’s a psychopathic serial killer. He just got four life sentences for killing four prostitutes. The judge recommended that he never gets released.”
“I better start praying for him then,” Will said smiling, “He needs Jesus.”
“I’m being serious,” Said Tony, sounding even more frightened, “You need to get off the hospital wing. You don’t know what he could do to you. ‘E’s never getting out, so ‘e’s got nothing to lose.”
Will smiled and said, “Jesus will look after me.”
Tony still looked frightened and said, “How can you be so calm?”
“I dunno,” Will answered simply, “All I know is that since I became a Christian, I just feel peace most of the time.”
Tony just stared at Will like he thought Will was on a different planet, then Tony said, “I don’t think you realise how serious this is.”
Will smiled again and said, “An’ I don’t think you realise how powerful my Jesus is. If it weren’t for Jesus I’d have been dead already.”
Tony didn’t know what to say.

The next morning Will was on the hotplate on the ground floor serving breakfast with four other inmates and a couple of officers. Will was serving the porridge.
Suddenly Will saw Kenny Price. For a second Will felt tense, but then he suddenly calmed. Kenny looked different. The evil arrogance was gone and he looked slightly nervous and didn’t make eye contact when Will ladled porridge into Kenny’s bowl.
Later on Will was sweeping the fours landing and as he got to Kenny’s cell, Kenny said quietly through the open cell hatch, “Oi mate.”
“Yeah,” Will answered slightly weary.
“I just wanna apologise for chinning you on the yard yesterday.”
Will raised his eyebrows surprised and said, “Don’t worry about it.”
Kenny then blurted, “One of my pals has got a blade in e’s cell. I was gonna get it off him and stab you to death on the exercise yard today.”
Will suddenly looked shocked, and Kenny continued, “After I got off the exercise yard yesterday I was in a rage. I was angry all day an’ night. I really wanted to kill you. I’m never gettin’ out, I’ve got nothin’ to lose.”
Will just stared at Kenny without speaking and Kenny continued, “Then last night I had a dream. I dreamed that you an’ Jesus came into my cell an’ Jesus said somethin’ like. Do not harm this man. He loves prisoners, an’ when ‘e gets out he’ll come back voluntarily into jails to tell inmates about me. An’ those that accept me will become free in my love.”
Kenny looked confused and continued, “I’ve never had such a real dream before. Its like you an’ Jesus really came into my cell.”
Will seemed astonished and said, “Jesus can reveal himself to people in all different ways.”
“I wish I had a future like you. I wish I could get out one day an’ help prisoners. But I ain’t ever gettin’ out. I’ll never be free.”
Will was suddenly filled with compassion and said, “Jesus can set you free in your heart, mind and spirit even if you’re still in prison.”
“How can ‘e do that?” Kenny asked.
“You just have to invite him into your heart an’ give your life to him.”
“Whad’ya mean…Become a Christian?”
“Yeah.”
“How do you do that?”
“You just need to repent of all your sins and ask him to be Lord of your life.”
Kenny looked slightly confused and Will asked, “Would you like to become a Christian?”
“Yeah…I want what you’ve got. You just seem different from most of the other prisoners in here. You can just see that you’ve got peace in ya.”
“Ok,” Will said, “If you wanna become a Christian just repeat what I say.”
Will then said the salvation prayer that the Michael the prison priest had prayed with Will over a week before, and Kenny repeated it word for word. After Kenny had ended the prayer with the last word ‘Amen,’ he suddenly put his hand out through the hatch and shook hands with Will, and Kenny said sincerely, “Thank you man. Thank you so much.”

As Will continued sweeping the landing after he’d led Kenny to become a Christian, Will’s mind was deep in thought, and he felt overawed. He thought about what Kenny had said about Jesus saying that Will would come back into prisons to tell the inmates about Jesus. He knew that some ex prisoners who’d become Christians, came back into jail with civilian church groups, but he’d never really thought that he’d do that, but right now he realised that he’d love to do that. He wanted other inmates to have what he now had, which was a real sense of love and freedom.
After he’d swept the landing, he went back into his cell, sat on the bed and closed his eyes and with his hands together in prayer he said, “Do you want me to help prisoners Jesus?”
Within moments Will was surprised to hear a voice in his head say, “Isaiah 61 verse 1.”
Will knew that Isaiah was a book in the bible, so he picked up the bible that the priest Michael had given him later in the day when he’d become a Christian. Will turned excitedly to the scripture he’d just heard and read it. It said. “The spirit of the sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.”
As Will read that scripture, it was like the bible was a living, breathing book, and the words had leapt off the page. And Will suddenly knew he had a calling in life, and while he was in prison and when he got out, he would help prisoners.

It had been exactly a month since Will had been sentenced to seven years. That day he had a visit from his common law wife Jenny, his co-defendant Peter, and Peter’s partner Kerry. They all sat at a small table in the crowded visiting hall. Will looked at Peter, pretended to scowl and asked, “How come you got three years suspended an’ I got five years for the same crime?”
Peter looked slightly uneasy and said, “Its cos I had a different judge mate, an’ you escaped when we were in the police station together.”
Kerry added slightly defensive, “Its also cos I’d just gave birth an’ Peter’s tutor Paul on the filmmaking course he’s doin’ stood up for Peter in court an’ gave him a character reference. If it weren’t for that, Peter would have probably got five years as well.”
Will suddenly smiled and said, “I’m only pullin’ yer leg mate. But you were lucky man. Some people were saying that you must of bin a grass to get off that lightly. But I said to them…No way man. You’d never grass on anyone. An’ I’ve known you since we were kids.”
Peter suddenly relaxed and added, “I was just lucky man. I had a good barrister as well.
They pause a moment, then Peter said, “What’s all this about you becoming a Christian? I read your letter twice an’ I was gobsmacked.”
Will smiled and said, “Its true. The day I got sentenced I was just about to hang meself in my cell an’ Jesus just appeared an’ told me that ‘e loved me an’ that I’ve got a good future. The next day I saw the priest an’ become a Christian by saying the salvation prayer.”
Peter looked around the visiting hall, then said quietly, “Its alright mate. You can tell me. Are you just pretending you’re a Christian an’ making out you’ve changed, hoping that they’ll let you out early on parole?”
Will looked slightly wounded and said, “Nah mate. I really am a Christian now.”
Peter studied him a moment, then said, “Well you do look slightly different.”
“Whad ya mean?”
“I dunno,” Answered Peter, “You used to always look a bit dark an’ edgy all the time. But now you look lighter. Like you’re shining a bit. An’ you look clean an’ peaceful. I can’t really explain it…You just seem different.”
Will smiled, “That’s the holy spirit in me mate.”
The four of them pause a moment, then Will said, “The three of you should become Christians. It will change yer life. You’ll feel so much different. You’ll feel free.”
Peter and Kerry squirmed in their chairs slightly, and Peter said, “Its not really my scene mate. I can see its working for you, but its not really for me.”
“It is for you,” Will said with certainty, “Jesus is for everyone.”
Peter and Kerry looked more uncomfortable, then Jenny said, “I’m thinking of doing a church Alpha course. I can see that Will really has changed. Its made me curious.”
“Whats an Alpha course?” Asked Peter.
“It’s a ten week course,” Said Will, “Usually two hours a week where you get taught about what Christians believe, an’ you can ask any questions you want about God. Some people become Christians at the end of it, an’ some don’t. No one will force you into becoming a Christian. It has to be your free choice.”
No one spoke for a moment, then Will looked at Peter and Kerry and said, “Why don’t you think about doing an Alpha course…Jenny’s thinking of doin’ one…You can all do it together.”
Peter, Kerry and Jenny looked at each other for a moment, then Peter surprised himself by saying, “Ok…I’ll think about it.”
Will looked at Kerry smiling and asked, “What about you Kerry?”
Kerry looked slightly embarrassed, then said, “Well if Peter an’ Jenny do, I will as well.”
Will looked at them all smiling and said, “Cool. Jesus is gonna set you all free.”

Later that night Peter and Kerry were seated on the sofa of their council flat. They’d earlier ordered pizza and Peter looked slightly puzzled and said, “What do you think about what Will said about becoming a Christian?”
“I dunno what to think,” Kerry replied, “Seems a bit weird to me. But also a bit amazing. I can tell ‘e’s definitely changed. ‘E just seemed different. Like ‘e’s at peace.”
“Do you really think we should do an Alpha course?”
“I dunno,” Kerry answered, “I still need to think about it.”
Suddenly they heard their letter box knock, “Must be the pizza,” Said Peter.
When Peter got to the door he realised the knock had been a leaflet coming through his letter box. He bent down to pick it up and looked at it. He then brought it into the living room and he looked awestruck as he said to Kerry, “This is spooky man. This leaflets just come through the door.”
“What. What is it?”
Peter stared at the leaflet a moment, still stunned and said, “It’s a leaflet from the church on the corner, inviting people to an Alpha course starting next week.”
“Show it to me,” Said Kerry looking half frightened and half excited.
Peter handed the leaflet to Kerry, who studied it a moment, then she said sounding in awe, “I think Gods calling us.”
Peter just stared at her, also awestruck and said, “So do I.”
Moments later the pizza arrived, and when Peter paid the delivery man and gave him a two pound tip, the man smiled and said, “God bless you mate.”
Peter then noticed the small silver cross on a chain around the mans neck, and the penny suddenly dropped, and Peter just knew that Jesus was God.

CREEPERS ( Part 6 )

Thirty year old Will had been sentenced to seven years, the day before. Five years for an aggravated burglary in Richmond, Surrey. And two years to run consecutively for an attempted burglary on a luxury penthouse flat in Knightsbridge, London.
As soon as Will’s prison cell door on the fourth floor landing at Wandsworth prison was open, he was already up and on a high. A natural one. Frankie, Will’s prison pal from the cell next door, suddenly came into Will’s cell and asked. “Seriously…what’s all this about Jesus appearing in yer cell last night? What was you on to make you see that?”
Will ran his hand over his short, dark cropped hair, smiled and answered. “I weren’t on anything. I was just about to hang meself an’ Jesus just appeared in my cell an’ told me not to kill meself…An ‘e said he loved me an’ I had a good future.”
Frankie frowned looking serious and said. “That’s weird man.”
Will smiled again. “Not to me it ain’t…’E saved my life.”
Will then went into the office at the end of the landing and said to an officer behind the desk. “I wanna make an application to see the priest guv.”
The officer smirked and said. “What…You got a confession to make?”
“Nah guv. I wanna tell him about the amazin’ thing that ‘appened in my cell last night.”
The officer reached for one of the paper application forms on his desk and asked. “What happened then?”
Will smiled and said. “I was just about to hang meself an’ Jesus appeared in my cell an’ told me not to kill myself and told me ‘e loved me an’ I had a good future.”
The officer suddenly looked serious. “You were going to hang yourself?”
“Yeah,” Will replied smiling. “I had a strip of sheet tied to the bars an’ everything. Then Jesus just appeared in me cell…’E’s beautiful guv.”
The officer still looked seriously concerned. “What’s your name lad? And what cell are you in?”
“William Morris. Cell thirty-seven.”
“Ok lad,” The officer replied, still looking concerned. “I’ll tell the priest you want to see him.”
“Cheers guv.”
A little later, just after Will had ate his breakfast in his cell, the cell door was suddenly opened and two prison officers walked in. One of them, a short, fat officer called Mr Giles said. “Pack yer kit Morris. We’re taking you to the hospital wing for observation.”
“Eh,” Will asked, looking confused. “Observation for what?”
The other officer, Mr Peters, who was tall and skinny, said. “You told an officer you were suicidal Morris, an’ you’d had a hallucination and seen Jesus in your cell.”
Will looked stunned and slightly hurt. “It weren’t an ‘allucination. It was real. Jesus really came into my cell.”
The officers looked slightly embarrassed and Mr Giles said. “We think your not well Morris. You just got seven years yesterday. You must be in shock, an’ that can do funny things to the mind. We just need to put you on the hospital wing for a little while to observer you…And make sure you don’t do anything silly.”
Will sighed. “Fair enough. I can understand what your thinkin’. But what I saw was real…An’ I’m not suicidal anymore.”
“Look Morris,” Said Mr Peters. “We’ll just put you on the hospital wing for a little while and review you again.”
“Ok,” Smiled Will, suddenly perking up. “But there’s nothin’ wrong with me. I’m ‘appy, an’ you’ll see that.”

