“Sergeant Pendower,” Lee said fervently, as soon as the door was shut behind him, “is a pain in the arse.”


“I couldn’t help noticing that myself. It’s a shame you don’t like him, though – he thinks the sun shines out of yours.”


“That’s just where you’re wrong. He thinks I want the world to believe it does, but really I’ve got a torch rammed up there to fool them. He wants to get in there – dissect me, if necessary – and find the torch.”


Distracted by the imagery, it took Gideon a moment to catch on. “If you mean he thinks you’re a fake, he’s had his convictions seriously rattled.”


“Still. He wants me to be one.”


“I don’t think so. He’s your biggest fan.”


“Nope. He’s just impressed by how well I hide my torch, and my amazing remote-control system for switching it on and off. And the ironic thing is, I know all this because I am a genuine psychic and can read his tiny mind like a very short book.”


Gideon checked the lock. Their home was a much-besieged castle, and their guard dog was on secondment to the Kemp house. He was glad Lee was talking, but his colour didn’t match the vigour of his words, and Gideon wanted him off his feet and securely in bed. “All right, Mr Tiger. Go lie down, and I’ll bring you a cup of tea and a sandwich.”


“I don’t need to lie down.” He shuddered. “Couldn’t manage the sarnie yet, either. What time is it?”


“Just after one.”


“Jesus. We haven’t even managed a whole full day without her.”


Gideon reeled him in. He pressed his mouth to the top of his skull. “Tell you what,” he said after a moment, almost managing to smooth the rasp of pain from his voice. “If I took my lunch break now, and hopped into bed with you and shared the sarnie, would you submit?”


Lee met his eyes. He dredged up a pallid smile. “That does put a different complexion on it, yes.”


They’d been planning to stop for groceries on their way home from Drift. That, together with so many other small daily intentions, had gone to hell. Gideon did the best he could with the end of a loaf, cheese and pickle. By the time he’d made tea and carried everything through on a tray, Lee had obediently got beneath the duvet. He’d showered the Carnysen barley-dust out of his hair, and borrowed the dressing-gown Gideon had left in the bathroom. He looked good enough to eat, but for once Gideon wasn’t hungry either, not in that way. He hoped his hadn’t made his bedroom lunch break sound too seductive. “It’s all right,” Lee said, holding out a hand to him. “I couldn’t manage the afternoon delight either, not now. Just come here.”


Gideon set the tray down, kicked his shoes off and crawled in under the quilt. As often when he’d thought Lee too worn out to offer comfort, he found a strong arm extended to pull him in. He subsided with a faint moan. To breathe his own scent mixed with Lee’s through the dressing gown’s fabric was a primal reassurance. He closed his eyes on Lee’s shoulder and listened to the thump of his heart. “How are you feeling?”


“Better now. Sorry for the performance.”


“We should make you a hospital appointment, get you caught up with your scans. That looked more like a seizure than...”


“Than my usual fit of the vapours? Yeah, it felt like one. But I don’t think it was anything to do with me, if you know what I mean. It came from whatever happened in that field.” He ruffled Gideon’s hair. “And I know I have to start trying to untangle whatever did happen from the wolves and the lambs in my brain, but...”


“It’s okay. Don’t rush it.”


“Did you really threaten me with Flyin’ Flynn Summers as a punishment for not waking up?”


“Not exactly a punishment. More an inducement.”


“I’ll say.”


Gideon slid a hand into the dressing gown, smiled as a warm nipple tightened against his palm. Just an autonomic response, but he and Lee had raised one another from the dead before. “You’re disgusting. And Summers is as married as you are, so forget him. Did you see the guy he brought with him to the services benefit night?”


“What, the ex-army doctor, all brooding good looks and haunted past? Can’t say as I noticed him, no.”




“Whatever. Stop distracting me. You know I’ve got to try and get something out of all this before it fades. Do you remember anything I said?”


“Pretty much all of it. You said, very clearly, that the lamb will devour the wolf, and he slew John Barleycorn.”


“The lamb will devour the wolf? Not that he’s already done it?”


“No. You said will.”


“That’s important. Be careful, Gid – the lamb’s not finished his work around here.”


“And it’s a he, this lamb? A person?”


“I want to say yes. But when I think about it, I’m getting a sense of division – two people, maybe, or one and... something else. Tell me, love – as sensible men, you a copper and me just a deckhand and a bartender when I’m not making creepy pronouncements in cornfields – do we believe in the Bodmin Beast?”


Gideon let the sunlight filter through his eyelashes. Beyond these self-made rainbows lay the moor at its sunniest best. Tourists came for hundreds of miles to walk its shining expanse. It was peaceful, benign, devoid of any creatures larger than the ponies that cropped the turf around the Hurlers. “As sensible men who lived through the Lorna Kemp case... I don’t know.”