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76

N ightingale phoned Dr Keller on the way back to London and asked if he could visit his sister on Thursday. The psychiatrist said that he wouldnt be working but that he was more than happy for Nightingale to visit. He asked Nightingale when hed be able to see a transcript of Barbaras hypnotic-regression session and Nightingale said that she was still working on it.

He arrived at Rampton Hospital at midday with a large Harrods carrier bag. A guard held out his hand for the bag before allowing Nightingale to walk through the metal detector, then took it over to a steel table.

Just somethings for my sister, said Nightingale. Dr Keller said that it was okay.

Its not up to the medical staff what comes in here, said the guard. He tipped the contents of the bag out onto the table. The inmates are here because theyre dangerous; they can cause mayhem with a crayon.

Thats okay, because I didnt bring her any crayons.

The guard scowled at Nightingale and held up a box of chalk. Whats this, then?

Thats chalk. Chalk and crayons are as different as chalk and cheese. He smiled brightly. Her doctor said it was okay. She wants to do some drawing and he figured it would be part of her therapy.

The guard opened the box and took out a stick of white chalk. He stared impassively as he broke it in half. Your sister doesnt need therapy, he growled. She needs the death penalty. He closed the box and put it back into the carrier bag, then picked up a small cloth bag and untied the piece of string around the neck. Whats this? he asked.

Salt, said Nightingale. Minus the iodine. Theres a chance shes allergic to the iodine so we thought wed try her on de-iodised.

The guard retied the bag and put it with the chalk. He picked up a small linen pillow. Whats this for? he asked.

Its a herb pillow, to help her sleep, said Nightingale. Dr Keller said it was okay.

What sort of herbs?

Nightingale shrugged. Theres rosemary and lavender, I think. Im not sure. I got it from a herbalist.

We get a lot of people trying to smuggle drugs in here, said the guard. Im going to have to get a dog.

A dog?

A sniffer dog. The guard called the hospitals security centre on his transceiver and requested a drugs dog at the visitors entrance, then continued examining the contents of the carrier bag.

Nightingale pointed at two plastic bottles of Evian water. She was complaining about the taste of the water in here.

Theres nothing wrong with it, said the guard, checking the seals.

She said it tasted of chlorine.

There were five white candles in the bag. The guard examined them and looked at Nightingale quizzically.

Aromatherapy, said Nightingale. The herbalist said they might help relax her.

The guard sniffed one. Cant smell anything, he said.

Theyve got to be burning, said Nightingale.

The guard nodded and put everything except the pillow back into the carrier bag. Youll have to wait for the dog, he said and nodded at a chair. Have a seat; it might take a while.

Nightingale knew that it was pointless to argue. He sat for twenty minutes until another guard appeared with a German Shepherd, which refused to take any interest at all in the pillow.

When Agnes, the female guard who had accompanied him on his first visit, came to meet him, Nightingale was finally allowed out of the holding area.

You know that Dr Keller isnt here today? she asked as she walked down the corridor with him, swinging her keys back and forth.

Thats right, said Nightingale. Im just here for a chat, to see how she is.

She seems happier since you started visiting, she said.

How did she react to the death of her parents?

Agnes shrugged. Water off a ducks back, she said. Psychopaths can be like that. They dont react to things the same way that you or I do.

They reached the door to the visitors room.

Can I see her on her own, just so I can have some privacy? asked Nightingale.

No can do, Im sorry, said Agnes, unlocking the door. But therell be just me and Ill keep well away. There has to be a guard in the room at all times. There are safety issues.

Im her brother, said Nightingale.

She opened the door and let him go through first. Thats as may be, she said. But we had a woman who bit her daughters nose clean off a few years back. She might well be your sister but shes also a psychopath and the medical condition takes precedence, Im afraid. She nodded at the tables. You make yourself comfortable and Ill go and get her.

Nightingale sat down and put the carrier bag on the table. Ten minutes later Agnes returned with Robyn. This time she was wearing grey stretch pants, a pink sweatshirt with GAP across the chest and white Reeboks.

Hi, big brother, she said, sitting down opposite him.

Howve you been, Robyn?

Im okay, she said. What is this, twice in one week?

Agnes walked over to the vending machines and studied the contents.

Nightingale leaned forward and lowered his voice. I wanted to talk to you.

About what?

About getting you out of here.

Im not appealing, said Robyn, folding her arms. Im not going back into court.

Its not appealing, said Nightingale. Thats not what I had in mind. He put his hand on the carrier bag. I want you to do something much more creative than that.

I killed those kids and I deserve to be here.

No, you didnt.

How do you know?

Nightingale linked his fingers on the table. Do you remember killing the children?

Yes, she said.

Think, Robyn. Do you actually remember doing it? Do you remember the knife going in, the blood flowing, the way the eyes go blank at the moment of death?

Robyn swallowed. Why are you doing this? she whispered.

Because I dont think you did it, Robyn. I dont think you killed those children and I dont think you deserve to be here. Which is why I want to help you to get out. He looked over at Agnes. The guard was sitting down and reading a newspaper. Nightingale took Barbaras digital recorder from his coat pocket and put it in front of Robyn. The earphones were already plugged in. Listen to this, he said. Its what happened during the session you had with Barbara.

Robyn continued to stare at Nightingale as she reached for the earphones.


| Midnight | c