On the hospital wing they put Will in a cell on the ground floor of the four story wing. He was in a row of cells reserved for high observation, which meant he’d be checked on by an officer every fifteen minutes. The cells on the hospital wing didn’t have little round spy holes on the door like the cells on the main wings in the prison, but had small open hatches in the doors, so that the inmates could be easily seen and the officers could pass medication to the prisoners without having to open the cells doors.
After Will had been in the cell half an hour a prison officer called Mr Matthews looked through Wills hatch for the second time and Will suddenly said. ‘Oi guvnor, there ain’t any jobs on the wing are there? Wing cleanin’ or some’ink? I just wanna get out of the cell.”
“You’re on suicide watch,” Said Mr Matthews. “You have to stay in your cell so we can observe you.”
Will looked frustrated and said. “I’m not suicidal anymore. Honestly I’m ‘appy now. But I just wanna get out of this cell an’ do some’ink to occupy me.”
Mr Matthews stood at the hatch looking unsure, then said. “Maybe in a few days or something. If you behave yourself and we think you ain’t a threat to yourself or anyone else, we might be able to give you a job then.”
Will felt frustrated, but forced a thin smile and said. “Ok guv. Fair enough, but trust me when I say I don’t wanna harm myself or anyone else. I don’t really understand what’s ‘appened to me, but all I know is I feel different an’ the last thing I wanna do is top meself…An’ it seems weird by I actually feel really ‘appy. I feel freer for some reason, an’ I can’t really explain it.”
Mr Matthews stared at Will a moment, weighing up what Will had said. “like I said Morris, just keep your head down for a few days and maybe we’ll give you a job then.”
“Ok guv. Fair enough.”

Five minutes later the Christian priest Michael Collins unlocked Will’s cell door. He smiled at Will and sat on Will’s bed and said. “I hear you had a visitation from the Lord.”
“Eh…Whad ya mean?” Asked Will.
“You told an officer that Christ appeared to you in your cell last night as you were about to kill yourself.”
Will looked stunned and suspicious and asked. “Yeah…How do you know?”
Michael smiled. “All the officers are talking about it. Some of them think your mad.”
Will looked slightly embarrassed. “Yeah. What do you think though. Do you think I’m mad?”
“Tell me what happened.”
Will took a deep breath, then said. “I got seven years yesterday. I was depressed an’ was just about to hang meself in my cell an’ then I heard a voice say I love you…I turned round an’ see Jesus just standing in the middle of me cell. He then said some’ink like…Don’t kill yerself. Follow me. I’ve got a good future for you…An’ then ‘e just disappeared.”
Will felt more relaxed to see that Micheal was still faintly smiling and Will asked again. “Do you think I’m mad?”
Michael paused a moment then said. “No…I’ve been a Christian more than thirty years and I know God is supernatural. I know Jesus can make himself known to people in a lot of ways…Ok, he doesn’t physically appear to everyone, and its quite rare when he does, but I’ve read a lot of autobiographies of criminals who became Christians, and a couple of them had also said Jesus appeared to them when they were in their cells…One person that happened to was a guy called Fred Lemon, who wrote his autobiography called Breakthrough, which was first published in the early 1980’s.”
They both pause in silence for a few seconds, then Michael said. “Maybe God wants you to write a book.”
Will raised his eyebrows and said. “I’ve thought about writing a book for years.”
They are both silent a moment, then Michael asked. “Would you like to become a Christian?”
“Yeah,” Will said with certainty, then asked. “But how do you become a Christian?”
“You just need to repeat a prayer I’m about to say to you. But I want you to understand first what it means to be a Christian.”
“What does it mean?” Will asked curiously.
“First and foremost,” Said Michael. “It means you get eternal life. When you die your soul goes to heaven and you’ll live there with Jesus forever.”
“Is that true?”
“I believe it is…And it says it in the bible. John 3 verse 16 says, for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
“I’ve heard that before,” Said will.
“its probably the most well known verse in the bible,” Said Michael.
“I would like my soul to live forever,” Said Will. “What have I gotta do?”
“Just repeat this prayer after me,” Said Michael, still smiling. “I’m sorry Jesus for all the bad things I’ve ever done.”
“I’m sorry Jesus for all the bad things I’ve done.”
“Please forgive me.”
“Please forgive me.”
“Thank you for dying on a cross for me.”
“Thank you for dying on a cross for me.”
“Please come to live inside my heart.”
“Please come to live inside my heart.”
“Please take away all my guilt and shame and make me clean and holy.”
“Please take away all my guilt an’ shame an’ make me clean an’ holy.”
“I promise that from this moment onwards I will live for and serve you.”
“I promise that from this moment onwards I will live for an’ serve you.”
“Thank you for setting me free.”
“Thank you for setting me free.”
“Amen.”
“Amen.”
Will and Michael stared at each other. Michael was still smiling slightly and asked. “How do you feel?”
“I feel different,” Will said quietly. “An’ I’ve felt different since last night. I just don’t feel so dark, heavy or depressed. I feel at peace.”
Michael smiled even more. “You’re a new man. The old has gone. You’re now a new creation in Christ.”

Five minutes after the priest left, Mr Matthews the officer Will had spoken to earlier, suddenly opened Will’s door and said. “We shouldn’t be doing this Morris, as you’re supposed to be on suicide watch, but I’ve just spoken to the priest and he thinks you’re ok…If you still want a job, we’ll move you to the fours, as we need a wing cleaner on that landing.”
Will smiled and said. “Sweet guv. I’m up for that.”
Five minutes later Will was in a cell on the top fourth floor landing. Will was over the moon, as from standing on his chair he could look out of the cell window and see over the wall again. This time he could see Wandsworth common, where he used to go fishing as a kid.
After briefly looking out of the cell window, Will got on with his new job and swept then mopped the fourth floor landing. When he’d finished he went back to sit in his cell, but with the door open. A little while later, Mr Matthews came back to his cell and asked Will. “Do you want another job Morris serving food on the hotplate at meal times.
“Yeah,” Will said happily surprised again. He’d worked on the hotplate before in other prisons wings and knew that not only did it add a few quid to his prison wages each week, but also there was often extra food left after the inmates had been served, and this extra food was shared by the inmates who worked on the hotplate.
“Ok then Morris, you’ve got two jobs in one day,” smiled Mr Matthews, then he added. “Come down to the office a minute Morris. A few of the officers want to know what happened to you last night.”
Will walked into the ground floor office with Mr Matthews. There were another three officers there and Will told them what had happened last night when Jesus came into his cell and stopped him committing suicide. Afterwards the officers looked gobsmacked and an old officer called Mr Kelly, said. “I’ve been in this job thirty-seven years lad and I’ve heard every inmate bullshit story under the sun…But what you’ve just said lad takes the biscuit.”
Will immediately looked hurt and deflated and said. “Its true.”
Mr Kelly looked sceptical. “I suppose you’ll tell me you’ve become a Christian next?”
“I have. When the priest came to my cell earlier.”
Mr Kelly rolled his eyes. “You only got seven years yesterday lad. It’s a bit early to pretend you’ve changed, to get out early on parole.”
Will didn’t know what to say and Mr Matthews suddenly laughed and broke the tension. “Don’t listen to grumpy guts Morris. Mr Kelly is one of the most cynical officers in this jail.”
Will and the other officers suddenly smiled, except Mr Kelly who scowled and said. “When you’ve been in this job as long as me Mr Matthews, you’ll know all about being cynical.”
Will was surprised to hear himself suddenly saying. “I’m gonna start praying for you Mr Kelly.”
“Yeah Morris. Pray I win the bloody lottery, so I don’t have to work in this dump anymore.”
Will and the other officers suddenly started laughing, and even Mr Kelly suddenly smiled.

After Will had spent three days on the hospital wing, Mr Matthews came to Will’s cell and said. “You don’t need to be on the hospital wing anymore Morris. We can see that you’re well.”
Will smiled, pleased at the confirmation that the officers didn’t think he was mad or ill.
Mr Matthews continued. “You can either go back to a mainstream wing for a couple of months till they ship you out to another prison, or you can stay on the hospital wing, keep your job as a wing cleaner and hot plate worker, but we also want to offer you a job as the officers tea maker. It will give you an extra five pound a week, and with your wing cleaning and hot plate job it will mean you earn fourteen quid a week. And your cell will be unlocked from 7.30 in the morning till 8.30 at night.”
Will raised his eyebrows. “You really wanna offer me a tea maker job?”
“Yeah Morris. All the officers really like you. And they can see from reading your prison record that you’ve suddenly changed,” Mr Kelly smiled and added. “You used to be a right scum bag. I saw on your record that you even assaulted a couple of officers before. You often refused to work. You’d escaped from custody three times. And you’d been suspected of smuggling in and selling drugs on the wing.” Mr Matthews smiled again and added. “Now I haven’t even seen you smoke a cigarette.”
Will smiled and said. “This is gonna sound crazy, but ever since I saw Jesus in my cell, I’ve only lit one cigarette an’ immediately put it out. It made me feel sick, an’ I’d smoked all me life…I just don’t want cigarettes anymore, an’ I don’t even miss or want drugs…I just feel clean now an’ I’ve never felt so good.”
Now Mr Matthews raised his eyebrows and said. “If that’s true Morris, there is hope for you yet. If you can stay away from drugs, you can stay away from crime. Most of the crimes you committed were to pay for drugs…So I really hope Morris, that you can stay drug free and you don’t waste anymore of your life in places like this.”
“I swear guv, an’ I’ve never been so sure of it. I’ll never take drugs again. An’ I’ll never commit crime again. Jesus has gave me a wake up call. An’ I’ve never felt so alive an’ excited about the future…I just wanna put the past behind me, stay out of jail and be there for my missus and kids…Being in an’ out of prison an’ on drugs all these years has been breakin’ their hearts. I’ve suddenly realised how much damage an’ pain I’ve been causin’ myself an’ other people. I was livin’ in a world of selfish hate, but Jesus opened up my heart, an’ now I feel love…I feel free now an’ I’m out of addiction.”
“I believe you Morris. I really believe you.”
Neither of them spoke a moment, then Mr Matthews asked. “Do you wanna stay on this wing then Morris and accept the tea making job?”
“Yeah guv,” Smiled Will.
“In that case,” Smiled Mr Matthews. “You might as well start now. I’ll have a milky coffee with one sugar.”
Will laughed slightly. “No problem.”

