Cunningham said, ‘Bit of overtime?’ as he signed me in. ‘That one’s beyond fixin’.’

It showed how much he knew. Sure, Dereck’s assault rap was nasty, but during our sessions I’d learned about the beatings his mum had given him. I related to that. All my dad had done was leave. That had been enough. Turned his back like he was dumping kittens.

‘Why are you doing this?’ Dereck asked.

‘For us,’ I said. ‘For you. This is no fit place.’

‘You said it.’

I watched the guards. Lazy fools. It wasn’t hard to pass him the disk. ‘Everything we’ll need,’ I said, ‘to be togeth——‘

‘Sure Darl’ He felt my knee with manacled hands.

‘At the house.’


That’s where I’d reclaim what Dad had taken. We’d be together and everything risked—career, reputation—everything idiots like Cunningham thought was important, would prove what trust could overcome.

I waited in the twilight . Heard the car pull up. The door open. Then…

‘Doctor Smith. Come out slowly. Keep your hands on your head.’

Dereck was already in the van. They’d picked him up at some mate’s place a hundred miles down the coast.