No windows opened on to gas street, the alley had been built blind, excepting the one faded dark brown door. But the neighbours regularly heard the sound of children playing though the thin red bricks which created the rear skin of their abodes, they also heard the screams. The red bricks of the alley held a dark secret which no window dare look out upon. It smelt of urine and death, no one willingly ventured into its dark core, let alone knocked at number one gas street. Yet once a week Mr Bone called for the rent, each time on arriving at the door, first he would part his stained gabardine then urinate in the open sewer. Then he knocked hard on the door with the brass head of his walking stick, a solid lump of brass which he willingly used on difficult customers. Ida reluctantly opened the door, and he walked straight in, as usual she had no money to give him, but she knew how to satisfy him. Igorning the toddler playing with a heap of rags, she took him to her bed which itself was little more then a pile of old coats. When he left she always found a few coppers. But she knew if times got better he would expect the back rent.