Home invasion and burglary concept with hand in leather gloves holding the loot a diamond and pearl necklace


By Chanya Sandler

“You’ll never get me to tell you where the jewels are!” yelled Gabriel. His wrists were rubbed raw by the coarse rope he was struggling with.

“Oh yeah?” Green Eyes challenged, a slow, wicked grin creeping up his cheeks, creasing his scar gruesomely. He motioned to his suited henchmen. “Get the girl.”

“No!” yelled Gabriel. But he could only watch as the slick gangsters dragged Dalia into the shadows. “You won’t get away with this.”

Green Eyes laughed, “Really? The thief will go running to the coppers, will he?” As the fire died in Gabriel’s eyes, Green Eyes leaned over, tailored suit flexing beautifully as he moved. “You bring the jewels here in 48 hours or you can forget about your little friend.” With that he walked away and stepped into the shadows of backstage.

“CUT! Brilliant, well done. We’re going to bring the house down tomorrow guys. Now go home and get some rest, big night tomorrow.”

Everyone began to put on their coats and make towards the exit, when Mrs Lyon raised her megaphone again, “Hold it. I want everyone in that last scene to stay behind. I want to do it one last time so we can get it perfect.” Good-natured groaning followed this direction, but pretty soon everyone was in position and Mrs Lyon gave her pre-scene pep talk.

“I want to feel the emotion, I want to hear the tension, I want to see the conflict. Gabriel is a loveable rogue, a teen in the 40s who steals from a gem display. Green Eyes, you are the gangster who needs to get his hands on them to impress your father so you can be his successor. Dalia, you are Gabriel’s accomplice and sister. Green Eyes is manipulating Gabriel into giving him the jewels by using you. You’re a pawn caught between the kings, but you got spunk, kid. Henchmen… er, try to be sophisticatedly intimidating. All right people, in 5…4…”

The kids rolled their eyes. Mrs Lyon felt the need to give the exact same speech every time. Benjy noticed Ezra mouthing it along with him. Their gazes locked and Benjy nearly burst out laughing. Then he sobered. Green Eyes was his enemy.

“You’ll never get me to tell you where the jewels are!” yelled Gabriel.

“Oh yeah? Get the girl.”

“No!” yelled Gabriel. But he could only watch as the slick gangsters dragged Dalia into the shadows. “You won’t get away with this.”

Green Eyes laughed. “Really? The thief will go running to the coppers, will he?” As the fire died in Gabriel’s eyes, Green Eyes leaned over. “You bring the jewels here in 48 hours or you can forget about your little friend.” With that he walked away and stepped into the shadows. Gabriel cried and stared mournfully into the distance. He noticed a rusty nail sticking out of a girder a few feet away. Shuffling over, he freed himself in seconds. “What a mess. Now what?”

Benjy waited for the round of applause Mrs Lyon always gave when they finished a good scene, and that one had been amazing. It felt so real. When the lights blocked the audience it made the whole scene so much more realistic. Green Eyes and Dalia had done so well. And the props guys were really outdoing themselves. It even smelled real!

“Um, Mrs Lyon? Guys?” Something was wrong. Benjy walked to the front of the stage, and kept walking. And walking. And walking. Until he came to the front of the warehouse. A cold breeze chilled his blood. There was a door. Bright light streamed through it. Daylight. They were in a theatre. This was impossible. Did he wander out the stage door by accident? He ran back inside desperately, sprinting to where Green Eyes and his henchman had strode off. There was another door with a dirt track outside. Tyre trails stretched across it. What in the world?

Behind him, a really loud noise whipped Benjy around as five old black cars pulled up. Their tops and doors were white. Benjy was so stunned by all of this (he had literally been acting in a play a few moments ago) that his brain failed to register the word emblazoned on those white doors, or the red light on top of those white roofs. The blue suited men stepping out of those cars did it for him.

“Police! Hands up! Gabriel Smith, you are under arrest for the theft of £5,000 worth of jewels from Hatton Garden yesterday.”

Benjy just gaped. “This isn’t happening.” He felt dizzy. This wasn’t possible, no way. What was going on?

Benjy ran. Five policemen took chase and Benjy was thrown to the ground. Everything started to spin and the world went black.

When Benjy woke up, he was in a cell. Apparently this wasn’t a dream because he was pretty sure he couldn’t have a monster headache and a bruise on his arm in a dream.

“Ah, you’re up. Detective Summers wants to speak to you.” As he was led to an interrogation room, Benjy tried to breathe deeply. If he really was trapped in a play, then there was no way Detective Summers was going to believe him. He’d read enough novels to know this wouldn’t work. His best bet was…to what? One thing was for sure, he had to get out of prison and find some friends. If he really was Gabriel, then Abby was in serious trouble right now. Green Eyes had kidnapped Dalia, and if this went according to the script, Gabriel had 48 hours to recover the jewels from where he’d stashed them and save her. Maybe if he acted out the whole story, he could go back to real life when it was over. Ok, that was his best bet right now. So, first things first. He needed to escape. But how?