TO BE CONTINUED

CREEPERS ( Part 5 )

It was May the 1st, 2005, when Will sat in the dock of The Old Baily, flanked by a prison officer either side of him. Will ran his hand over his cropped, dark hair, and his tall, thin frame was slightly hunched as he sat in jogging bottoms, a tee-shirt and trainers.
The prosecutor Malcolm Reed outlined the charges against Will and he told Judge Royston, “Your honour, William Morris, thirty years old, of Earlsfield Road, Wandsworth, South West London, did an aggravated burglary at Welbeck Road, Richmond, Surrey, in August last year.
“He’d done the aggravated burglary with an accomplice in the early hours of the morning and had woken up the victims and had threatened to kill their two teenage daughters if the couple didn’t open a safe for them. The two defendants then fled the premises with forty-thousand pounds worth of jewellery and eight-hundred pounds in cash.
“William had been arrested for this crime and remanded in custody. However, William and three other inmates managed an audacious escape from police custody, then earlier this year he attempted to burgle a Penthouse flat in Knightsbridge, South West London. He was confronted by police officers on the roof of the luxury block of flats, then in sheer desperation and fear of going back to prison, he attempted to commit suicide by throwing himself off the roof and scaffolding lining the building. It was only by the grace of God that he survived with just a dislocated shoulder after he landed on a mattress in a skip containing builders rubbish.”
“Does the defendant have any previous convictions?” Asked Judge Royston.
The prosecutor continued, “The defendants offenses go back to the age of nine, when he was first arrested for shoplifting. And by the age of twelve he had regular court cases for crimes including burglary. He first got sent to a detention centre at the age of fourteen for burglaries and robberies where he’d snatched handbags from females, and since then he’s had a number of custodial sentences, the last being a three and a half year sentence, again for aggravated burglary…He’d only been released for six months when he’d committed the Richmond crime that he’s in court for today.”
“Thank you Mr Reed,” Said the judge, then he looked at John Hargreaves, Will’s barrister and asked, “Mr Hargreaves, what are your clients mitigation circumstances?”
“Your honour,” Said John, “My client has had a very difficult life. He was placed in care from the moment he was born and never knew his parents. He grew up in children’s homes, so found himself in the company of many other unruly children who committed crimes from a very young age, and due to peer group pressure he felt obliged to join in.
“He also took soft drugs from when he was a juvenile, and as an older inmate in prison he was introduced to harder drugs like heroin, crack and ecstasy. For many years my client had used these drugs, and became particularly dependant on crack cocaine and ecstasy, both of which my client says he was addicted too. And because of this addiction he felt the desperation to commit the crimes he’s in court for today. So his prime reason for committing these crimes was to pay for drugs.
“Your honour,” John continued, “My client knows he is facing a custodial sentence today and I simply ask that you deal with him as leniently as you can under the circumstances. My client is so traumatised by the years he spent in prison that he tried to commit suicide the last time that he was arrested, rather than face going to jail, and these kind of thoughts have not gone away. He is a real suicidal risk while he is in prison and I fear that a long custodial sentence may plunge him into despair and tip him over the edge.”
After a brief pause Judge Royston looked at Will’s barrister and said, “Thank you mister Hargreaves,” He then looked at Will sternly and said, “William Morris, I’ve listened to the prosecution and your defence lawyer. I understand that you committed the crimes you’re in court for today because of your addiction to drugs. However, you need to learn your lesson. You have a list of previous offenses going back to your childhood and you’ve had many sentences, the last being three and a half years, and you’d only been out six months when you committed the aggravated burglary in Richmond. You then had the audacity to escape from custody and you were arrested again after you tried to burgle a flat in Knightsbridge.”
The judge seemed to stare even sterner as he continued talking to Will, “People need to learn that if they commit offenses again and again, their sentences will get longer, which will hopefully be a deterrent. I therefore sentence you to five years for the Richmond aggravated burglary, and for the attempted burglary in Knightsbridge I sentence you to two years to run consecutively. Therefore you are sentenced to a total of seven years.”

It was 6.30 in the evening. Will was seated in a large holding cell in Wandsworth prison with about forty inmates who’d been sentenced that day. The sentences ranged from two months to life. Crimes that ranged from shoplifting to murder, and everything in between.
Every now and then inmates were called out to see a doctor and be processed through reception. When it was Wills turn to see the doctor, the doctor said, “I see you got seven years today.”
“Yeah,” Answered Will, emotionless.
The doctor then glanced down at Will’s file, then said, “It says on your record that you’re suicidal. How are you feeling now?”
“Fine,” Said Will, hiding his feelings.
The doctor looked puzzled and said, “You just got seven years. Are you sure you’re feeling fine?”
“Yeah,” Will said simply.
“Are you still suicidal?”
“Nah.”
“What’s changed then?” The doctor asked, studying Will intently.
Will shrugged, “I dunno. I just don’t feel suicidal. I feel alright.”
The doctor looked at the prison officer beside Will and said, “He’s fit for the main.”
Will smiled slightly. His plan was working. He’d successfully avoided being put on suicide watch on the hospital wing and would be going to a mainstream wing. On the hospital wing he’d have been checked every fifteen minutes. On the main though the night watchman would look through the cell door spy hole about 9 Pm, then wouldn’t look through the spy hole again until about 6 Am the following morning. Will was planning to hang himself after the 9 Pm check.

After Will was processed through reception he was taken with a dozen inmates to B wing. The wings were four story’s high. There was the ground floor and level two, three and four had narrow landings about three feet wide, outside the cells and edged by four foot high railings. Stretching across from each side of landing one was safety wire mesh to prevent people trying to commit suicide by jumping off the upper landings, and also to protect any inmates or staff that may have been thrown over.
Will had arranged to have a single cell and had lied to a prison officer saying he snored really loudly, and that in the past he’d ended up fighting with cell mates because his snoring had annoyed them when it had kept them awake.
About 9 Pm the officer on night duty started walking around the four landings, peering a moment through each cell door spy hole before moving to the next. Will was on the top landing, the fours.
As soon as the officer had looked into Wills cell, Will sat down at his small table and chair and began writing a suicide note to Jenny, his long term common law wife and mother of his children.

Dear Jenny,

I’m so sorry babe. But I’ve decided to kill myself. I can’t survive in jail for another seven year sentence. I feel like I’m already dead. This sentence has finished me.

I’ll always love you and the children, but I just can’t cope with jail anymore. I’ve been in and out of jail since I was a kid, and now I’ve had enough. I feel like I’m buried alive.

Sorry
Love
Will x

Will stared a moment at what he’d written. Tears came to his eyes. He then picked up one of his bed sheets and tore a strip about an inch wide for the whole length of the seven foot long sheet. He then put his chair against the back wall of the cell, stood on it and began tying the strip of sheet around the cell bars set behind the small window, high up in the wall.
As Will was on the top landing he could see over the prison wall and in the distance he could see the tower blocks behind the Arndale shopping centre just over a mile away, with their lights shinning in the darkness. Apart from the time he’d spent in prison, Will had lived in the Wandsworth area all of his life. He’d had friends who lived in the tower blocks he could see. For a moment he stared at them, replaying warm memories in his mind. Memories of being with school friends when he was a kid, mixed with memories of getting high and scoring drugs from friends who lived there when he was older.
The darkness of despair came back when he suddenly remembered he’d been sentence to seven years. He shivered and started tying the noose to put around his neck. He was still facing the window and was about to put his head through the noose when he heard a soft voice say, “I love you.”
Will turned around, half shocked and half surprised. Standing in the middle of his cell was Jesus Christ. He was dressed in a white robe and Will had never seen someone shinning with such brilliance. And as Will stared into Jesus’s eyes he felt mesmerised by their beauty and warmth.
Will stepped down from the chair and just stood there dumbfounded and Jesus spoke again saying, “Do not kill yourself. Have hope. Follow me. I’ve got a good future for you.”
And then Jesus just disappeared. Will stood there for a moment, utterly stunned. Suddenly Will heard three thumps on his cell wall. Then he heard a voice out of the window from the next cell, “Yo next door.”
Will didn’t answer for a moment, and he heard another three thumps and the voice said again, “Next door.”
Will stood on his chair again and answered, “Whad’ya want?”
“You got any cigarettes?” Asked Frankie, the guy in the next cell.
“Nah,” Will replied, still feeling surreal from what had happened.
There was a pause, then Frankie asked, “Is that you Will?”
“Yeah,” Will replied, “Who’s that?”
“Its Frankie…Frankie Williams. Your old cell mate from Pentonville a few years ago.”
Will was deep in thought a moment trying to remember, then he said, “Frankie. Yeah, I remember you. How are ya man?”
“I’m alright,” Said Frankie, “I thought I recognised yer voice.”
There was a moments pause, then Will said sounding awestruck, “You won’t believe what’s just ‘appened.”
“What?” Asked Frankie, “What’s ‘appened?”
“I got seven years today and was just about to hang myself an’ Jesus appeared in my cell an’ told me not to do it and told me he loved me…I can’t believe it. He saved my life…I really would have topped myself.”
There was an awkward embarrassing silence, then Frankie asked, “You smokin’ some’ink?
“Nah.”
“You on a trip?”
“Nah.”
“You on an E?”
“Nah, straight up. I’m not on anything.”
Again, there was an awkward pause, then Mental Micky, a big fat black guy who’d been listening on his bed from the landing below, suddenly came to his cell window and shouted out the cowboy phrase, “Yee haw,” Then added, “Hallelujah. Jesus saved another soul.”
Frankie then said, “Oh no. You’ve started mental Micky off. ‘E’ll be talkin’ out ‘e’s window for another hour now.”
“I heard dat,” Said Micky.
Frankie then said to Will a bit quieter, “I’m gonna read my book now mate. I’ll see you in the morning.”
“Alright man,” Will replied.
Frankie then said softly, “And don’t worry about yer seven year sentence man. With remission you’ll do just over four. Or if you behave yerself an’ your lucky you could be out on parole in less than three. It may seem depressin’ now, but its not that long.”
“I’m not depressed man,” Will said smiling, “I told ya, Jesus just came into my cell an’ told me I’ve got a good future.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever,” Frankie replied suddenly sounding a bit irritated, “I’ll see ya in the mornin’ mate.”
“OK,” Will replied still smiling.
“Praise the Lord,” Shouted mental Micky.
Will got down from his window feeling slightly amused. He laid down on his bed. Mental Micky and several other inmates then started joking and talking out of their windows. You have never guessed that they were in a prison full of hardened criminals as some of the inmates acted like big kids.
As Will laid on the bed listening to them, he still had a smile on his face. But then he suddenly wondered if he was going mad. He’d been taking drugs for many years, and maybe seeing Jesus had been an hallucination. A flash back he thought. But then he just knew that Jesus had been real. And he’d never ever felt such a presence of love as what he was feeling now. Earlier he’d been so depressed and feeling such despair that he’d wanted to die. Now he was feeling so high and blissed that he felt like he was in heaven. And more than anything he felt hope again and he’d never felt so loved.
After a while, Will disentangled the strip of sheet from around the bars. He then changed out of his prison clothes, got into bed and closed his eyes. Forty minutes later for the first time in years he was sleeping without fear, without worry, without despair. He was sleeping so peacefully and so relaxed it was like he was a baby. He was in the safety and comforting presence of Christs love.

