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64

N ightingale didnt get a chance to talk to Jenny on her own until late at night, when everyone was heading for bed, except for Jennys father and Fairchild, who had gone out onto the terrace for a last cigar. She took him upstairs to show him his bedroom.

Why didnt you tell me about Fairchild? he asked her as they walked down a corridor that seemed to stretch to infinity.

She frowned. What do you mean?

He represented my sister in court. How could you not tell me?

I didnt know until this evening, said Jenny. You got whisked into dinner as soon as you arrived and I didnt want to say anything in front of anybody.

And you told him about the messages? About my sister going to Hell?

I didnt tell him about Alfie Tyler or Connie Miller, obviously.

Obviously.

Jack, whats wrong?

Nightingale fought the urge to snap at her. He took a deep breath and rubbed the back of his neck. I dont think you should have said anything.

He was her lawyer. He knows her. He might be able to help. Thats what I thought. It came up in conversation, before you arrived. I wanted to tell you but we went straight into dinner and then after dinner you went outside with him for a smoke.

I get that, but why would you tell him that people were telling me that she was going to Hell? Whys that of any concern to him?

He said that Robyn was disturbed a lot of the time. Unbalanced. He was asking about you, how you had reacted when you found out that she was your sister. She stopped in front of one of the doors. This is yours, she said. Its the green room. Very restful.

Yeah, I need restful, said Nightingale. You told him that Id been hearing voices, didnt you?

It wasnt like that, said Jenny. She put a hand on his shoulder. Jack, Im on your side, you know that. Marcus was chatting away and he got me talking. Thats what he does, right? Hes a barrister. He gets people to open up, to reveal themselves. She took her hand away and folded her arms. Im not explaining this very well, am I?

No, youre not, he said. That was personal, Jenny. And hes a stranger.

Hes an old friend of Daddys, she said. Ive known him for years. Hes not a stranger. Of course I wouldnt have said anything to a stranger. But hes Uncle Marcus. Ive called him uncle for as long as I can remember.

Did you tell him about the Ouija board?

Of course not.

You say of course not, but I dont understand why you said anything about my sister in the first place.

Why is that so important, Jack? Whats the problem?

Nightingale opened the bedroom door and motioned for Jenny to follow him inside. She was right it was restful, with pale green walls, a dark green carpet, and a large mahogany four-poster bed with fern-patterned linen. A fire was burning in a slate fireplace and there was a chocolate mint and a small posy of flowers on one of the pillows. Nightingale closed the door. Theres something I didnt tell you, he said. Something that Wainwright told me when I went to see him at Biggin Hill. About Fairchild. Nightingale wiped his face with his hand and it came away wet with sweat. Hes a Satanist. A devil-worshipper.

Nonsense.

Im not making this up, Jenny. Hes a member of the Order of Nine Angles. And they believe in human sacrifice.

Jack, why are you saying this? It cant possibly be true.

Thats what Wainwright told me.

Then hes lying.

Why would he lie about something like that?

People lie, Jack. You were a policeman so you know that people rarely tell the truth.

I asked Wainwright for the name of someone in the Order of Nine Angles because that was the group that Gosling belonged to. He gave me Fairchilds name.

Why didnt you tell me this before?

Why should I? I didnt know that he was a friend of your fathers. Or that hed acted for my sister. He took out his cigarettes. This is a mess. He put a cigarette between his lips.

Not in the house, Jack, said Jenny, putting a hand on his arm. Mummy will freak out.

How will she know? He pointed at the fireplace. Theres a fire in the room.

She can smell tobacco smoke a mile away, Jack. Please.

What if I open a window?

Jenny sighed. Okay, but make sure all the smoke goes out.

Nightingale went over to the window and opened it. In the distance were two tennis courts, one grass and the other with an orange synthetic surface. Both had a light dusting of frost.

Nightingale shivered and lit the cigarette. Whats Mummy got against smokers anyway? he asked. He took a long drag and then leaned out of the window and blew smoke.

She used to be one, said Jenny. She gave up about six years ago.

The zeal of the convert, said Nightingale. Theyre the worst.

Im sorry, said Jenny.

About Mummy?

Jenny forced a smile. About talking to Fairchild. I cant explain why I told him as much as I did.

Maybe he hypnotised you, said Nightingale, only half joking.

Maybe, said Jenny. He does have a way of looking right at you when he talks to you.

Who mentioned my sister first? asked Nightingale.

He did.

Are you sure?

Jenny nodded. I havent seen him for a couple of years and I was asking him about his cases. He mentioned hed represented a serial killer. Then he said it was Robyn Reynolds. Thats when I said that you were her brother.

Nightingale blew smoke through the window. This is just plain weird, he said.

As opposed to everything else thats happened over the past four weeks?

Somethings going on, Jenny. This cant be a coincidence. Wainwright gives me Fairchilds name. Then I come to your parents house and here he is, large as life and twice as whatever. Then it turns out he represented my sister the serial killer. He rubbed the bridge of his nose. This is giving me a headache.

It could just be that, a coincidence. Nightingale could hear the uncertainty in her voice.

Which bit? Fairchild being on my sisters legal team? Or him being a Satanist like my dear-departed father? He took a long pull on his cigarette, then blew smoke out through the open window. I dont get whats happening here. I really dont.

Ive known him for years, Jack. Hes not a bad person.

Not according to Joshua Wainwright. He says that Fairchild belongs to the Order of Nine Angles. Have you any idea what they do? Jenny shook her head. They kill people, he said quietly. Now do you see? How can that be a coincidence? Marcus Fairchild is in a cult that kills people and he helps my sister plead guilty to the murder of five children. Nightingale stubbed out his cigarette on the window ledge, then closed the window. Whys he here, Jenny?

Hes one of Daddys oldest friends.

Nightingale took the cigarette butt through to the en-suite bathroom and flushed it away. He shrugged. I dont know what to think, he said. He looked at his watch. It was just after midnight. Lets talk about it tomorrow. Cold light of day and all that.

You know were all going shooting after breakfast? Shooting on Christmas Day is a family tradition.

So I gathered.

Itll be fun.

I hope so, said Nightingale.


| Midnight | c