‘I want to leave,’ Stephen said. He was shaking. He faced the door and waited the few seconds it took for someone else to come. Did not look round or back. Within three minutes, he was standing in the street outside the prison gates.
That night, he lay awake and the images in front of his eyes clicked on and off, on and off, one after the other but always returning to the image of Miles Hurley, his eyes bright, bright, peering urgently across the table, and talking, talking. I did it for you. I did it for you. I did it for you.
He had no way of knowing if he would ever understand, ever forgive, though he was certain that he would never forget. He could not think or sift out the madness from the sanity, the delusions from the truth. He could not pray and yet he knew that simply lying there in the darkness was some sort of unvoiced petition. But for whom? Miles Hurley? Ruth? For himself?
He left Lafferton two days later, without seeing any of his former colleagues again.
It was early in the morning, bright, cloudless, but there had been rain in the night and, as he drove away, the soft grey stone of the Cathedral, the roofs of the houses, the cobblestones of the lane beyond the arch gleamed.
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