TO BE CONTINUED

CREEPERS ( Part 4 )

On the 14th of December, 2004, two weeks after Peters son was born, Peter appeared at The Old Baily for sentencing. The prosecutor, Nigel Smithers, spoke to judge Randel to outline details of the case.
“Your honour, Peter Philips, 23 years old, of Garrett Lane, Wandsworth, South West London, committed an aggravated burglary at approximately 4 A.M, at Welbeck Road, Richmond, Surrey.
“During the burglary the home owners were woken up, and Peter Philips co-defendant threatened to kill two teenage girls, if their parents didn’t open the safe. The two defendants then fled from the premises with eight hundred pounds in cash and forty-thousand pounds worth of jewellery, and before they left they locked the four family members in a bathroom.”
Judge Randel looked sternly at the prosecutor and asked, “Does the defendant have any previous convictions?”
The prosecutor Nigel then said, “Your honour, the defendant has convictions going back to the age of thirteen. He first appeared in juvenile court for shoplifting. At the age of fourteen he was sentenced to three months detention centre for stealing cars.
“At the age of fifteen he was sentenced to nine months for burglary. He was later sentenced to a year for burglary, then a sentence of eighteen months, and the last sentence he received was two years, again for burglary, and also possession of cannabis. And he’d only been released for nine months when he was arrested for the crime he’s in court for today.”
“Thank you Mr Smithers,” Said Judge Randel, then he looked at Peter’s barrister Roger King and said, “Mr King, what are your clients mitigation circumstances?”
“Your honour,” Said Roger, “My client came out of jail over a year ago, and determined to go straight he’d enrolled on a film production course at college and had been doing well, then his old friend William asked him to commit a crime with him, and they’d done an aggravated burglary together, which my client is in court for today.”
“Where is the friend today?” Judge Randel asked looking slightly confused.
Roger then said, “Both defendants were sharing a cell together in police custody, when the co-defendant William escaped.”
The judge raised his eyebrows and Roger continued, “My client Peter could have escaped with him, but he didn’t want to go on the run and just wanted to face up to his actions.”
Roger continued, “A magistrate then gave Peter bail and he’d been at the birth of his son two weeks previously and since he’d been on bail he continued studying at the film production course at college.”
Roger then continued, “I’d now like to call Peters college tutor Paul Mann as a character witness for my client.”
Roger looked at Paul as he got into the witness box, then said to him, “Paul, you are currently my clients tutor at South Thames College, could you please describe Peter to the court.”
Paul coughed slightly to clear his throat, then said, “Peter is a very good and highly likeable character. Its no exaggeration to say that he is my favourite student…He is also extremely talented, and has so far had an essay and some of his video work marked with distinctions.
“If Peter went to jail today it would seriously delay his progress, and if Peter is able to complete his two year HNC course, he aims to go on to university or film school to study filmmaking at degree level.”
There was a moments silence in the court then Roger said, “Thank you Paul.”
The judge then looked at Paul and said, “Thank you Mr Mann. You may now leave the witness box.”
Paul looked across the court to Peter in the dock and winked at Peter and Peter smiled slightly.
Moments later Roger said, “Your honour I’ll continue my clients mitigation circumstances. As I mentioned before, one of the most significant events in my clients life happened two weeks ago. He became a father and had seen his son being born. If Peter was to go to prison today, he would miss out on an important part of his child’s development and his common law wife would be under enormous pressure bringing up their child alone.”
Roger then concluded, “Therefore your honour I ask that you give my client a suspended sentence, or if you do send him to jail today, I ask that you make the sentence as lenient as you feel you can be under the circumstances.”
After a pause the judge looked at Peter sternly and said, “Peter Philips you stand before me today for committing a serious crime. You have been a habitual criminal for many years. Usually for a case like this I’d give you a sentence of five years…However, you appear to have redeemed yourself. I’m impressed that you never escaped from custody when you had the chance to. And you’ve also become a father, and you seem to be taking parenthood responsibly.
“From what your college tutor said, it also appears that you are becoming a very talented filmmaker. And this shows that there is hope for you and your future…Who knows. Maybe you’ll be the next Ken Loach or Guy Ritchie.”
Peter suddenly smiled slightly, as did other people in the court.
The judge continued, “I’m going to give you a chance young man…The sentence I’m giving you is three years, suspended for two years. That means that you are free to go today, and if you keep out of trouble for two years the sentence will be quashed…However, if you get arrested for anything else, you will serve the three year sentence, plus be sentenced for the additional crime…Do you understand?”
“Yes your honour,” Peter said over the moon, “I won’t let you down judge.”
The judge slightly smiled, “Good…I hope that’s true young man.”
Peter then looked up at Kerry in the public gallery, sitting with his mum. Both of them were grinning with happiness.

It was just after three’o’clock in the morning when Will climbed on to the scaffolding around a block of luxury flats in Knightsbridge, London.
The block of flats were six stories high, and Will climbed up ladders in the scaffolding to reach the top floor. He knew that the penthouse apartments were usually the most expensive properties. Most of the bedrooms in the flats had their curtains closed, but Will found one with the curtains open, and one of the little double glazed windows was open in the top of the window.
Will peered through the window but couldn’t make out much in the darkness. He couldn’t see clearly the elderly sleeping couple in bed. But Lady Howesworth, an ex politician was unable to sleep, and seeing Will suddenly appear outside her window on the scaffolding made her freeze with terror.
Will put his arm through the little window to try to open the handle of the larger window below it, but it had a window lock. As Lady Howesworth watched this she wanted to scream but was paralysed with fear. Moments later Will pulled his arm back out and frustrated made his way up on to the roof to give himself time to think.
Lady Howesworth then shook her husband Cecil awake, and feeling groggy from sleep he asked, “What is the matter?”
“There’s an intruder on the scaffolding. He just put his arm through our open window and tried to break in.”
Cecil sat up more and rubbed his eyes, “Are you sure?”
“Of course I am. I’ve been awake and just watched him.”
“Where is he now?”
“I don’t know,” Answered Lady Howesworth, “He’d walked further along the scaffolding.”
“We’d better call the police,” Said Cecil suddenly feeling more awake.
Cecil then dialled 999 and told the operator that someone had tried to break into their flat and the person he spoke to said they’d send the police to investigate right away. When Cecil put down the phone he said, “We’d better call the night porter as well and tell him what’s happened.”
“Ok,” Said Lady Howesworth still feeling frightened.
Cecil then called Tom, the night porter, who was based in a room on the ground floor of the luxury flats, and he told Tom that someone had just tried to burgle them and that the police were on their way.
Within five minutes Tom and two police officers were ringing on Cecil and Lady Howesworths door. They let them in and Lady Howesworth told them what she’d seen.
“Which way did the man go after trying to get into your flat?” Asked Colin, one of policemen.
“He went to my left with me facing the window,” Said Lady Howesworth.
“Is this the top floor?” Colin asked.
“Yeah,” Said Tom the porter.
“Is there an entrance to the roof?” Colin asked, not sure why he’d asked this.
“Yeah,” Said Tom, “There’s a stairwell leading to the roof at the end of the landing.”
“Ok,” Said Colin, still not sure where his train of thought had come from, “Lets look on the roof.”
“Ok,” Said Tom, “I’ll show you where to go.”
As they walked along the landing, the other policeman called Ted said to Tom, “There’s other police officers on the way. Maybe go downstairs and let them in, and tell some of them to search the scaffolding.”
“Ok,” Said Tom.

Will was sitting against the four foot high back wall that edged the roof. He’d just rolled a joint with cannabis and cocaine in it, when he suddenly heard the door that led to the roof open.
About forty feet away he saw the two policemen Colin and Ted exit the door. Even from that distance he saw the two policemen freeze as they spotted him in the darkness.
Will quickly stood up and stared at them, and the two policemen walked quickly towards him and as they got to about ten feet away, Colin flicked out his telescopic metal truncheon.
Will looked nervously over the wall at the scaffolding, then he turned back to the policemen. So far none of them had spoken, then Will said, “I ain’t goin’ back to jail,” And he suddenly leapt over the roof wall, onto the scaffolding, and in an attempt to commit suicide he threw himself off the scaffolding to the ground sixty feet below.
Will landed in a skip containing builders rubbish, with a thick double bed mattress on top. The impact of the fall momentarily shocked Will. For a second he wondered if he was dead, then when he tried to move he suddenly felt a searing pain shoot through his right shoulder, back and ribcage. Landing on the mattress had saved Will’s life, but he’d dislocated his shoulder and could hardly move and was in agony.
Will just laid there for nearly a minute, then he managed to sit up, feeling the pain shoot through him. He managed to get out of the skip and stood unsteadily on his feet, but moments later a policeman called Jeff and a policewomen called Sally seemed to appear from nowhere and grabbed him. Their colleagues on the roof had radioed them and said Will had jumped off the roof.
Jeff said, “I’m arresting you on suspicion of attempted burglary. Anything you say maybe given in evidence and used against you in a court of law. Do you understand?”
As Sally spun Will round and snapped handcuffs on Wills wrists behind his back, Will said, “Arrrggghh,” Feeling the pain shoot through him again, and he said, “I need a doctor. I think I’ve broke my shoulder.”
Sally said suddenly feeling sympathetic, “We’ll take you to A and E and get you checked out before we take you to the station.”
Jeff looked at the mattress on top of the skip then looked at Will and said, “You’re lucky to be alive son.”

TO BE CONTINUED

CREEPERS ( Part 3 )

The five prisoners sat together in a cell at Tooting police station. They felt an mixture of excitement and fear as they waited.
29 year old Will and 23 year old Peter were co-defendants who’d committed an aggravated burglary together. Winston was a Jamaican crack dealer. Scouse Joe was a skinny junkie from Liverpool who’d been nicked for pick pocketing a ladies purse from her handbag. And Jamie was a 21 year old homeless person who’d been remanded in custody for shoplifting a sandwich.
The five prisoners were being held in police custody because the London remand centres were full to breaking point, and were seriously overcrowded. It was late in 2004 and over a period of many years, Britain’s prison population had continued increasing.
The prisoners were being held on a small corridor that had three cells on it, and also a toilet and shower room. The cell doors were open all day so that the five prisoners could mix together, and the corridor had a barred gate at its entrance that was kept locked. Every half an hour like clockwork a police officer would come to the barred gate to check on the prisoners.
The policeman who came next was a new recruit called Max. “You alright lads?” Max called through the gate.
The five prisoners tensed apprehensively. 29 year old Will stepped out of the cell he shared with his co-defendant Peter, and looked at Max through the barred gate and said, “Yeah guv, we’re alright.”
Max smiled and asked, “Where’s all the others?”
“They’re in my cell playing cards.”
Max smiled again, “Ok mate. I’ll check you all again later. Enjoy your game.”
Will forced a little grin to try and hide his nervousness, “Ok guv.”
Max then walked through the empty room next the cell corridor, down another short corridor and into the main part of the station, where the desk sergeant Brian was seated with two other officers behind the counter.