Detective Summers was tall and bearded. Benjy knew it was a long shot but he tried anyway. “Ari?”

Detective Summers stared back at him coldly. “This isn’t a joke, Gabriel.”

Benjy rolled his eyes. He knew this script by heart. Maybe he should just play out his lines. What would happen if he changed his words? On the other hand, if he wanted to keep Dalia safe then he had to make sure that everything went exactly according to the original play. So he tried not to roll his eyes too much. I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Let’s not play games here. You’re looking at a long prison sentence, but tell me where the jewels are and we can work something out.” The Detective leaned forward. “You’re a bright kid, do the smart thing.”

Benjy waited, counting down silently. BOOM! The walls shook and smoke filled the air as three motorbikes roared into the room. Even in real life they were hiding in the smoke, but this time when Benjy leapt onto the motorbike, he felt a hard shuddering mass beneath him. “Go, go!” And they roared off into the street. The bright daylight blinded him, so Benjy couldn’t make out his rescuers until they reached a darkened alleyway.

“Saved you again Gabriel; you owe me one,” smirked a dark-haired, scruffy-looking boy. This bit had never been in the script, so Benjy had to think of how to react. Come on, he played the part of Gabriel, he knew him, he was him! He could ad lib his character. Yeah, totally, he could do this!

“Thanks Aron. Guess I owe you one now. But then again, I just masterminded the greatest heist of this decade! The street cred I just got us has gotta be worth something.”

A redheaded boy grinned. “Hows abouts ya pay off ya debt with somma tha heist ya talking about, eh?”

Benjy smirked inwardly. Even in “real life” Toby’s cockney accent was rubbish! “Sorry Will, but there’s something more important we need to deal with-”

“Not here,” a brunette girl interrupted. “Let’s go inside first, Gabriel, hero of the hour. Well, not of this hour – you managed to let the cops get you – but we’ll overlook that when you show us the goods. Lead the way.”

“Um….” Being as this wasn’t in the actual play, Benjy had absolutely no idea how to access their secret hideout. The script only showed the inside. Now what? Wait, Benjy had managed to jump onto a moving motorbike, something he couldn’t actually do in real life, but Gabriel could. So if he had Gabriel’s skills, maybe, just maybe, he had Gabriel’s knowledge too? He turned, looking for a familiar sign, letting his instincts guide him to a drain pipe sticking out of the wall at knee height. He crouched down. This was it, but how to open it? The others were all looking at him expectantly. “What’s taking so long?” Aron demanded.

“Just, er, tired.” He reached into it and felt a cold circular object. He grasped it and pulled. With a dramatic creak (whatever version of reality Benjy had found himself in, it was still a drama, and acted like it), a section of the wall drew back and slid to the side, revealing an abandoned tube station that Benjy supposed was now home.

He had to admit, it was quite cool to see it all brought to life, rather than just a set and painted backgrounds. There were a lot of papers, with maps and photos and various other impressive-looking bits and bobs hung up on the wall, linked by coloured string and pins. It seemed that some of this world was exactly like the props team had set it out.

“So where’s Dalia?” asked Suri, the brunette.

“And where’s the gems?” asked Will.

For a moment, Benjy contemplated telling them the truth: that he was actually a kid from 2017, acting in a school play, and somehow it had become real. Then again, in every film with a similar plotline he’d ever seen, that hadn’t worked. And, he wasn’t sure how this rough-sleeping band of loveable rogues from the 1940s would take it. If he lost their help, the whole script would be thrown off and who knew what that would mean for Dalia? And would he ever be able to get home? As it was, he didn’t know for sure that finishing the story would bring him home. But he couldn’t risk it. He had to stick to the script.

“Alright, listen up people. We pulled off the heist without a hitch, but then we got chased by the police and I had to hide the gems in the National Museum.”

“So, we do some research and steal them from the museum, no big deal, why all the frowns?” Aron stared at him with a strange expression on his face that threw Benjy a little. That wasn’t in the script.

“It’s not so simple. We weren’t the only ones who had our eyes on those gems. You heard of the dragons? The old gang? The son of the current leader was after the jewels too. He promised his father he’d steal them but we got there first. He managed to get to us, but by then the police were all over the National Museum. They’ll never find them, but I couldn’t get the jewels when the police were all over the place. So he took Dalia and gave me a 48-hour deadline to bring him the jewels.”

“So we hafta steal back our jewels from under the nose of the police and give them away to save Dalia. And we got 48 hours to do it in,” Aron said.

Benjy silently waited for them to reach a decision. Will broke in first: “Cool.”

“Sounds like fun to me. I can’t resist a challenge,” added Suri. That left Aron – who should have responded first, according to the script. Something was wrong.

“Aron? Aron?”

To be continued…