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39

R obyn sat back, her hands on the table. You are shitting me, she said. Youre trying to run some sort of con on me. She looked over at the guard, who was still leaning against the drinks vending machine, out of earshot. I cant believe they let you in here.

Its Gods truth, said Nightingale, leaning towards her. Though I guess thats not exactly appropriate under the circumstances.

Have you got any money on you? Any coins?

Sure.

She gestured at the vending machines. Get me a coffee. Black. No sugar.

Thats how I take mine, said Nightingale.

Thats how half the population drink it, she said scornfully. It doesnt mean were joined at the hip.

She glared at him as he got up from the table. He slotted a pound coin into the machine and pressed the button for black coffee. He asked the guard if she wanted one but she shook her head.

I wouldnt say no to a Kit-Kat, though.

Who would? asked Nightingale. He gave her the Kit-Kat and then got a second coffee. Robyn was still glaring at him when he carried them back to the table.

Youre running some sort of long con, she said as he sat down. Youre setting me up for something.

Robyn, youre serving five life sentences and everything you own would fit in a supermarket carrier bag. Why would I be conning you?

She leaned forward and stared at him. My biological father was a Satanist and he left you a huge mansion in Surrey?

Thats the gist of it, yes.

Why didnt he leave me anything? I mean, a big house wouldnt be much use to me in here but I could do with a few quid.

He didnt know where you were or who your adoptive parents were, said Nightingale. He tried to find you but couldnt. I only tracked you down because I had access to the national DNA database.

And he worshipped the devil? She sneered and shook her head. Maybe thats where the crazy gene came from. She sipped her coffee and grimaced. You know one of the things I miss most about being in here?

Nightingale raised his plastic cup. Decent coffee?

She grinned. Bloody right. Its horrible, isnt it?

Ive had better, agreed Nightingale. A lot better.

Robyn put her chin in her hands. Why are you really here, Jack? Is there something else you want to tell me?

Nightingale blew smoke up at the ceiling as he wondered how much he should tell her. She seemed rational enough but he wasnt sure if that was an act or not. He shrugged. I thought we should meet. Thats all.

Are you worried that you might be crazy?

Why do you say that?

Because Im in an asylum. And if youre right and we share the same DNA then maybe youre crazy, too. Because this whole Satanism devil-worship thing does suggest that you might have the odd screw loose.

I hadnt thought of it that way.

Liar, she said. I can see it in your eyes that youre lying. How do I know the whole things not a lie? How do I know this isnt some stupid therapy that Keller wants to try on me?

Like I said, I dont gain anything by lying to you. Have you got a few million quid tucked away that no one knows about?

I wish.

So try to trust me on this. Were siblings. Same father, different mothers.

She rubbed her face. Do you know who our mothers are? Our birth mothers?

I met mine, said Nightingale. I dont know who yours was.

How did you find her?

Through Goslings records. I traced her to a nursing home.

Can you do the same and track down my mother? My birth mother?

Ill try, said Nightingale. He sipped his coffee. It was bitter and tasted of chemicals. Can I ask you something, Robyn?

She shrugged. I guess, she said. Seeing as how youre my long-lost brother.

He looked at her with slightly narrowed eyes. What they said you did to those kids. Did you do it?

Im in here, arent I?

There are plenty of innocent people in prison. Thats why they have appeals.

What do you want me to say? That its all a terrible misunderstanding? That Im innocent and theres been a miscarriage of justice?

Something like that, yeah.

She grinned, jutting her chin up and wrinkling her nose. Sorry to disappoint you, she said. But yeah, I did it. Killed them, all five of them. She paused. Allegedly.


| Midnight | c