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the night of the Green Dragon one a bad

dream somewhere a telephone was ringing

Howard could hear it in his dream but it

didn't wake him up it was dark in his

dream dark and terrible he was running

but it was like running through deep

water there were trees all around him

trees which tried to stop him they

reached out with their branches and it

was behind him it was coming nearer he

wanted to shout for help he was opening

his mouth wide but there was no sound he

could hear the noise it was making

behind him the heavy feet the heavy

breathing he was terrified he looked

behind he could see it he could see the

burning eyes the yellow teeth oh no it

was coming nearer a few more steps and

then the telephone was still ringing

don't answer it

Howard shouted

suddenly he was awake

his body was hot and wet the bedclothes

were nearly off the bed he was awake and

safe it was only a dream he tried to

pull the bedclothes back onto the bed

but something was wrong his arm felt

strange he lifted his head and looked

beside his bed there was a metal pole

there was a tube coming from it his arm

was tied to it he let his head fall back

on the bed then he knew what it was he

was in hospital but why he was probably

a patient he was ill or hurt maybe he

had been in an accident he tried to

think but he couldn't remember this

happened sometimes after accident people

said you forgot what had happened just

before that Howard felt cold around his

heart he couldn't remember anything not

the accident but was it an accident

not the hospital not his home or family

did he have a family he couldn't even

remember his name

who was he he didn't know

he lifted his head again and looked to

the right he was in a hospital ward a

long room full of beds and other

patients men who were sleeping or

reading at one end he could see a nurse

she was speaking into a telephone was

that the telephone he had heard

he looked to the left and he became

still with fear a man was sitting on a

chair just by his bed there was

something in his hand a magazine or a

book his head had fallen forward and he

was asleep who was he

what was he doing here beside Howard's

bed was he a god

seemed to feel Howard's eyes on him

because he lifted his head stood up and

looked down at Howard so you're awake

mr. Blake he said and his voice was ugly

have you had a good sleep how's your

head is it still hurting who are you

said Howard his voice was very quiet

what am I doing here

you've had a little accident

the man said there's someone here who

wants to speak to you Howard closed his


yes his head did hurt but it hurt inside

more than outside why couldn't he

remember what was happening he didn't

understand when he opened his eyes two

people were standing by his bed his

guard and another older person it was a

woman with brown hair and cold gray eyes

wearing a dark blue suit they were both

looking serious almost angry but why

were they angry were they angry with him

they closed the curtains around his bed

and came inside

inspector wants to speak to you mr.

Blake said the guard the inspector then

these two were police officers had he

been in a road accident no Howard knew

this wasn't right

police inspectors didn't worry about

road accidents they were too important

then it was a crime perhaps perhaps he

had been attacked by a thief now mr.