As soon as Max had left, the five prisoners sprang into action. They quickly went into the corridor. Peter, Will’s co-defendant stood watch beside the barred gate.
In the middle of the cell corridor was an old sash cord window with bars in front of it. Will took the junior hacksaw that had been smuggled in beneath a kebab in a box that Will’s girlfriend had brought on a visit. And Will frantically began sawing through one of the bars on the window. To mask and drown out the sound of the bar being sawn, Winston turned up his radio and blasted out dance music on Kiss Fm.
The prisoners had planned the escape after another police officer had innocently let slip that the CCTV camera pointing down the corridor they were on, wasn’t working. The part of the police station they were being held in needed renovation and the electrics needed rewiring. Which was why the CCTV camera wasn’t working. The part of the station the remand prisoners were in had actually been shut down for a while, but they’d had to open it for holding prisoners, due to the crisis of the London remand centres being so overcrowded.
After less than a minute one of the bars had been sawn through at the bottom. Will then started sawing through the same bar, but about three feet higher, and a minute later he’d sawn through it and the bar came away in his hand. The prisoners then grinned at each other and Winston said, “Wicked.”
Will pushed the sash cord window up and Winston said, “Try an’ get through.”
Will then pushed his head through and squeezed his shoulders and chest through as well, before pulling back and saying, “I can get through it…You try.”
Winston looked unsure. Will was tall and slim, but Winston was shorter and stocky in build, with a broad chest and shoulders. “I don’t think I’m gonna get through that man,” Winston said.
“Try,” Said Will.
Winston tried to squeeze his shoulders and chest through, but got stuck and pulled himself back and said, “We gonna need to saw through another bar to make the gap wider.”
Will looked nervously at Peter who was tensely keeping watch at the gate. Will realised that they would need to take out another bar for Peter as well, as Peter was short, but chubby. Will then handed the hacksaw to Winston and said, “You do it.”
Winston sawed through both ends of a bar in in just ninety seconds. Now the two bars were removed, they all looked at each other excited.
“Lets go,” Said Will, “You go out first Winston.”
“Cool,” Said Winston, and he squeezed easily through the bars and out of the window onto the police station yard.
“You go next,” Will said to scouse Joe, who smiled and said, “Nice one.”
After Joe was out, Jamie the homeless guy climbed out and it was just Will and his co-defendant Peter left.
“You go next Pete,” Will said grinning.
But Peter suddenly said, “I’m not going.”
“What?” Will asked confused.
“I’m not going.”
“Are you mad?” Will asked, “You could be lookin’ at seven years for aggravated burglary. You’ve got a chance to be free now.”
“I can’t go man,” Peter said wondering if he was going crazy.
“Why?” Will asked pained.
“I can’t got on the run,” Peter said again, “Kerry’s pregnant. Where could we go? I just wanna do my time an’ get it over with.”
Will knew time was running out and he had to get out before Max checked up on them again, “Ok man, whatever, but I’m going.”
“Go then,” Said Peter, then they suddenly stepped towards each other and hugged.
“I love ya man,” Said Will, and he kissed Peter on the neck.
“I love ya too man,” Said Peter, feeling like he was going to cry.
“I gotta go,” Will said, and moments later he climbed out through the bars and onto the yard where the other three inmates were waiting.
There was a parked police car on the yard, right next to the wall, the other side of which was the street. The four escaped prisoners climbed onto the bonnet, then the roof of the car and over the wall, then they all quickly fled.
Back in the corridor, Peter picked up Winston’s radio, which was still blasting out dance music, and he lowered the volume and took it into his cell. He laid down with tears in his eyes and wondered if he was going mad. He also wondered if he was a fool for not taking his chance to escape. His solicitor had previously told him to expect anything from three to seven years for the aggravated burglary he’d committed. For a moment he thought about climbing through the bars and escaping after all. But then he decided to stay and he suddenly felt a sense of peace, and he knew in his heart he’d made the right choice.

When Max came back to check on the prisoners, half an hour after he’d last checked, he stood at the gate and said loudly, “Alright guys.”
Peter heard him but didn’t answer.
“Guy’s,” Max said again, but got no reply.
Max suddenly sensed something was wrong. He opened the gate and walked down the small corridor, stopping at Peter’s open cell. He smiled at Peter and asked, “Where is everyone?”
“They’ve gone guv,” Peter answered quietly.
Max smiled again, feeling slightly confused, and asked, “Are they playing cards in the other cells?”
“I’m sorry guv…They’ve gone.”
Max suddenly felt a sense of panic and he looked in the other cells and was confused to see them empty. And as he stood in the empty corridor he suddenly saw the missing bars and open window.
“Shit,” Max blurted, and he ran back out of the corridor, through the empty room and through the other little corridor, before arriving in the main part of the station, and Max shouted, “Four of the prisoners have escaped.”
“What?” Asked Brian the desk sergeant.
“Four of the prisoners have escaped.”
Brian and the two other policemen with him stood up quickly, and Brian asked, “How?”
“They’ve sawn through the bars in the corridor.”
“Jesus,” Said Brian, “We’re bang in trouble.”

Two weeks after being remanded in custody, Peter appeared back at South Western magistrates court, where he was due to have his case committed to The Old Baily for sentencing.
John, Peter’s solicitor came to visit Peter in the cells beneath the court and spoke to Peter through the hatch in the cell door. “Good news,” He beamed smiling at Peter, “The police are no longer objecting to bail.”
Peter raised his eyebrows stunned and asked, “Why?”
John smiled again and said, “It seems the police have softened towards you for doing the right thing and not escaping when you had a chance to. They trust you now.”
Half hour later Peter stood in the dock and the prosecutor outlined the details of Peter’s case, telling the magistrate that Peter had committed an aggravated burglary with an accomplice at a mansion in Richmond, Surrey, in the early hours of the morning.
“Is there any objection to bail?” Asked the magistrate.
“No your honour,” Answered the prosecutor.
The magistrate looked at Peter sternly and said, “Peter Philips I am committing your case to The Old Baily for sentencing. Until then I am releasing you on unconditional bail.”
Kerry, Peters girlfriend who was six and a half months pregnant, and who was sitting in the public gallery, burst into tears of joy and Peter looked at the magistrate and said, “Thank you your honour…Thank you so much.”
The magistrate smiled slightly and Peter’s solicitor came over to the dock and shook hands with Peter and said, “It will probably take at least a few months before you get a court date at the Baily, so hopefully you’ll get to see your child being born.”
Peter’s eyes suddenly welled up with tears of emotion and he said, “Yeah, I’ll be there.”

That night Peter and Kerry had a Chinese take away meal in their flat, then they sat on the sofa, Peter with a glass of beer and Kerry with a glass of wine.
Kerry said, “I don’t know if I should be drinking while I’m pregnant.”
Peter smiled, “Its ok occasionally, and in moderation. Plus its just a treat to celebrate. I can’t believe the magistrate give me bail man.”
Kerry smiled, “I know. That was a right result. I’m so glad you didn’t escape with Will. It would have just got worse. You’d have been in so much more trouble.”
Peter took a mouthful of beer and said, “My brief says that it will probably take at least a few months before my case comes up for sentencing at the Baily. I’ll definitely be at the birth when our kids born.”
Kerry took a sip of wine and said, “I don’t feel so bad about it all now. When you first got nicked, it was a real shock, I was devastated, but now I’m starting to get my head around it. Your solicitor says you’ll get between three and seven years, so lets say you get a five stretch, if you behave, you could be out in less than two.”
“Yeah, its not that long is it?”
“Nah,” Kerry smiled, “Two years will fly by.”

Will was smoking crack with Jenny in their top floor council flat, four floors up. Their kids were in bed. Will looked out of their living room window at a white van parked down below in the street.
“Do ya think our flat is under surveillance?” Will asked.
“I don’t think so,” Jenny replied, putting another small piece of crack on the glass crack pipe.
“That van looks dodgy,” Will said, “Do you think there’s old Bill in it pointin’ cameras at our flat?”
“I don’t think so babe. You’re just getting’ paranoid now.”
Will turned away from the window and Jenny handed him the pipe and said, “Have another lick babe.”
Will took the pipe and stroked the flame of his lighter over the piece of crack and sucked the smoke into his lungs. He then went over to the window again, Whilst Jenny prepared a pipe for herself.
“That vans puttin’ me on edge man. Its bin parked there for days. I swear there’s cozzers in it watchin’ us.”
“Babe, your just bein’ paranoid,” Jenny said before smoking the pipe. She then said, “Can you stay the night babe?”
Will turned away from the window to look at Jenny and said, “I can’t babe. If the police are watchin’ this place, they could raid us in the mornin’. That’s why I’m stayin’ with my uncle Frank. I gotta be out of here in an hour, by five. Old Bill usually raid people about six in the mornin’.”
Jenny sighed, “Ol babe, I really wish you could stay the whole night an’ sleep in our bed.”
“I know babe. I just can’t take the chance. I don’t wanna get nicked. I’d rather be dead than go back to prison.”

Peter went to South Thames college in Wandsworth, where he was studying filmmaking. He went to his tutor Paul’s office and knocked on the door.
“Come in,” Said Paul.
Peter opened the door and sheepishly entered and Paul immediately raised his eyebrows and said, “Hello stranger.”
“Alright Paul,” Peter replied.
“Where you been? I ain’t seen you for over two weeks. I’ve tried phoning you several times but your phone was switched off.”
“I’ve been in jail,” Peter said quietly.
Paul raised his eyebrows again and half smiled, “What, did you rob a bank or something?”
“No. I robbed some people in their mansion.”
“Shit. What did you do that for man? You on drugs or something?”
“Nah, but it’s a long story.”
“Tell me man. I’m curious.”
Peter took a deep breath and said, “Well basically one of my old pals asked me to do a job with him. And I said yeah. I didn’t really wanna do it, but I dunno why I did. I just couldn’t really say no to him.”
“Did he force you?”
“Nah, nah, nothin’ like that. He just asked me and like I said, for some reason I just couldn’t say no…I’m not blamin’ him though. But I was just too weak to not get involved.”
Paul suddenly sighed and said, “I’m disappointed with you man. I thought you’d dropped out.”
“I am gonna drop out. I just came to say goodbye. I really wanted to complete the course, but I won’t be able to. I’m on bail at the moment, but in three or four months I’ll probably be at The Old Baily for sentencing. My brief reckons I’ll get between three and seven years.
“Don’t drop out,” Paul said firmly, “Keep attending the course till you go to court. Have faith, anything could happen in court. And I don’t mind attending court to give you a character reference.”
Peter smiled slightly, “Thanks man.”
“Like I said…Keep attending the course. The worst thing you can do while you wait to go to court is sit around doing nothing. You need to get your mind off it and get it focussed on something.”

