Harry Entwhistle wrapped two wedding rings in a handkerchief and tucked it down the side of the suitcase. The suitcase was genuine leather, from the 1930s, and in very good condition. It would be worth a bit of money too, if he could sell it. But then, what would he carry his things in?
He zipped up the suitcase and closed the lock. He slipped the key into the inside pocket of his jacket, turned around and sighed. He looked at himself in the Edwardian mirror opposite, the intricate carvings on the wood frame interesting him far more than the pockmarked, puffy face that was reflected back at him. He smoothed down his comb over and busied himself in the Georgian dresser, his fat fingers fumbling for boxes of jewellery.
He picked a few out and set them on the coffee table (believed to be Victorian), before lowering himself into the old, creaky sofa. He realised he hadn't picked up the keys and looked at where they sat on the lowest shelf of the dresser. He huffed and puffed, his portly frame not used to moving around the house so quickly.
He picked up a 1940s letter opener from the coffee table and prised the first box open. It opened with a pop and earrings scattered across the table and floor. Harry cursed and scooped up what he could. He'd take them with him.
The next box (which resisted the break in so strongly it bent the letter opener) contained two watches, both fake Rolexes. Harry examined them closely. They were good copies, very good. He could sell them on to gullible tourists.
A noise outside startled him, and he dropped the watch he was holding onto the table. He eased himself out of the chair and moved to the window, peering through the net curtain. The paperboy had thrown the morning paper into the garden and it had landed in the begonias. Nothing to worry about.
Harry waddled to the kitchen, his shirt and waistcoat suddenly feeling very tight, and out the front door to pick up the newspaper.
"Morning Harry," said a cheery voice Harry knew to be his neighbour opposite. He looked up and, sure enough, Rosie was smiling and waving across at him.
"Good morning," he replied, but actually thinking, "Leave me alone, you silly woman." He turned as quickly as he could and returned to the house. He looked at the Victorian clock on the mantelpiece and flinched at the time. He dropped the newspaper onto the armchair and scooped up all the jewellery boxes on the table. Holding them in one hand, the unlocked the suitcase again and stacked the boxes along the front. He'd have to look through them later, there wasn't time now. He locked it up again and then went to the bedroom.
The bedroom was at the back of the bungalow and was a dark room due to the high hedges outside. Despite the unseasonably sunny weather outside, it was still dark in here. Harry bustled to the bed where his wife lay, the covers pulled up to her chin. She was motionless.
Harry watched her for a few minutes and then wordlessly picked up her empty coffee mug from the bedside table, took it over to the sink in the corner of the room and washed it, inside and out, thoroughly. He then dried it on a towel and took it to the kitchen, deliberately putting it at the back of the cupboard.
He returned to the bedroom once more and watched his wife for a few minutes. Lost in his thoughts, he nearly forgot to pick up the five first edition copies of Agatha Christie books he had on the bookshelf. He dropped them into a Tesco carrier bag, tied the top and then finally stood before his suitcase again. He looked around the living room, an impressive room worth hundreds of thousands of pounds, everything had history, from the Roman coinage that sat on the TV table to bring good luck, right up to the Stubbs painting that hung over the dining table.
Harry picked up the suitcase and carrier bag of books, whispered a final goodbye to his house, his wife and everything he knew. He waddled through the kitchen, then returned to the living room to pick up the newspaper. He stepped out the front door and locked it.
Harry Entwhistle, antiques dealer, left his house for the final time and walked briskly to the bus stop.