By Nicci French
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Yes,’ I said, in a whisper from the floor. ’ ‘You say you trust me. That’s where we’re going to start from. ’ She was speaking very slowly and clearly, enunciating her words with exaggerated precision as if she was talking to a small child or a foreigner with only the most basic grasp of the English language, but I knew that she was actually talking to herself, going through the jumble of thoughts in her head and trying to order them. ‘So, I trust you as well. You’re my friend. I’m not going to ask you what happened here, though it seems pretty bloody obvious.
After Sonia knelt by his body. She hesitated for a moment, then straightened him out with her pink-gloved hands. She took his arms, one after the other, and laid them so they were lying straight by his sides. Her face had become expressionless again. I could only tell that she was distressed by the slight tightening of her mouth and the way, every so often, she gave a small blink as if to clear her vision. ‘You have to help me, Bonnie,’ she said. ’ To show I was co-operating I took off my thin jacket and hung it over the back of the chair.
I looked at her, lying flung out on the grass, one arm over her face and the other on Lola’s bunched-up body. Her chestnut hair needed washing; there were stains on her dress, purple smudges under her eyes. I put the remains of our picnic into the bag and stood up to drop it into the rubbish bin. After Sonia knelt by his body. She hesitated for a moment, then straightened him out with her pink-gloved hands. She took his arms, one after the other, and laid them so they were lying straight by his sides.