My mum had spent the last couple of months at Ivy Reynolds’ place where she had been well taken care of. She had recovered from her injuries, but was still in a very fragile state of mind, knowing that my father could return to the house next door at any time. This made her constantly on edge. She jumped at every sound and still had trouble getting through a whole night without having a nightmare.
I took it upon myself to find her new accommodation, and did so with the help of Alfie. A small terraced house near his pub had recently become vacant, the tenant having died a few weeks before. The house was owned by Vinnie, and on his say so, Alfie had agreed to let my mother live there under the protection of the Reece mob as a special favour to me. Living there, right in the heart of Vinnie’s territory, there was no way that George Reilly could get at Mum – not without risking his own life anyway, so it was the perfect solution.
Whilst Joe and I were sorting things out at the new house, Mum and Ivy went around to the old one to gather all Rita’s knick knacks that she had accumulated over the years. Nothing of any value, just personal things that were special to her. Mum was very reluctant to go into the house, but with Ivy’s coaxing and the promise of a new home, she eventually set foot over the threshold.
Wishing to spend as little time there as possible, she and Ivy set about their work quickly – Ivy never leaving my mother’s side for a moment, just in case her courage failed her.
They had been in the house for about an hour and had filled four large cardboard boxes with Mum’s personal things, which they had stacked in the kitchen, when they heard the back door bang open. Then they heard the destructive sound of Mum’s boxes being thrown to the ground, the delicate items within smashing into tiny pieces as they landed on the hard tiles.
When she heard the noise Mum’s resolve crumbled. She began to shake violently and her whole body involuntarily shrivelled away from the sounds in the kitchen. She caught hold of the sofa to prevent herself from collapsing. Slowly, her face contorted in a silent scream and, induced by panic, a small trickle of urine ran down her legs and formed a puddle on the living room carpet. The tears that she had bravely held back all morning were now streaming down her hollow cheeks, her worst fears having become terrifying reality.
George Reilly had returned.
Read the final instalment tomorrow or download the complete novel here