PerfectBound e-book extra: Enter the World of Peter Robinson. The crime scene awaiting Acting Detective Superintendent Alan Banks is among the worst he has ever encountered. The assailant, Terence Payne, hovers close to death himself. And Payne's brutalized wife, Lucy -- whose overheard screams prompted the original call -- has already been moved to a local hospital for treatment. But these sins and tragedies pale before what else has transpired in a dank basement the press will soon dub the "House of Payne." Now that the fiend is in custody, the long nightmare appears over at last. But is it In Alan Banks's mind too many questions need to be answered before he can rest easy. How could the heinous crimes of a popular teacher like Payne have so completely escaped the notice of his peers, his neighbors...his wife And was fragile, abused Lucy Payne a victim or a reluctant accomplice Despite the strain on his own personal life and relationships, Banks refuses to ease up on his investigation.
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January 03, 2003
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Excerpt from Aftermath by Peter Robinson
They locked her in the cage when she started to bleed. Tom was already there. He'd been there for three days and had stopped crying now. He was still shivering, though. It was February, there was no heat in the cellar, and both of them were naked. There would be no food, either, she knew, not for a long time, not until she got so hungry that she felt as if she were being eaten from the inside.
It wasn't the first time she had been locked in the cage, but this time was different from the others. Before, it had always been because she'd done something wrong or hadn't done what they wanted her to do. This time it was different; it was because of what she had become, and she was really scared.
As soon as they had shut the door at the top of the stairs, the darkness wrapped itself around her like fur. She could feel it rubbing against her skin the way a cat rubs against your legs. She began to shiver. More than anything she hated the cage, more than the blows, more than the humiliations. But she wouldn't cry. She never cried. She didn't know how.
The smell was terrible; they didn't have a toilet to go to, only the bucket in the corner, which they would only be allowed to empty when they were let out. And who knew when that would be?
But worse even than the smell were the little scratching sounds that started when she had been locked up only a few minutes. Soon, she knew, it would come, the tickle of sharp little feet across her legs or her stomach if she dared to lie down. The first time, she had tried to keep moving and making noise all the time to keep them away, but in the end she had become exhausted and fallen asleep, not caring how many there were or what they did. She could tell in the dark, by the way they moved and their weight, whether they were rats or mice. The rats were the worst. One had even bitten her once.
She held Tom and tried to comfort him, making them both a little warmer. If truth be told, she could have done with a little comforting herself, but there was nobody to comfort her.
Mice scuttled across her feet. Occasionally, she flicked her legs out and heard one squeak as it hit the wall. She could hear music from upstairs, loud, with the bass making the bars of the cage rattle.