the inspector began her voice was

pleasant but it sounded cold why'd you

call me Blake said Howard he had

suddenly felt this was wrong

my name isn't Blake it's it's come on

mr. Blake the inspector said angrily we

know all about you why don't you just

answer our questions you'll have to in

the end

Howard was feeling more and more worried

he wanted to answer their questions but

he could remember nothing what do you

want to know he said weakly what time

did you arrive at the house in Primrose

Avenue the inspector said her voice was

now hard and quick how did you climb to

the window what weapon did you use to

hit the old lady what were you going to

do with the green dragon stop stop cried

Howard he felt sick he couldn't breathe

he could only hear those last words the

green dragon the green dragon Howard

groaned the green dragon those eyes

those burning red eyes and then he

remembered more red eyes red blood a

pool of blood on a Chinese rug but he

was the one who was hurt he was the one

who'd been attacked violently the

detectives of course they were

detectives began to ask their questions

again they were hard questions

they were impossible to answer I can't I


said Howard it's no use

can't remember he felt like a little boy

he wanted to cry you climbed into the

old lady's house in the dark she heard

you and went to look you hit her when

she got to the stairs the guard said and

then the nurse was standing beside them

that's enough

she said angrily he's too ill to answer

any more questions you'll have to leave

she did something to Howard's arm he

felt himself sinking into sleep the

Green Dragon the telephone the pool of

blood the old lady what had happened he

didn't know but he was certain about one

thing my name's not Blake he said loudly

and clearly then he slept

to escape



Howard was still afraid when he woke up

it was night and the long Ward was

silent yes he was still afraid but he

was stronger much stronger something was

going round and round in his head it was

something the detective had said just

before the nurse came

he looked around the room everyone was

sleeping he could see the moonlight on

their beds moonlight that was it the

guard had said in the dark but he was

wrong it wasn't dark it was moonlight

bright moonlight Howard sat up in his

bed he suddenly felt excited was he

remembering at last but his thoughts

were gone before he could catch them he

wanted to shout with anger but he had

seen something his arm was free

the poled and tube had gone and the

curtains were open then he noticed

something else the guard was not there

tried to control his thoughts what did

he know so far an old lady had been

killed an old lady who lived in Primrose

Avenue and the police thought he had

killed her that name

Primrose Avenue he'd heard it before was

the answer there could he find the

address if he was free free he had to

get free he had to escape from the

hospital he had to discover what had

really happened because he was certain

he had not killed anyone

he hadn't he hadn't done that terrible

thing then he lay back on the bed he was

feeling weak how could he escape they

had taken away all his clothes

suddenly Howard heard voices outside the


he shut his eyes quickly and lay very

still he could hear the voices of his

guard and the nurses the big doors

opened and they came in quickly they

were pushing his stretcher a man was

lying on it he was groaning it was just

outside the hospital the nurse was

saying he walked in front of a bus they

put the new patient on the bed next to

Howard's doctors and nurses were all

around him

then one of the doctors said we'll have

to operate and the man was taken away

again on his stretcher our gun found his

wife said the guard and left the ward

then it was quiet again

didn't move for a very long time then

slowly he opened his eyes the ward was

quiet the other patients were sleeping

again he lifted his head and looked at

the next bed the man's clothes were

still on the chair by his bed they'd

forgotten to take them away he wanted to

laugh Howard got out of bed and stood up

carefully for a moment he thought he was

going to fall he shook his head then he

felt all right he smiled to himself he

felt strong he could do it now he knew

he could do it he could escape he

dressed in the bathroom the man's

clothes were a little too small but he

could get them on he looked at himself

in the mirror now for the difficult part

three inside the old house but he was

lucky he saw nobody and nobody saw him

he walked quickly out of the ward and

out of the hospital outside he saw that

one of the nurses had left her bicycle

against the wall

Howard stared at it he had a strange

feeling that he'd done all this before

somehow a bicycle was important but why

he couldn't remember but he knew he

could ride a bicycle he shook himself

got on the bicycle and rode away quickly

somehow he knew the way it was like

having a map in his head

there was Primrose Avenue and there yes

there was the big old house it was

hidden behind trees Howard started to

walk up the drive it was like the dream

he knew the way exactly he was certain

the answers were here the answers to all

of his questions suddenly he jumped into

the shadow of the trees and stood very

still under the branches he could hear

voices he looked out slowly and saw a

van a white van it was parked outside

the house

two people were standing by it they were

talking they were wearing dark uniforms

then he saw who they were the police of

course a woman had been murdered in this

house and the police were guarding it he

had to be more careful he had to go

round to the back of the house nobody

would be able to see him there he crept

through the trees silently he stayed in

the shadows again

he knew the way here was the back of the

house and here was the drainpipe beside

the balcony he climbed up easily and

opened the window somehow he knew it

wasn't locked

and stood in the dark he was breathing

deeply but he wasn't afraid the house

felt warm and friendly he felt his way

