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80

N ightingale got to Gosling Manor just as it was getting dark on New Year’s Eve. Jenny had wanted to go with him but he had insisted on going alone. He brought with him a black rubbish bag filled with cloths, brushes and bleach, and a box full of supplies from the Wicca Woman store. He spent almost two hours cleaning one of the bedrooms, then he went down into the basement and sat down on one of the sofas, smoking cigarettes and preparing himself for what lay ahead.

At eleven o’clock he went back upstairs and filled a bath with warm water, washed himself thoroughly, emptied and refilled it and washed again. He used a brand new plastic nailbrush to clean under his fingernails and toenails, then climbed out of the bath and brushed his teeth for a full five minutes.

He dried himself on a brand-new towel and dressed in clean clothes. He went to the bedroom, knelt down and then began drawing the protective pentagram on the floorboards.


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