I'm not entirely sure this has fallen in the right place, but as I'm writing and publishing to Steemit as I go, I guess for once, this will have to be altered around when I do an edit.
“Sit down, the pair of you. I have something to show you,” Justin said in a suddenly-sombre voice.
He opened the envelope and took out a sheaf of papers. He placed the papers on the table beside him and checked inside the envelope.
Justin turned the envelope upside down and tipped out something which he caught in his hand and put to one side.
“In here, is everything you’d need when I die,” Justin said. He held up a hand to stop their protests before they had chance to start.
“I’m well-aware of the rumours about me and the only reason I allow them to continue is because it suits me that people keep away because they think I’m some sort of paedophile.”
Justin looked at the two kids sitting on the sofa. His stare didn’t waver as he studied the kids and they held his stare.
“OK then,” Justin said at last.
“My will and all kinds of deeds and stuff are here. The most important thing you’ll need is this.” He pulled out a business card and held it up to show them. “It’s the card of my lawyer. Don’t lose it.”
He handed the card to Robin. “When I die, whether it’s here, at home or in hospital, I want you two to contact my lawyer and tell him why you’re calling. That’s all you’ll need to do. He will sort out everything from there. He has the original of my will and the deeds and he’s been paid for this service. Don’t let anyone into the house. No one. Understand?”
Robin and Ash nodded, their mood matched Justin’s and they were both serious and grown-up about what Justin was telling them.
“Right. Then there’s this key,” Justin said and held up the thing he’d tipped from the envelope. “It’s the key to a safety-deposit box and my lawyer will give you the details. Do not let anyone have the key. Not even my lawyer. OK?” Justin said and waited for them to nod that they understood. “You go to the bank together, right? I don’t think either of you will try to double-cross the other, but just don’t.”
The kids nodded again.
“Keep away from that guy that was here that time. The one that offered to give Brenda the new key when Rob had changed the locks. He’s a mean bastard and he’s trouble.”
The kids nodded again.
“And finally,” Justin said. “If anyone comes round claiming to be a relative of mine, they’re lying. I have no one left. Everyone I was related to is dead.”
Ash looked at Robin and back to Justin. “Right. All dead. Got it.”
It could have been an amusing comment but it wasn’t intended for amusement and neither Justin nor Robin took it as such.
“One very last thing, Rob,” Justin said. “Ash is going to need your help soon. Are you up for it?”
Robin looked at Ash and back to Justin. “Yep.”
The two kids left the house together. They made sure the doors were locked and they wandered up the street.
“You still going different routes home?” Robin asked.
“Yep. There are at least six different ways and I don’t rotate them, I choose one different way, randomly.”
Robin nodded. They walked together for a little while in silence.
“That was… weird,” Ronin said. “He’s never done that before.”
“I guessed he hadn’t. You looked as surprised as I was,” Ash said.
Ash stopped at a gate to a garden. “See you tomorrow,” she said.
“What? Yeah… ok,” Robin said.
Ash didn’t open the gate, she put one hand on the top and vaulted over it. It was a low, sturdy gate and didn’t bother her injuries. She slipped through the garden, making sure not to break any plants down. Then she pushed through undergrowth and into the next garden and Robin lost sight of her.
Ash emerged from between two houses a hundred yards or so from her house. She looked up and down the street, making sure she wasn’t observed and then she pelted for her house, opened the front door and went in.
She breathed a sigh of relief once she was safe.
“Ash? Is that you?” her dad called from the living room.
“Yeah, it’s me. I’m going to bed.”
“Come here, a minute, I want you,” he called.
She opened the living room door and went in.
Mike was sitting on the sofa, a mug in his hand.
“Mike was just asking about you. He’d heard you’d had an accident and wanted to see how you were,” her dad said.
“Hey, Ashleigh,” he said in a friendly tone. “Wow, someone really went to town on you, didn’t they?”
Ash didn’t say a word, she held the door handle with one hand as though it would give her some kind of protection. She nodded once in acknowledgement. Then she looked at her dad sitting in the chair and said, “G’night.”
Her legs were wobbly as she made her way up the stairs. Mike hadn’t heard about the attack. He was much closer to it than that and she knew it. His appearance was just proof that he knew.
Then her stomach flip-flopped as she realised that Justin didn’t know she was a girl and Mike did and he was nasty enough to tell either her dad that she had a job, or Justin that she was a girl – or both.
She didn’t sleep well that night. A few factors played their part. The worry about Mike telling her dad she had a job, the possibility of him telling Justin she was a girl and then, a deep-seated fear that if she went to sleep, the sedatives she’d taken would take hold and make sure she never woke up again.
Eventually, she drifted off but her sleep was disturbed by her rolling over and her injuries hurting or dreams about men in shadows coming to give her another beating.
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