If he’s going to kill Julie Draper, there’s no reason why he won’t kill you . . .
Christ, poor Matt. My sweet, adorable stepson. The single best thing ever to happen in my life. Why am I taking this risk?
None of this is Matt’s fault. Stupid selfish grown-ups. I’m sure Zoe and I will be okay. We’re just in bit of a rut right now. Living together but not really living at all. It’s all work, childcare and sleep deprivation. I know I’m doing this for her. I’m just not sure why. To impress her? To prove myself? To make her worry about me? In place of an answer, I’ve coined a mantra: If I get through this, everything will be better. I’ll have proven myself, to her, to me. We’ll get back to how it was. She’ll look at me in that way again, eyes soft and warm. Smile at my corny gags. Sleep facing me.
But doubt, like night, has swallowed the last of the half-light.
A ghostly white sign shimmers in the gusty, malcontent air. I squint it into focus: ‘Brighton 8 miles’.
I slow to 40 and strain my eyes. The A273 slip road loops around so that I’m now heading north again; Brighton-bound A23 traffic pounds past to my left, headlights mercilessly fanning the lay-by like ravenous searchlights. The phone boxes command centre stage, spotlit by an amber streetlight. Good visibility brings mixed tidings; easier to see, harder to flee.
My car creeps into the lay-by, past the phone boxes. I perform a laboured three-point turn, helping myself to a 180-degree, headlight-illuminated view of the lay-by and the A273 beyond. I’m expecting the glint of hidden back-up cars, the outlines of poised police Ninjas. I see neither. Dread claws at my insides like a trapped rat. Surveillance are in front and behind. But they’re not here. It’s just me and him.
Sounds good, doesn’t it?
You can buy Games with the Dead from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.