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73

T hats impossible, said Jenny, pressing the stop button. Theres been a mistake. Some sort of horrible mistake. She picked up her glass of white wine and drained it. They were sitting around the table in her kitchen. Marcus couldnt She reached for the bottle of Pinot Grigio and refilled her glass.

Steady, said Nightingale.

Steady? hissed Jenny. This from the man who reaches for a bottle whenever hes under any pressure? She gulped down more wine as Nightingale raised his hands in surrender.

Jenny, as I said to Jack, there is a possibility that this is some sort of false memory.

Bloody right it is, said Jenny.

But I have to say, based on my clinical experience, shes relating events that she believes actually happened.

Barbara, what are you saying? You know Marcus. Do you really believe She closed her eyes and grunted in frustration.

Barbara reached over and put her hand on Jennys. Its Robyn describing what she believes happened to her. Dont get angry at me.

Im not, said Jenny. Im not angry. Im just frustrated because Marcus Fairchild couldnt possibly have done something like that. Ive known him since I was a kid. Hes known Daddy for donkeys years. Now youre saying that he killed a boy in some sort of ritual ceremony and then framed Jacks sister.

You dont always know a person as much as you think, said Nightingale. Most serial killers have parents, or siblings, spouses or children. And usually the family has absolutely no idea what theyve been up to.

Hes not a killer, said Jenny. He wouldnt kill anyone, let alone a child.

Im not saying he is. Im just saying that if he was, hed hardly be likely to let you know his true nature.

Thats the same thing, said Jenny. You think that he murdered that boy and framed your sister. And what about the other children she murdered? Are you saying he killed them, too?

Nightingale pointed at the recorder. Its not me saying anything, he said. Its Robyn who was there. She saw it.

She thinks she saw it, corrected Barbara. Shes telling us what she remembers, but she might be misremembering. Weve a lot of work to do before we know for sure one way or another.

How do you know that your sisters not making this up? asked Jenny. Maybe she sees this as a way of getting out.

Thats not going to happen anytime soon, said Barbara. Memories released by hypnotic regression arent evidence.

But the evidence that there is could all have been planted on her, said Nightingale. And if what shes now remembering is true then clearly Fairchild framed her.

You cant take this seriously, said Jenny, exasperated. Shes in an insane asylum, for Gods sake.

Secure mental hospital, said Barbara.

Yeah, a rose by any other name, said Jenny. Ramptons a nut-house and shes a nut. Courts dont convict serial killers by mistake.

They didnt convict her, Jenny, said Nightingale. She pleaded guilty. And the thing is, I think she believes she did it. Shes not in there shouting that shes innocent, is she?

Jenny didnt answer and folded her arms defensively.

Nightingale looked across at Barbara. What she said while she was under, does she remember it now? Now that shes awake?

She was never asleep, said Barbara. She wasnt in a trance; she was just in a very relaxed state. It was being so relaxed that allowed the memory to come to the surface. But after the session, the memory will go back to where it was. After several sessions she might start to remember properly, but at the moment its more like a dream than a memory.

So she still thinks she killed those children?

I didnt ask her, said Barbara.

This is ridiculous, said Jenny. Why would anyone admit to murders they didnt commit?

Maybe she was hypnotised into believing she did it, said Nightingale.

By Marcus, is that what youre saying? First hes a killer and now hes a magician.

Jenny, I know you dont want to believe this, but you cant ignore it just because Fairchild is a family friend.

Ive known Marcus for years; you met your sister for the first time two weeks ago. Why should I believe her over him?

You heard her. Do you think shes making it up?

Jenny put her hands around her wine glass. I think shes in a mental hospital for a reason, she said. I dont see how you can believe anything that she says.

Nightingale stood up. I need some fresh air, he said.

Whenever you say that the first thing you do is light a cigarette, said Jenny.

I meant that maybe you need some fresh air, he said. Ill get out of your hair. He patted her on the shoulder. You sleep on it. Well talk it through tomorrow. He smiled at Barbara. Take care of her, yeah?

Always.


| Midnight | c