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It don’t seem fair that Danny was back in both of our lives for less than a proper twenty-four hours before I was ripped away from him again. I wonder if he’s indeed with Christine. I wonder if they’re happy. I’d like that, I think. I’d like it if through me, they found their way back to each other. That would make me happy.

It don’t seem fair that I’m here in these silk pyjamas, enjoying a perfectly serviceable bowl of pap and wors while my baby brother is very likely dead at the bottom of a waterfall. Or, more likely, washed away somewhere, never to be seen again. If only he had found it in himself to talk with me, maybe… maybe… fok. At least maybe I could’ve killed him myself. That would feel just and right somehow. Better than the way it all went down, I reckon.

Eish, man. But when has anything ever been fair? Come along now, van den Berg. You’re starting to sound like other people.

All right. Enough of this kak. Time to go. I can’t claim to know what about today in particular is causing me to decide that I cannot stay here any longer, but something in the air—or more probably, something in me—is pulling me toward an exit strategy.

The time that I was at this estate before, it was so that I could rest after a near-death scrape. Somebody who knows me knows that. That’s why I’m here again, I have to assume. It’s some perverted commentary on my life that whoever has chosen to keep me alive has chosen this place to hold me hostage. It’s a fokken allegory. Or metaphor. Or some cocksucking thing. Whatever it is, it ain’t cute, and I’m done.

I think the part that I really can’t tolerate any further is not having answers. Staring down uncertainty does not make me uncomfortable. It fokken hacks me off, man. I refuse to believe that I denied Death her claim on me yet again for me to sit here in thousand-dollar sleepwear, wondering about what the hell is happening. I aim to find answers.

Now.

“Liam, man! I’m done, bru!”

It’s not the disarming him that hurts. That’s actually somewhat easy. He lets the rifle slide down his arm when he takes up the tray, and I’m not in optimal shape, but I’m still quite quick. No, what hurts is knocking him out with the butt of the rifle. Whatever it is that’s still pinching on my ribcage seems to tighten a bit. Or possibly tear. Not sure. Medical school was not for me, so I didn’t go. All I know is it stings.

I’ll need to be conscious of that as I make my way out of here. I’ve only seen about a dozen okes around the premises, but I’ve also only been around a limited amount of the premises. The good news is that this is my place. I bought it after having lived here with Eliza for probably a good month and a half. And until the day that she spoilt everything by getting pregnant—or, accurately, telling me she was pregnant…

Kak, man.

But until then, we had good fun in just about every corner of this citadel, so I should be able to sneak out through some of the less easy-to-spot passageways round the back. It would be a delight to free myself into the countryside sunshine while killing as few people as possible.

And, as if on cue, the rain starts pattering against the window again as I lean my head into the hallway to make sure no one is watching my door.

Yes, it would be a delight. It certainly would.

But, unfortunately, something niggling inside me tells me that this day is not fated to be a delightful one.

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN – CHRISTINE

I’m standing in the corner of Eliza’s kitchen—which is quite nice. In fact, the whole fucking place is English-countryside quaint and perfect. So perfect I feel like gagging—while Danny and Eliza sit at the kitchen table overlooking a massive back garden where Alec’s daughter is busy drawing a hopscotch grid on a dark, slate pathway which I can only imagine leads somewhere magical. Like a smaller-sized, but dimensionally correct replica of this estate, hidden in the woods and surrounded by those wood fairies—what do you call them? Pixies. Yes. There’s a fucking mini-mansion playhouse out there at the end of that path surrounded by pixies. I’m sure of it.

The storybook childhood home. That’s what this place is.

I am seething with rage.

Also, possibly, jealousy.

But definitely rage.

I don’t hate many people. I don’t, in fact, give any fucks about most people one way or the other. So having feelings of rage and hate towards Eliza is a big deal for me.

Russell has been called. Courtesy of Danny, not Eliza. Because Eliza is still going on about how in no bloody dream world is she lifting even a pinky finger to help Alec out of whatever mess we’re all involved in.


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