Nearly three months had passed since Will escaped from Tooting police station. It was now half past two in the morning. Will entered the back garden of a very large house in a private road in Kingston, Surrey.
He tried a back door handle and it immediately opened. Will smiled slightly at his stroke of luck. It never ceased to amaze him at how lapse some people were with their security. He’d lost count of the amount of unlocked back doors and windows he’d found in all the years he’d been a criminal.
Will stepped through the door into a very large, open plan kitchen. He opened some drawers looking for a large knife to arm himself with, then he found a large meat cleaver, which he picked up. He was wearing a balaclava like a hat, then he lowered it to mask his face, leaving only his eyes and mouth showing.
Will then crept up the large winding staircase. He quietly opened four of the doors leading to bedrooms and saw no one in them. Then he opened a fifth door that led to the master bedroom and he could see the shape of a couple in bed. He switched on the bedroom light and said loudly, “Wake up.”
Malcolm, the middle aged man in the bed sat up suddenly, feeling disorientated and said in a posh voice, “Oh my god.”
Jennifer the lady in bed stirred and opened her eyes, wondering if she was dreaming, then she looked at Will in the menacing balaclava and clutching the meat cleaver. She gasped in shock.
“Who are you?” Malcolm asked.
“Don’t worry about who I am,” Said Will, “Is anyone else in the house?”
“No, It’s just us,” Malcolm said, rubbing his eyes to wake up more, “Our children are at their grandparents for the night.”
“Where’s yer safe?” Will asked.
“Pardon,” Answered Malcolm.
“Where’s yer safe?” Will asked again.
Malcom said, “We haven’t got a safe.”
“I’m gonna ask you one more time,” Said Will, “An if you don’t tell me where yer safe is I’m gonna bury this meat cleaver in yer neck.”
Jennifer sat up in bed and suddenly burst into tears and Malcolm said, “Steady on old chap. I’m being honest with you. We haven’t got a safe.”
“Where do you keep yer cash an’ jewellery?” Will asked.
“I keep a thousand pounds for emergencies in a tin in the kitchen, and my wife keeps her jewellery in that jewellery box on the dressing table there,” Malcolm said pointing to it.
“Ok,” Said Will, “What’s that watch you’ve got on?”
“It’s a Rolex,” Malcolm answered.
“Take it off,” Will said, “And what’s the watch yer wife’s wearin’?”
“It’s a Rolex as well,” Said Malcolm.
“Take it off,” Will said to Jennifer.
Jennifer started sobbing even louder and Will scowled and said to her, “Take yer rings off as well, an’ yer earings.”
Jennifer stared at Will a moment frozen and Will said firmly, “Now…Rings an’ earings.”
Jennifer sobbed and touched one of the rings she had on, which was a diamond and ruby ring and she said, “This was my mothers ring. She died of cancer three months ago.”
Will stared at Jennifer a moment without speaking, then he asked, “What’s the other two rings yer wearin’?”
My engagement ring and a platinum wedding ring.”
“Take those off then,” Said Will, “But you can keep the one yer mum gave you.”
Jennifer sobbed again then said, “Thank you. Thank you.”
Will gave a little sigh and said partly to himself, “I must be goin’ bloody soft.”

It was about three’o’clock in the morning when Kerry woke up with a feeling of discomfort in her stomach. Moments later she felt her waters break and the bed was soaking wet. She sat up feeling slightly panicked then woke Peter beside her.
“What’s the matter?” Peter asked, groggily and half asleep.
“I’m going into labour.”
Peter suddenly sat up and asked, “You sure?”
“Yeah, my waters have broke.”
Peter grabbed his phone on the bedside cabinet and said, “I’ll call a cab.”
Twenty-five minutes later they arrived at St Georges hospital in Tooting. In reception Peter told one of the staff that Kerry was going into labour. The receptionist then called a staff member and they sat Kerry in a wheelchair and wheeled her to the labour ward, whilst Kerry clutched her stomach with one hand and held Peters hand with the other.
Six hours later whilst Kerry lay on a bed, Peter and Kerry’s son arrived and moments later one of the midwives placed the baby on Kerry’s chest and Peter burst into tears, so overwhelmed with emotion. It felt like the most amazing thing he’d ever seen and the memory would stay with him for the rest of his life.
After another couple of minutes, one of the midwives cut the umbilical cord and they cleaned up the baby, weighed him, and the scales said eight pounds. A midwife then wrapped the baby in a towel and looked at Peter smiling and said, “Would you like to hold him daddy?”
It was the first time anyone had ever called Peter that, and he felt his eyes well up with tears of emotion again, and he said, “Yeah.”
The midwife handed the baby to Peter and Peter immediately kissed the baby’s forehead and said, “I love you son.”
Peter then looked at Kerry, who was beaming, and Peter grinned back and both of them felt like they were in heaven.

TO BE CONTINUED

CREEPERS ( Part 2 )

At 5 Pm, 29 year old Will and his 23 year old co-defendant Peter, were sitting in one of the cells with about 30 other prisoners at Lambeth holding cells.
Several times a prison officer opened the door and called the names of small groups of prisoners, who were then taken to remand centres or police stations.
After a while just Will and Peter were left in the cells with three other inmates.
A Jamaican inmate called Winston looked at them all and said, “I gotta feelin’ we all gonna end up in police custody.”
“Whad’ya mean?” Will asked.
“Most of da remand centres are full,” Winston continued, “Prison overcrowding, so a lot of remand prisoners are being held in police stations. Jails are more overcrowded since they shut down two of the wings in The Scrubbs. They doin’ repairs as the wings were smashed up in da recent riot there.”
Joe, a skinny junkie from Liverpool joined in the conversation and said, “Well listen guys…On a positive note, it looks like we’re gonna end up in police custody. Which is good man. Police stations are much more cushy than remand centres. The last police station I was in we could have unlimited visits each day…They let us make untold phone calls…An’ we could have food brought in and money, so we were sending the gavvers out to get us pizzas, KFC, Kebabs an’ chocolate…It was a doddle in there.”
“What about gear?” Asked Will.
“No problem,” Replied Joe, “Sometimes after a visit the police would just do a rub down, an’ sometimes they didn’t even bother doing that…An’ there were no strip searches. My bird was bringing me wraps of heroin an’ I was chasin’ it in the cells.”
“Didn’t they smell it?” Asked Will.
“I dunno man,” Joe continued grinning, “I just kept spraying deodorant around the cell sometimes to mask it.”
“What about puff?” Asked Peter, joining the conversation.
“We were getting puff as well,” Said Joe, “But we didn’t smoke it. We just got stoned by eating little bits of it now an’ then.”
They all laughed and Peter said, “Sensible.”
After a pause Winston looked at Will and Peter and asked, “What you guys in for?”
“Aggravated burglary,” Answered Will, “We broke into a mansion in Richmond in the early hours of the mornin’ an’ made the owners open their safe.”
Winston grinned and said, “Wicked.”
Then Will asked Winston, “What you in for?”
Winston grinned again, “Sellin’ crack, plus possession of firearms. Bullman raided my yard an’ I get ketch with half ounce of white, an’ they found me handgun under da floorboards.”
Winston then looked at Joe, the skinny junkie from Liverpool and asked, “What you in for?”
Joe grinned and said, “Pick pocketing. Undercover police were following me an’ nabbed me when I dipped a woman’s handbag on the tube.”
“Wicked,” Grinned Winston again. He then looked at Jamie, who was wearing jeans with rips in them, odd socks and boots with no laces, and Winston asked him, “What you in for?”
Jamie, who was only 21, looked nervous and replied, “Shop lifting.”
“Whad’ya teeth?” Winston asked.
“A sandwich from a supermarket,” Jamie replied suddenly blushing.
Will frowned, “What…They remanded you in custody just for that?”
“They said they had to remand me in custody because I ain’t got an address to be bailed to.”
Wills frown deepened, “Why ain’t ya got an address?
“I’m homeless,” Jamie replied looking more embarrassed.
Will shook his head and said, “That’s rough man. Puttin’ you in jail, just for nickin’ a sandwich.”
The five of them pause a moment in silence and the cell door was suddenly opened and a prison officer said, “Right lads we’re taking you to a police station in South London.”
“Whereabouts in South London guv?” Asked Will.
“Tooting,” Answered the prison officer.
“Yes,” Will said euphorically.
Peter also smiled and said, “Just up the road from where we live. Do ya think they’ll let us have a visit there tonight guv?”
I don’t see why not,” Said the officer, “They’ll let you make a phone call when you get there, so you can contact a friend or relative and let them know where you are.”

When they arrived at the police station there were half a dozen police officers in the custody area to great them. The sergeant, a middle aged, overweight, bearded man called Brian said, “Right lads, you know you’re remanded in police custody because the London remand centres are full. We’ll try to look after you as best as we can here. We’ll let you make phone calls, have visits, and let you have a bit of exercise on the yard every day to get a bit of fresh air.
“If you don’t give us any trouble,” Continued Brian, “We won’t give you any trouble. Treat us with respect, and we’ll treat you with respect…Any questions?”
Will asked, “Would we be able to have a visit tonight guv?”
“Yes,” Answered Brian.
Peter then asked, “Can we have a phone call to let people know we’re here?”
“Yes,” Brian replied and again added, “We’ll let you have visits in some of the interview rooms and we’ll be housing you in part of the station that’s been shut down for a while as they’re doing some building work and electrical rewiring soon.
“There’s a row of three cells on a corridor. Four of you will have to share two to a cell, and one of you will be in a cell on your own. But we’ll keep the cells open all day so you can mix together and get a little bit of space. But we’ll keep the gate locked at the end of the corridor that the cells are on. There’s also a toilet and shower room on the corridor. Basically guys we’ll just leave you alone, and just check up on you guys every half an hour to check you ain’t escaped or killed each other.”
Everyone laughed or smiled.

The prisoners were each given a phone call and after Will and Peter had notified their girlfriends, Jenny and Kerry arrived together. The police officers let them into different rooms, Jenny and Will in one and Kerry and Peter in the other.
As soon as Kerry sat down she burst into tears and said to Peter, “Why did you commit this crime? I thought you weren’t doing crime anymore. You were doing so well. You were at college and we were getting ready to have a baby.”
“I’m sorry babe,” Peter said with tears in his eyes.
“Its no good saying sorry,” Kerry said still crying, “Its too late for that. You could end up getting seven years…Our child’s gonna grow up just seeing you on prison visits every two weeks.”
“You’re gonna stick by me then?” Peter asked still fighting back tears.
“Of course I’m gonna stick by you,” Kerry replied sobbing, “I’m having your baby.”
Peter suddenly broke down in tears and they stood up and hugged each other. “I’m so sorry darling,’” Peter sobbed, “I swear to God that I’ll never ever commit another crime again.”