across the upstairs hall with his hands

and he started down the stairs step by

step slowly and carefully suddenly he

felt afraid very afraid but why the

house didn't feel friendly anymore

something was waiting for him downstairs

something evil and cruel and Howard

cried out he was terrified someone was

lying on the floor below he could see a

white shape with the arms out at the

sides then the moon appeared from behind

a cloud and shone through the window

Howard's legs felt weak the body he had

seen on the floor had seemed real was he

remembering something or was he just

dreaming it

see clearly now it wasn't a body on the

rug below it was only some white marks

the police had made white marks on the

floor they had wanted to show the place

the place where the body had been there

was nothing to be afraid of

remembered something else he looked

again nearer and nearer

then he turned away he was feeling sick

of the head the rug was dark dark with


how it almost fell down the last steps

he ran across the hall he crashed into

tables chairs and a large heavy wooden

box the moonlight shone on its top it

was covered with Chinese dragons he

turned away he couldn't breathe he had

to get outside he had to get into the

cold night air suddenly he stopped

voices he heard the sound of a key in

the lock he looked around wildly he had

to hide but where where the Chinese box

no not there

not with those dragons but he had to

there was nowhere else he climbed in the

voices came nearer and stopped just by

the box it was the two police officers

Howard had seen outside in the box he

tried to breathe quietly the voices were

clear a

have a look around one was saying you

haven't been here before have you what

happened exactly the other said the old

lady was murdered and I would thought

about the police officer was he pointing

to the shape at the bottom of the stairs

pointing to the dry blood

but now he was speaking again we've got

the man that did it you know that don't

you he wanted to steal that tragen we

think the old lady heard something maybe

she was watching television she came to

the bottom of the stairs he was coming

down silently and when he saw her crash

he hit her we don't know what he hit her


he just hit wildly in the dark and ran

back upstairs and got out through the

window at this time he made a mistake he

slipped and fell in the box

Howard was listening very carefully to

every word was he hearing the true story

now he thought carefully why couldn't he

remember in the dark a police officer

had said no that was wrong it wasn't

dark but how did he know this why was it

important a cleaner found him the next

morning he was unconscious under the

balcony he was sleeping like a baby

but he'd hurt his head the dragon was on

the ground beside him their voices were

getting weaker they were going away

Howard waited 15 minutes 20 minutes and

then he opened the top of the box a

little everything was still outside

still and dark the moon was hidden again

he climbed out he tried to be very quiet

the room was very dark and he couldn't

see anything he held his hands in front

of him and moved one foot slowly than

the other if he could switch on the

light just for a minute he would be able

to see the shape of the room and the

doors his hands touched something hard

the wall good if he followed the wall he

would find the door yes here it was and

here was the handle Howard suddenly felt

light and happy in a second he was going

to be in the fresh air and he was going

to be free from the heavy walls of this

house they seemed like a prison to him

now he had to go to the police he had to

tell them they were wrong terribly wrong

about him he opened the door and stepped

quickly through the doorway


oh the green dragon


when Howard became conscious again he

was lying on a hard and dirty floor and

every bone in his body ached he tried to

move but the pain was too much what had

happened this place was darker than

upstairs upstairs then he remembered he

had opened a door and suddenly he was

falling crashing from step to step until

he reached the bottom and blackness

just like the last time I would thought

then he sat up the last time yes now he

remembered he had been to this house

before he had seen the old lady she was

lying on the floor in a pool of blood

but did he kill her it had been about 6

o'clock when Freddie came how it was

just finishing his tea he groaned when

he saw freddie freddie was his

brother-in-law and he had been married

to howard's sister helen for nine years

but howard didn't like him he'd never

liked him he'd always been suspicious of


he thought that Freddie wasn't really

honest he didn't know why he thought

that that he did it was just something

about Freddie he didn't seem to have a

job but he always had a big car and

expensive clothes Helen and the two

children seemed to have everything they


but Howard got up when Freddie came into

the room Freddie was white and nervous

he went quickly to the window and looked

out did he think someone else was coming

you've got to help me Howard he said I'm

in trouble

bad trouble Howard put down his teacup

but what can I do

he said carefully you had to be careful

with Freddie Freddie's hands were

shaking when he lit his cigarette

I need money a lot of money Howard

started to speak but Freddie continued

quickly I know I know you haven't got

any money but you can help me he was

looking at Howard nervously how said

Howard angrily if this is one of your

wild plans the answer is no I'm not

going to help you in any crime certainly

a little thing Freddie said he put out

his cigarette one phone call that's all

there are some men he looked nervously

out of the window again what men said

Howard criminals you mean it's better if

you don't know Freddie said quickly

they're not gentlemen the word sounded

strange when Freddie said it when

they're angry they're dangerous very

dangerous if they're going to suddenly

Freddie covered his face with his hands

Howard saw that he was shaking and

jumped to his feet he put his hand on

