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Union Candy (part 19)

“Hey! I’ve just scrubbed…”

Finny looked up and stopped. Queen Bee, Bethany Ambrose, stood two steps up, smiling down.

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Union Candy (part 18)

Finny hadn’t actually missed the bed check. She had managed to sneak into the dorm while the Matron and the duty staff person were checking the boys’. It wasn’t even the fact that she had still been wet from the shower that gave away that something was amiss. What had given it away, even to those standing at the ends of their beds on either side of Finny, had been, the smell.

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Union Candy (part 17)

Joe stood by the factory door and counted heads as today’s workforce filed past him ready for another fun-filled day of making bullets and not getting your fingers crushed in the process. The last urchin passed through the arched brick maw of the old building and Joe was left chewing on the end of his cigar and looking down the street in the direction of the orphanage.

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Union Candy (part 16)

The ‘little boss’ meanwhile was steadily putting one foot in front of the other and making her way diagonally across Verde street to Joe’s lockup. Two thoughts were keeping her shaking legs moving; ‘Please don’t let me die.’ And ‘Gotta get back before bed check time’. Surprisingly, it was the second one that added the most urgency to her steps.

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Union Candy (part 15)

By swinging from the broken ladder from one hand, Finny, with much grunting and gasping, managed to haul the manhole cover back into place before dropping into the waiting arms of Kru.

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Union Candy (part 14)

After the fetid humidity of the sewer, the cool night air Finny emerged into was something she just wanted to stand in and savour, possibly forever. Unfortunately, the urgent rasping hiss of her partner’s voice wasn’t letting Finny enjoy the moment.

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Union Candy (part 13)

Finny sat down on the wet floor of the tunnel and started pulling off her shoes.

“Have you got a knife?”

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Union Candy (part 12)

They walked cautiously through the dimly lit hallways where mutants stopped what they were doing to stand and stare at them. None of these mutants were armed, Kru noticed, nor did they show any signs of hostility and Finny just smiled and waved at all of them like she was strolling by the pond on a sunny afternoon.

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Union Candy (part 11)

Eric Small put down the receiver and stared at it. It was only when he realised that his fingertips had become sticky that he stopped scratching at the already red and inflamed flaky skin on his neck. Dammit. Dammit! Children shouldn’t be allowed to use phones.

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Union Candy (part 10)

They continued west. Don and Kru discussed tactics while Finny sat, still clutching Joe’s briefcase, and wondering what the heck was happening. She tuned into the conversation going on between Kru, next to her and Don, in the back seat.

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Union Candy (part 9)

Joe opened the trunk.

“What’s this then?” He asked, looking at Kru.

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Union Candy (part 8)

It was the longest car trip Finny had ever been on, and it was turning out that way, too, for the two gang members in the cramped back seat of Joe’s Interceptor. Not so much for Joe, because he’d had the pleasure of Tuki’s company on one particular nightmare journey a while back. Don and Kru, however, had never had the experience of being in a car with an, at first, excitable and then, very bored child.

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Union Candy (part 7)

After the funeral was over, Joe had Finny ride with him back to New Flagstaff. The funeral had upset Finny. Not so much because the broker man had died and his widow and kids were very sad, Finny was ok with that because she lived a life where pretty much everyone she knew had a sad story. Finny was upset about the funeral because she felt that she might have had a part in his death.

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Union Candy (part 6)

When they were finally ready and Finny was fuming just a little bit by the fact that Joe and Aunty had dressed her up like a doll between them, she and Joe left the junk emporium into the bright morning sun.

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Union Candy (part 5)

It was barely a week later, six days to be exact. When Finny, in the company of the other three reading group members, arrived at the factory one bright and optimistic morning. There was a message waiting for her from Joe to go straight to Aunty Wainwright’s. Casper sighed and watched Finny run off in the direction of the police station, his happy thoughts for the day just a little diminished.

