By Peter Corris
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Additional info for Burn and other stories
I spent two days on it, then a third day. I checked on the other kids and the hangouts. With runaways, usually, that’s all it takes-they’re either in the near neighbourhood or they’re long gone. When the names and addresses yielded nothing, I tried the institutions. The patience of Detective Sergeant Hubbard of the Darlington police station was stretched to breaking point by a hundred different frustrations, but he gave me the time of day. He admitted that he’d had a tip-off about Jason Wishart after the fire at the local primary school.
I could say nothing, think nothing. I loved her. I did not care that she became so fat. I loved her fat. She left and I began to drink. I am a Muslim. I am not used to drinking. I was sick. I took many sleeping pills but they did not work. I thought you were the man. ’ The tension and rigidity seemed to flow out of him. His eyes fluttered closed, opened and shut down again. ‘I am all right,’ he slurred. ’ He knocked back the rest of his brandy without opening his eyes again and slipped sideways on the couch.
Drewe was a dark, thin, nervous type who licked his lips a lot. His one-bedroom flat was neat and admirably organised for writing and fucking. His word processor sat on a desk with fold-out attachments to carry books and papers. His writing chair was an engineering miracle. I caught a glimpse of the bedroom- mirrors, satin sheets, uh huh. ‘Maddy’s aunt won’t talk to me,’ Drewe said, after we’d kicked it around for a while. ‘She doesn’t approve of me. ’ ‘No. She wasn’t in the picture then. Maddy was in hospital with some childhood illness when her parents died.
Burn and other stories by Peter Corris