Freddie's arm maybe he didn't like

Freddie but he was his brother-in-law

Freddie looked up he was terrified

you've got to save

he said his voice was shaking you're the

only friend I've got if they don't get

their money soon they'll he'll kill me

for a few minutes he could not continue

he was too frightened if I'm killed what

will happen to Helen and the children he

whispered he knew just how to hurt

Howard no husband no father soon

there'll be no house no money they'll be

out on the street

his voice was getting louder and louder

alright alright said Howard he's trying

to stay calm

what do you want me to do

Freddie's plan was easy and it didn't

seem dangerous for Howard there's an old

lady he began

her name was Miss Blake and

lived in a big old house on the north

side of the town the house was hidden

behind tall trees she had lived in the

Far East for many years and when she

came back she was a rich woman her house

was full of valuable things most of them

were too heavy to move but then there

was the Green Dragon for Hagen Howard

said he laughed what dragon it was made

of green jade and gold Freddy had told

him with red jewel eyes and diamonds on

its tail it stood in a special place in

her bedroom and it was lit by bright

lights he knew all about it because he'd

been talking to her cleaner of the pub

it's worth thousands of pounds Freddy

said he was excited now he was enjoying

this maybe hundreds of thousands and

it's light enough to carry and small

enough to hide he wanted how to do one

thing just one thing you phone the old

lady Freddy explained you tell her that

a packet has arrived at your address

Primrose Road but this isn't print

Howard began I know I know you just say

it's Primrose Road Freddy said quickly

her address is Primrose Avenue it's

nearly the same isn't it you say your

name is Blake the same as hers you say

that the stamp on the packet says

Singapore and inside it there's some

specialty you think there's been a


you find her name in the phone book and

decide the packet has come to the wrong

address he looked at Howard do you


he asked yes

yes go on said Howard he wanted to hear

the end well it's easy

Freddy continued you'd tell her you

would like to bring the packet round to

her house but you can't walk you're in a

wheelchair and you're just going away on

three weeks holiday in fact your

daughter is coming soon to take you to

the airport but then you ask miss Blake

would she like to wait three weeks or

would she like to call round at your

house immediately and get the packet

herself but maybe she'll wait three

weeks Howard said he didn't like the

sound of Freddy's plan but he was

interested now she won't said Freddy she

will want her package she'll leave the

house immediately

because she'll want to catch you before

you go and I'll be outside her house as

soon as she leaves I'll get into the


I'll get the green dragon and I'll get

out it'll be easy it'll be like taking

sweets from a baby

Howard felt unhappy but what could he do

I'll bring the dragon back to you Freddy

was saying no you can hide it here here

Howard cried he was frightened why here

what's wrong with your house the

children Freddy said he looked away from

Howard's eyes they may find it also I

want to hide it from those men they

won't look here

Freddie's plan worked perfectly Howard

was terrified when he heard the old

lady's voice on the phone he had hoped

she would not answer but she did one

hour later the green dragon was on his

dining table it was staring at him with

those hot red eyes he hated it from the

moment he saw it Howard had sat and

studied the dragon for hours he was

drinking coffee black coffee and smoking

cigarette after cigarette at dinner time

he couldn't eat when he thought about

food he felt sick strange things were

happening to his head once with a

shaking hand he had touched the dragon

again but he pulled his hand away

quickly it had seemed red-hot I'm going


he thought I will go crazy if I have to

keep that thing much longer

yet another cigarette nervously had

someone seen Freddie someone who knew

him had those men those dangerous

criminals been following Freddie had

they seen him at Howard's house the

police had probably interviewed

everybody who had worked for Miss Blake

and the cleaner told them that she had

talked to Freddie the questions went

round and round in his head I was stupid

he told himself why didn't I throw

Freddie and his crazy ideas out of the


suddenly he jumped to his feet this had

to stop

only one answer he had to take the

dragon back


by a body in the moonlight


Howard lay alone in the cellar below the

house he felt tired but he felt better

because he could remember the true story

it was like living through the story

again the fears the terrible moments

like the moment when the police stopped

him yes he thought I remember very late

that night he had taken the dragon back

to miss Blake's house he had put it into

his bicycle bag and had started to ride

through the silent streets in the

moonlight moonlight that was unlucky it

had been dark earlier well he couldn't

do anything about that

he had turned into primrose avenue and

there was a police car the two officers

in the car were immediately suspicious

of this lonely cyclist in the early

hours of the morning they stopped him

and asked what he was doing

I'm going to my mother's said Howard he

was shaking inside they phoned me and

said she was ill the police officer

wanted to help leave your bicycle she

said we'll drive you there no no said

Howard he was feeling hot and


she's my mother's house is just here

around the corner but thank you thank

you very much he got on his bicycle and

rode away he heard the police cars

engine he didn't look back the sound of

the police car moved away

Howard breathe normally again

a few minutes later he found miss

Blake's house it looked strange and

frightening in the moonlight it seemed

to be waiting for him was it a trap

moment Howard wanted to turn back but he

told himself not to be silly it was late

the old lady was asleep he didn't need