In the next room Will and Jenny sat opposite each other. Will looked around the room suspiciously and said quietly, “Do ya think they’re taping us?”
Jenny looked around and said, “I don’t think so.”
Will continued speaking quietly, “You don’t think the copper sitting outside the door can hear us do ya?
“Nah,” Said Jenny, “Not if we speak quietly.”
They stared at each other a moment in silence then Jenny said, “Kerry’s in bits. She cried all the way up ‘ere in the cab.”
Will didn’t answer and Jenny continued, “Peter’s not gonna be there when she gives birth in three months.”
Will sighed and ran his hand through his dark cropped hair, “I know man, I feel terrible.”
They both pause in thought, then Jenny asked, “What about us? What am I gonna do for money while you’re away?”
“You can sell my car,” Said Will.
“How much will I get for that?”
“About three or four grand.”
“Well that won’t last long. I’m gonna be visiting you an’ I guess you’re gonna want me to bring you gear each time.”
“Did ya bring anything this time?” Will asked desperately.
“Just puff,” Said Jenny.
Will grinned, “How much?”
“Just a quarter.”
Will then looked at the door and said even quieter, “Give it to me now.”
Jenny also looked nervously towards the door then pulled out the quarter ounce of cannabis resin from her bra, gave it to Will who immediately put his hand down the back of his trousers and pushed the cling film wrapped narcotic up his anus.
Will then grinned again and said, “Maybe you can bring us up some E’s one day.”
Jenny looked at him wearily and said, “Ok.”
A pained expression suddenly appeared on Wills face and he asked, “How are the kids?”
“Gutted,” Jenny replied equally as pained, “They can’t believe you’re back in jail again.”

During the next four days the five prisoners got into the routine. They went on the yard twice a day for half an hour each time. Three of them would be handcuffed together and two of them together. It wasn’t a secure yard like a prison, so the police would have to take precautions and three of them sat out on the yard whilst the prisoners walked, and there was also a police dog present.
The prisoners had visits each day, except Jamie the homeless guy, as he didn’t have any family or friends.
Will and Peter were visited by their girlfriends Jenny and Kerry each afternoon and evening, and the police let them have a half hour visit each time.
Will, Winston and scouse Joe smuggled drugs from their visits, and all the prisoners ate little bits of the cannabis resin now and then. It made them all feel relaxed. And Joe was also smuggling wraps of heroin his girlfriend brought up and he was chasing it on silver foil Kit Kat wrappers and he was so glad that none of the other prisoners took heroin, so he didn’t have to share it.

One Saturday night, four of the prisoners had put some money together and decided to order a bargain bucket of KFC. 21 year old Jamie seemed a bit embarrassed as he couldn’t contribute anything, but Winston smiled at him and said, “Don’t worry yute…We love ya.”
Jamie smiled sheepishly and Will ruffled Jamie’s hair affectionately and said, “You’re one of us mate. We’ll look after ya.”
Jamie smiled again.
When the police officer Gordon came to collect the money for the KFC Will suddenly asked grinning, “Eh guv, if I give you the money I don’t suppose you could get us all a can of beer each could ya?
Gordon raised his eyebrows surprised then frowned and said, “This is a police station lad, not The Ritz hotel.”
“Ah come on guv,” Pleaded Will, “Just a can of beer each…It’s Saturday night.”
Gordon looked unsure, then said, “Let me ask Brian the sergeant.”
A couple of minutes later Gordon came back with a smile on his face and said to Will through the barred gate at the start of the cells corridor, “Serge said yes lads. We’ll get you a can of beer each to go with your KFC…But this is a one off only. And don’t tell a soul that we let you drink beer in this police station.”
The guys all smiled and Winston the crack dealer put his fist through the barred gate and Gordon touched fists with him and Winston said, “Respect guvnor.”

Gordon came back to the police station with the KFC and five cans of Fosters for the prisoners.
The five of them sat in Will and Peter’s cell and they all tucked into the chicken and fries, which they washed down with the lager.
Winston said, “I never thought I’d be eating fried chicken an’ drinkin’ lager in a police cell.”
They all smiled and Will then said, “I’ve gotta surprise for you all.”
“What?” Asked Peter.
“We’re all gonna be raving in a police station,” Said Will.
“Whad’ya mean? Asked Winston.
Will suddenly put his hand down the front of his boxer shorts and produced five pills in cling film.
“Know what these are?” Will asked them all grinning.
Peter looked stunned with surprise and asked, “Is it ecstasy?”
“Yeah,” Grinned Will, “I wanted to surprise you all. Jenny brought them up today.”
“Wicked,” Grinned Winston, “Lets tune our radios to Kiss FM an’ let da ravin’ begin.”

Like clockwork Gordon the police officer came to the gate at the start of the cell corridor half an hour after giving the prisoners KFC and lager. The inmates were blasting out dance tunes on Kiss and were milling around in the corridor.
“How was the beer guys?” Asked Gordon.
“Pucker,” Said Will.
When Gordon appeared at the gate half hour later again he was stunned to see the five inmates dancing around like nutters. The ecstasy pills had now taken full effect.
“You alright lads?” Gordon asked raising his voice to be heard above the music.
“We cool guv,” Grinned the Jamaican Winston.
Will then came closer to the barred gate and said, “Eh guv, I wanna tell ya something.”
Gordon smiled and said, “What, you’re not going to confess to any crimes are you?”
“No guv,” Will replied.
“Then what do you want to tell me?”
Will grinned with his eyes shining sensuously and said, “I wanna tell you that I love ya.”
Gordon looked stunned again and Winston also grinned and said, “I love you as well guv.”
Gordon suddenly laughed and said, “You light weights. You’ve only had one can of lager and you’re drunk.”
When Gordon went back to the reception area he said to the sergeant Brian, “You won’t believe this. Two of the prisoners just told me they love me.”
Brian raised his eyebrows and Gordon continued, “They’re dancing round the corridor like nutters. Listening to house music on their radios. They’ve only had one can each.”
Brian paused in thought a moment then said, “Do you think they’re on something else?”
“Don’t know serge. They might be. They’re dancing like lunatics.”
“Do you think we should search them?
Gordon thought a moment then said, “Nah, Just leave them alone. They’re not harming anyone.”

When Gordon came back again about half hour later to check on the prisoners they were still dancing round the corridor.
Gordon looked through the barred gate and Will smiled at him again and asked, “Guv, why do ya need to keep checking up on us? Can’t you just see us on the camera?”
Will then pointed to the CCTV camera above the gate in the corner of the wall pointing down the corridor.
“It don’t work,” Gordon said smiling.
“What?” Will asked wondering if he’d heard right.
“The camera don’t work,” Gordon said again, “ This part of the building needs refurbishment and a lot of the electrics need rewiring. That’s why the CCTV in the corridor ain’t working.”
Will was so happy to hear this information that if he could of squeezed his head through the barred gate he would have kissed Gordon. And when Gordon left, Will quickly addressed the four other prisoners and asked, “Who wants to escape with me?”
“Escape?” Asked Winston, “How we gonna do that?”
Will walked over the to the old sash cord window in the middle of the corridor. There was a row of thick metal bars in front of it. And Will said, “We’re gonna saw through these bars, then climb out the window.”
Scouse Joe looked confused and said, “I thought of that, but they’re watching us through the camera in the corner. If we started sawing through the bars they’d see us.”
Will grinned and said, “The camera don’t work. This part of the station needs rewiring.”
“How do ya know that? Joe asked.
“Didn’t ya just hear me talkin’ to the copper?”
“Nah,” Joe answered, “I was just listening to the radio tunes.”
Winston suddenly felt excited, which was even more euphoric because he was buzzing on the ecstasy pill, and he said, “We’re gonna need a hacksaw to saw tru the bars. How we gonna get one?
“Don’t worry,” Grinned Will, “I’ll think of something.”

The next night Jenny came up to visit Will. It was her second visit that day as she’d visited him in the afternoon and Will had told her the plan. When Gordon, who was on duty again, opened the old interview room for Jenny and Will to have their visit in, Jenny said to Gordon, “I’ve bought up a couple of kebabs for Will and Peter. Can you give this to Peter now so It don’t get cold?”
“Sure,” Said Gordon as Jenny handed him one of the polystyrene boxes.
After Gordon had shut Will and Jenny in the room, he took the Kebab to the corridor and called Peter through the barred gate.
Peter came out of his cell and came to the gate and Gordon said, “Your mates girlfriend bought you a kebab.”
“Thanks,” Said Peter looking tense.
Gordon suddenly opened the lid of the box and said, “Mmm. Looks nice.”
Peter froze with fear and Gordon asked, “Can I have a bit of your meat?”
“Ok,” Peter said tensely.
Gordon picked out a slice of Donner meat and ate it and said, “The chilli sauce is lovely.”
Gordon then closed the box and handed it through the barred gate and Gordon said smiling, “Enjoy your meal.”
Peter then took the box now feeling terrified and Gordon suddenly looked concerned and asked, “Are you alright lad?”
“Yeah,” Peter replied tensely, “I’ve just got a bit of a headache.”
“Oh, ok,” Gordon said, “Just eat your meal and I’ll see if I can get you a couple of Anadin.”
“Thanks,” Peter said still tense.
Peter walked back into his open cell and Winston, Joe and Jamie looked at him with wide eyed expectation. Peter immediately opened the Kebab box, lifted out the Kebab and beneath the pitta bread was a junior hacksaw which Peter held up for the others to see.
Winston grinned and said, “Wicked. We’re out of here.”

TO BE CONTINUED

LILLY (Part 2)

Lilly was dressed for work. She was wearing a mini skirt, high heeled stilettoes and a low cut top that revealed her cleavage. In her handbag she had twelve condoms, a purse, a phone, door keys, sweet tick tacks, chewing gum, a packet of win gums and some folded tin foil for smoking heroin.
It had been a week since Lilly was attacked by a client, so her black eye had now faded. She was twenty-five years old and with her curvaceous figure and long curly dark hair she looked like she could be a model, apart from the greyish tinge to her complexion and the slightly vulnerable and haunted looking persona.
Right now Lilly was seated in a quiet café in Penge, South East London, a multicultural urban area that was a mix of wealthy and poor people. The area was buzzing, beautiful and edgy.
Lilly used a teaspoon to shovel the fresh whipped cream on top of her hot chocolate into her mouth. After a few spoonful’s of it she stirred the rest of the cream into the hot chocolate then sipped it from the mug.
Lilly watched Rita, a middle aged black woman take a final sip of her coffee, stand up and put a pound tip on her table, then start walking to the door. Lilly looked away, then surprised looked up as Rita stopped beside her, smiled and said, “Would you like to come to my church barbecue?”
“What?”
Rita smiled again and repeated, “Would you like to come to my church barbecue?”
Lilly half laughed feeling a mixture of shock and surprise, then said, “I don’t do church.”
“Why’s that?” Rita asked still smiling.
“Why’s that?” Lilly answered struggling to find the right words, “Lets just say I’m too bad for church.”
“No ones too bad for church,” Rita said with certainty.
“Trust me,” said Lilly, “I really am.”
“So what’s so bad about you then?”
“You really wanna know?”
Rita smiled again and said, “Yeah.”
Lilly looked self consciously around the café, then speaking more quietly said, “I’m a drug addicted prostitute.”
Rita smiled again, “I used to be addicted to drugs…And I got a seven years sentence for trying to smuggle cocaine into the country.”
Lilly raised her eyebrows in shock and surprise, “But you’re a Christian.”
“That was before I became a Christian.”
They both stared at each other a moment in silence, then Rita said, “Please come to my church,” Rita took out a leaflet from her handbag and handed it to Lilly, “Here’s a leaflet with my church address and details of the barbecue. Its only a five minute walk from here, and its all free.”
“I dunno,” said Lilly, “I’m not sure that I’d feel comfortable in a church.”
“I’ll be there,” Rita said smiling, “And all the people there are really friendly. I’ve also got some friends in church I could introduce you to. People who’d also been drug users and criminals etc. But you’ll see how much God has changed them.”
Lilly looked puzzled, “What…People like that go to your church?”
“yeah, all kinds of people. Teachers, doctors, cab drivers, filmmakers, builders. Rich people, poor people, old, young, Black, White. My church is a real mix of people. And we’re all like one big family. You need to see it for yourself…You will come won’t you?”
Lilly looked slightly weary, “I’ll think about it.”
Rita smiled, “That’s great,” she took out a pen from her coat pocket and said, “I’ll write my phone number on the leaflet as well.”
After Rita had written her phone number she said, “I hope to see you later then…And by the way…What’s your name?”
“Lilly.”
“Rita smiled again, “My names Rita. She held out her hand and Lilly shook it slightly smiling.

