Grace is running for her life. Faster than she’s ever run in her life, faster than that, even. The muscles in her thighs are about to tear apart, she’s sure of it. Her lungs have dozens of burning holes in them, stretching thin and wide over the great gulps of oxygen she’s pulling in: all she can hear is her own heavy breathing – getting unfit, too much fried plantain and rice – and the heavy stomp of the police behind her. “Oi!” one of them yells, and in an impulsive rush, Grace drops the baseball bat as she dodges a breeze block pillar and nips into an alley. She wastes more breath on a loud and vehement curse then spends the next five minutes weaving in and out of the back alleys and crooks of the estate to double back and retrieve it because she’s watched Crimewatch and she’s not a fucking idiot. The balaclava and carefully plain clothes will make identifying her difficult (young, Afro-Caribbean female, described as being between her teens and late twenties of athletic build with brown eyes – roughly 35% of the borough fits this description) but there is no denying a finger-print match.
Luckily, they haven’t yet called for back-up yet and they’re actually only community support officers which means they’re fairly unfit, which allows Grace to pull that last, heart stopping, life saving sprint out of thin air to leap over the abandoned Tesco crates nip between the B and C block of the ironically named Greenmount Estate and crash straight into Sandeep’s corner store. Sandeep’s wife greets her with a simple nod and Grace crashes back out through the back door seconds later in civilian clothes, having thrown the identifying garments and weapon into a knock-off handbag she ‘borrowed’ from Duane’s ‘mobile ladies fashion market stall’ which sells ‘reduced designer favourites’ like ‘Luis Witton’ bags and ‘Versachey’ totes. She’s asked Sandeep to arrange for all her CCTVs to fail simultaneously for the 40 seconds she’s in the shop, both in the front and back and from there, it doesn’t take a lot for her to (calmly, calmly, hands are clammy) stroll right into Hackney Wick Overground station and ride circles around three different tube lines before she’s certain she isn’t being followed by the police or otherwise. She finally gets off at Hackney Central, two stops from where she began and walks home slowly, streetlights flickering on as her heart rate finally slows down.
She lets herself into the house quietly, slowly, to find that they’ve all waited for her. Dinner’s been in the oven for a while. “I’ve been at work,” she says immediately, staving off any argument by handing over the seven crumpled, sweaty twenty pound notes she fishes out from under the soft wool of the balaclava.