to be afraid Freddie had told him that

he had dressed like a window cleaner and

had climbed up his ladder to a balcony

the balcony led to the upstairs Hall he

had planned to break a window but he

found the window was open now Howard saw

the same window

he had no ladder but there was a

drainpipe he could climb it soon he was

inside and he was standing at the top of

the stairs in the moonlight he was

looking down he mustn't wake miss Blake

he must leave the dragon somewhere

perhaps on the table in the hall he

could see it below him then his heart

froze in his body


there was someone lying at the bottom of

the stairs a body a real body and the

moonlight was shining on the pool of

blood and then he had run back to the

open window to the drainpipe the dragon

was still in his hand he started to

throw it away with a wild cry he slipped

the air was rushing past the dragon was

falling with him its eyes were staring

its mouth was open and its teeth were

shining was it screaming like him six

guilty or not guilty


it wasn't a dream

Howard told himself now in the cellar it

really had happened he had seen miss

Blake's body but he hadn't killed her

she was already dead when he first saw

her he thought about the dragon again he

could almost see those red eyes shining

in the dark then Howard went cold inside

there were eyes shining in the dark here

in this cellar they were watching him

dragon's eyes no rats he was terrified

of rats

he felt around with his hands and found

some pieces of wood he threw them at the

shining eyes and shouted as loudly as he

could suddenly a voice came from above

who's that what's happening down there

it was a police officer

help me Howard said weakly please help



later the inspector was sitting beside

his bed

she looked serious but happier Howard

was in hospital again and he was clean

and warm and comfortable he was glad

that it was all finished

they knew who he really was Howard

Thompson they weren't calling him Blake


Howard told them everything well nearly

everything he couldn't say anything

about Freddy he was thinking of his

sister Helen the children he didn't want

to hurt them

yes I stole the green dragon Howard told

the inspector I tricked the old lady

with my story about a packet of tea and

she left the house oh yes said the

inspector and stared at him we found a

note miss Blake left it by the telephone

it said mr. Blake

Primrose Road your story isn't quite

true is it

you tracked the old lady yes but she let

you into the house that evening she

didn't leave the house and when she

tried to stop you from taking the dragon

you know no that's not true it was

afternoon not evening Howard had to stay

calm he had to say he was the thief not

Freddy he spoke slowly carefully she

left the house in the middle of the

afternoon I went in and stole the dragon

that's what happened inspector I didn't

kill her I couldn't kill anyone she was

already dead when I saw her for the

first time already dead the inspector

said quickly yes I I would saw that he'd

made a mistake he had to explain

back that night he said you went back

the inspector didn't believe why did you

do that

the dragon inspector the word sounded

weak and stupid I was afraid of it I

don't know why but it terrified me oh

yes said the inspector again and looked

hard at Howard with her cold gray eyes

she was silent for a long time

tried to think of something what could

he say he had to show the inspector that

he was not guilty of murder but he could

not find the right words

I suppose it's just possible the

inspector said perhaps the old lady went

upstairs that evening and found the

dragon was missing then perhaps she

rushed to the telephone for help and

fell down the stairs and hit her head on

the hall table at the bottom yes yes

said Howard that's it she was killed by

her fool don't you see inspector I

didn't kill her the inspector was still

looking at him suspiciously Howard

thought hard somewhere there was an

answer but you were there the inspector

was saying you say you went back to the

house that evening you were in the right

place at the right time

weren't you time Howard sat up and

smiled what time inspector he said he

was excited now

what time did miss Blake die

about eight o'clock in evening said the

inspector when it was dark said Howard

when it was still dark before the moon

had risen but I was seen near her house

in the moonlight at two o'clock in the

morning if I was a murderer I wouldn't

go back there would I inspector who saw

you said the inspector still suspicious

friends of yours I don't think I'm going

to believe any friends of you'll believe

these people inspector said Howard

quickly two police officers in a police

car saw me in Primrose Avenue right

place right time inspector Howard felt

pleased with himself he lay back on the

hospital bed and smiled but the

inspector hadn't finished I've got

something here I want you to see it

she said she opened a box beside her

chair and lifted something out Howard's

face went white the inspector was

holding the green dragon in her hands it

doesn't look very important does it

she said the inspector was right

Howard stared at the dragon it didn't

look important in the daylight it looked

cheap and ugly it's not real you know

the inspector was saying what what do

you mean said Howard he felt cold inside

the old lady sold the real one years ago

she wasn't as rich as people said she

needed the money but the green dragon

had some special magic for her and she

had this copy made you mean yes it's not

jade and jewels it's just plastic and

bits of glass you'll be able to sell it

for twenty pounds twenty-five pounds if

you were lucky

she smiled it was a very cold smile

Howard thought it's not much money not

for five years in prison

the inspector added five years Howard

said his voice sounded weak and

frightened five years in prison and

Freddy was going to be free well for

then said the inspector

she smiled her terrible smile again if

you're lucky


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