Lilly got on a bus to a notorious red light district. She walked up and down the leafy street and within minutes a car pulled up at the kerb, and Alan, a middle aged balding man, unwound electronically the passenger side window. Lilly leaned down to peer in and Alan asked, “You doin’ business luv?”
“Yeah.”
Alan paused in thought a moment, checking out her looks hungrilly, then he said, “Get in.”
Lilly got into the car and moments later Alan drove off with her.

It was late in the afternoon when Lilly walked into a dingy looking snooker hall. In one corner, a Jamaican crack and heroin dealer known as Baldy was playing snooker with a young black guy with short dreadlocks.
Baldy looked up after taking a shot as Lilly appeared. He smiled flashing several gold teeth and said, “Alright Lilly.”
“Alright Baldy,” Lilly replied, and looked at the other guy who she’d never seen before, and the guy nodded at her then fixed his attention on her long curvaceous legs.
Baldy gave Lilly a brief hug then asked, “Whad’ya want Lilly?”
“A rock an’ a score joey.”
Baldy reached into his bum bag and pulled out a small sliver of silver foil, from the many he had, and gave it to Lilly. Inside the foil was a rock of crack about the size of half a chocolate smarty. Then from another part of his bum bag he took out one of the many postage stamp size paper wraps of heroin and he handed it to Lilly who gave him two twenty pound notes.
“Cheers Baldy,” said Lilly.
“No problem,” Baldy replied as he watched his friend pot a red. He then said, “Why don’t you stay around a while an’ play some snooker with us.”
Lilly looked slightly flustered, “I’m cluckin’ Baldy. I just wanna go home an’ smoke this rock.”
“Cool. You do that then. One day though I don’t want you to rush. Stay an’ play a game of snooker wi’ me.”
Lilly smiled slightly, “Yeah I will…See ya later.”
“Laters,” Baldy replied.
Lilly then nodded at the young black guy with dreadlocks again and he smiled and nodded back, then Lilly walked towards the exit and she half smiled again when she overheard the young black guy say, “Man, she’s fit.”

Lilly let herself in to her small, dingy bedsit above a parade of shops. As soon as she got in she sat on her bed and picked up the makeshift crack pipe on her bedside table. It was a small plastic water bottle, half filled with water, with a thick straw poking through the side of the bottle and on the top of it was silver foil with pin holes in it. Lilly then put some cigarette ash on top of the foil then opened the rock of crack and used her thumb nail to split a third of the milky looking rock and put the piece on to the foil at the top of the bottle. She then put the straw into her mouth and flicked her lighter onto the rock and as it melted she sucked on the straw, inhaling the crack smoke into her lungs whilst the water below it bubbled. She then slowly exhaled the smoke feeling the euphoric rush of the drug.
Grace waited a few minutes then repeated the ritual. Then after three pipes the rock was gone. Ten minutes later she tipped some of the heroin out of the paper wrap, onto a piece of silver foil about six inches long and four inches wide. She then put the toot in her mouth, which was a small tube, also made of tin foil and she lifted up the foil with the heroin powder on, then flicked her lighter beneath the foil until the powder turned to liquid. She then continued stroking her flame under the foil and let the liquid heroin run slightly downwards whilst she used the toot to suck in the smoke and fumes left in its trail. This was commonly referred to as chasing the dragon.
After chasing for a while she started to feel the warmth of the drug and she felt blissfully mellow and dopy. She then reached into her handbag and pulled out the flyer that Rita had given her earlier advertising her church barbecue. Lilly suddenly felt hungry and realised that all she’d eaten that day was an apple, and she’d only drank a can of coke and a hot chocolate. As usual she’d spent all her money on drugs and the only thing she had in her fridge was a tub of margarine, half a tin of beans and a yogurt.
She started to think about the barbecue and felt saliva flow into her mouth. Now she weren’t clucking and was stoned, it was enough Dutch courage to make her decide to go to the church. And quite simply…She was starving.

Lilly could smell the barbecue food before she saw it. The tantalising smell of charcoal grilled sausages, beef burgers and fried onions. Christ Central Church didn’t look like a traditional church building, and it was in fact a large converted ex warehouse. As Lilly walked along she suddenly spotted a large group of people in the church carpark where they were barbecuing. An orderly queue was formed leading to the food being cooked. Lilly had expected to see a lot of square looking people, which was her mental picture of what she imagined Christians to be like, so she was quite surprised to see that Rita had been right, and it looked like a real mix of people, ranging from people with tattoos and piercings, to little old ladies and children of all classes and colours.
Lilly felt slightly tense as she queued and she listened to the conversations of people around her. She expected that the people would all be talking about Jesus and Bible bashing each other, but the conversations were about everyday things and Lilly quickly concluded that the people seemed quite normal. A woman walked past Lilly carrying a paper plate with a hamburger on and she smiled at Lilly and Lilly suddenly felt more relaxed.
As Lilly got to the front of the queue, Brian one of the church elders who was one of the three people serving on the large barbecue, smiled at Lilly and asked, “What would you like?”
“Could I have a hotdog please?”
Brian smiled again, “Sure…Would you like onions with that?”
“Yeah please,” Lilly suddenly realised she was starving, “Is it ok if I have two hotdogs?”
Brian smiled again, “Sure. You can have three if you want.”
Lilly smiled slightly and felt more relaxed, “Its ok. Two’s enough.”
“Ok,” Said Brian smiling again. He then looked in the direction of two tables about ten feet away, “There’s some salad, pasta and rice and things on the table over there. Just help yourself. There’s drinks as well.”
Lilly looked in the direction he was looking in, then looked back at him, “Thanks.”
“You’re welcome,” Said Brian again.
Lilly suddenly thought that she’d never been anywhere where she’d seen so many smiling people. She went over to the other food tables and found some tomato ketchup, which she put on her two hotdogs and she saw that there were lots of bottles of fizzy drinks and cartons of fruit juice, but she specifically wanted some coke, which someone was pouring into a plastic cup. The person Jacob looked at Lilly and asked, “Do you want some of this?”
“Yeah please,” Lilly replied feeling slightly shy.
Jacob then poured her a cup of coke and smiled at her as he gave it.
“Thanks,” Lilly said.
“You’re welcome,” Jacob replied.
Lilly then saw the doors leading into church were open and feeling slightly nervous she walked into the building carrying her two hotdogs on a paper plate and her cup of coke. She was again surprised as for some reason she expected to see rows of hard wooden pew chairs, but instead she saw all the chairs in rows were soft and comfortable looking. There were small clusters of people sitting, talking and eating.
Lilly felt a bit self conscious, so she went to the back of the church and sat down on her own. She then wolfed down the first hotdog, and she’d just finished the second when Rita appeared beside her smiling and said, “Hi Lilly…I’m so glad you could make it.”
“I only came cos I was ‘Ungry,” Lilly replied.
Rita smiled again, “Well, whatever the reason. I’m really pleased you’re here.”
They both paused a moment in silence, then Rita said, “Tell me about your life Lilly.”
“You really want to hear it?”
“Yeah, I do Lilly. I’m interested in you. And more than that, God is interested in you.”
“I dunno why. My life’s been terrible,” They both pause, then Lilly continued, “I’ve been a prostitute since the age of sixteen. I grew up in care. I got taken away from my mum at the age of four, when my mum had a schizophrenic breakdown. She killed herself two years later by throwing herself in front of a train.”
“Oh Lilly…I’m so sorry.”
“No need to be sorry. It weren’t your fault.”
They both pause in silence a moment, then Lilly continued, “I was sexually abused in the care homes I was in. I ran away from one on my sixteenth birthday and then this man started talking to me in Trafalgar Square. He seemed really nice and when I told him I’d ran away he said he’d put me up at his flat and said he had a spare room. That night he raped me.”
“Oh Lilly…That’s so awful.”
“Yeah it was. Then I started sleeping rough in the West End and I met up with some other young runaways, an’ they introduced me to heroin…They gave me my first free bag and I felt like I was in heaven…The cold didn’t bother me…The rough sleeping…I just felt totally blissed, but within a few weeks I was selling my body to pay for drugs everyday.”
“I partly know what you mean Lilly,” Said Rita, “I was addicted to coke…First snorting it, then smoking it as crack.”
“Did you sell your body for it?”
“No,” Answered Rita, “But I fed my habit by dealing it, then I became a mule and smuggled it into the country from Jamaica…The first three times I got away with it, then the last time I got stopped by customs and they found two kilos in my suitcase, and I ended up getting a seven years sentence.”
“That must have been tough,” Lilly said feeling empathy.
“Yeah, it really was.”
They both pause a moment in silence, then Rita asked, “Have you ever had counselling Lilly?”
“No.”
“I’ve got a friend who’s a Christian counsellor. I think it would really help you if you saw her and talked about all the things you’ve told me.”
“I couldn’t afford counselling. I need money to pay for drugs every day. I can’t even afford to eat properly…All my money goes on gear.”
“The counselling my friend does is free. She works for a Christian charity and you only need to give a donation for each session. Most people give from a couple of quid to a tenner.”
They pause again, then Rita asked, “How much drugs do you take each day?
“Three or four rocks of crack and fifty to seventy quids worth of heroin…I wanna get into a rehab but I need a letter from a doctor, but haven’t found a doctor yet as I’ve only just moved into this area.”
“I could help you find a doctor.”
“Really?”
“Yeah, I could help you with that.”
“Thanks,” Lilly replied.
Rita then said, “Your life maybe a mess now, but God can change that. I’ve met so many people who’d had messed up lives, but you wouldn’t believe how them and their lives have changed.”
They both pause again, then Rita continued, “Jesus is calling you Lilly…And in the future I’m sure you’ll be drug free, out of sex work, and healed of all the abuse and trauma that you’ve ever experienced.”
“What makes you think that Jesus is calling me?”
“Because Jesus loves you Lilly…He loves you so much.”
Lilly looked at Rita a moment then suddenly burst into tears. Rita then hugged her while Lilly continued sobbing.
“You’re gonna be alright Lilly,” Rita whispered softly, “You’re gonna be alright.”

TO BE CONTINUED