Dirty Money by Andrew Pye, Prince Henry’s High School, Evesham

Clasped tightly in his hand was a silver watch, as he darted down London’s maze-like back alleys. They couldn’t still be after him. Surely, he’d lost them by now? Henry arrived in glamorous Oxford Street. He was almost there. Left, right, right again Ducking around corner after corner. His heart sank as he heard the rising volume of quick footsteps, trailing behind. He continued running; the foosteps were gaining. There was waft of air and the faint touch of a single finger, making contact with his trailing coat, but it wasn’t enough and he slid under a rotten fence into another alley. Finally, he was safe.

Strolling past Marylebone, looking for a customer, Henry removed the watch from his pocket. Morning turned to evening, evening to night. Nobody made an offer for the stolen watch until a boy, probably a year or two older than, walked over to him. The soft clink of a copper penny hitting the floor echoed through the empty street. The watch was sold. Henry took refuge in a pile of rubbish he’d spotted on his way there. His thoughts settled on what he’d have for breakfast as his consciousness slipped into the black abyss of sleep.

He awoke restrained. Cold metal gripped his tiny wrists. He was hauled onto his feet, barely aware of what was happening. He had overslept. The police were out and they had found him. The policeman took him over the Thames Bridge on the way to the station. Henry kept wriggling until his captor lost his grip. He was free again!

He made a break for it, but tripped on a passer-by’s foot. Then he was tumbling over the bridge’s wall, into the inky black water. His restraints were still intact. He sank to the river floor.

From his pocket, a single copper coin floated away with the current.