My back aches. I cannot blink. One second will give them the advantage. Moisture slips between my hand and the baseball bat. I grip it tighter.
‘I told my friend I’d be back inside in two minutes,’ I say to the shadow hovering by the shed ‘If I’m not back by then, he’ll have called the police. Just go. Please. I don’t want any trouble.’
They deliberate. I grip the bat with both hands and step forward. I don’t look like much, but they turn and run for the open gate.
I wait a moment to be certain, but they’re gone. I check the lock on the gate, before dragging my heavy wheely bin behind it to block it. The locks completely broken. I’ll have to fix that tomorrow. I look at the old tin shed, unfazed by the night’s events. My secret is still safe.
Back inside, I lock the door and admire the silence of being alone once more. The motion light for the garden turns off. I prop the bat by the door, and suddenly smell the burnt baked beans I’d left on the stove.
‘Bollocks,’ I say softly, now think of murder.