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Union Candy (part 4)

In her dream, a big white dog was snuffling at her shoulder. Finny tried to shoo it away but it kept coming back. Now it was whispering her name. That was odd, Finny thought as reality slowly pushed into her dream and the dog turned into Alice from the next bed, standing in her white nightie and pushing at Finny’s shoulder while sleepily rubbing her own eye.

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Union Candy (part 3)

Casper had known about those he called ‘the watchers’ since a couple of days after Finny’s birthday. The watchers were four boys in their mid-teens who took turns sneakily watching Finny and whoever was with her. Casper had noticed them because, well, he was Casper and he was hard wired to look out for danger.

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Union Candy (part 2)

The day after Finny’s birthday there was a perpetual crowd of orphans gathered around as Finny, wearing some of her new clothes, proudly demonstrated opening the vault, taking out the big jar of candy, putting it back and then closing the door. Every phase of the process accompanied by a little collective gasp of amazement and jealous awe. This was all much to the amusement of the vaults’ normal clientele.

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Union Candy (part 1)

The good thing about the ablutions was that, if there was any blood, it was easily washed away. The bad thing about the ablutions, was that everyone knew this. So being in the ablutions with Big Levi Gorse towering over you, staring at you from eyes sunk deep behind that low brow of his…

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The Murder - Loose Ends

Constable Phineas Sweetly sat at the duty desk with his feet up and a tin mug of strong black coffee held in one hand while he read. Constable Sweetly didn’t mind holding down the fort while his compatriots attended the funeral of the Magrat girl. He and his wife were new in town and didn’t know many people yet, so there was that.

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The Murder - The Evidence Mounts

Arch arrived. It took a while to calm him down and get him to listen but, eventually, the combined efforts of the mayor and the chief constable convinced him that it would be in the best interests of himself and his family if the boys accompanied their father to the constabulary headquarters, where Arthur would then be interviewed.

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The Murder - Suspect/Witness Interview - Evan Stanton

Evan Stanton

“Go and see who’s at the effin’ door!”

"I’m going! I’m going!”

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An aside.

The statue of Noah Barret is, was and probably always will be the place of choice for Hope Spring’s adolescents to hang out. People couldn’t help but notice you being cool in your ripped, patched and home-dyed cool clothes so that everyone would know that you were the future and why can’t you just take us seriously.

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The Thirty Days of Magrat (part fourteen, final)

The last few days of Magrat’s time in Hope Springs were without incident.

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The Thirty Days of Magrat (part thirteen)

“Get out of my way! I’m next. Emergency…see!” Johnson, the aggressive shopkeeper who ran the shop and storage facility at the vehicle workshop, waved his bandage covered right hand in the face of the elderly man who had just got up to take his turn for the treatment room.

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The Thirty Days of Magrat (part twelve)

Magrat had a chance to demonstrate this supposed ‘edge’ a couple of days later when Maisie had insisted the teenager join her in helping with one of the head nurse’s new duties at the school.

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The Thirty Days of Magrat (part eleven)

Magrat was unusually quiet for the rest of the morning, so much so that Maisie spoke to Doctor Troy about it when she returned from her own rounds at midday. At lunch, Maisie hung the ‘At Lunch’ sign on the clinic’s main door and the doctor took Magrat into the vacant treatment room where they sat next to each other with the treatment room table once again doubling as a dining table.

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The Thirty Days of Magrat (part ten)

Amy froze for a moment and then slowly released Magrat. She sank back onto the bed, pushing herself backwards while staring at Magrat with eyes that had seen, and were now remembering, too much.

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The Thirty Days of Magrat (part nine)

If Magrat had been expecting a dark and dingy sick ward packed with groaning and sighing people close to death, then we can hope that she would have been pleasantly surprised by what greeted her as she and the head nurse stepped away from the top of the stairs.

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The Thirty Days of Magrat (part eight)

Once Magrat’s breathing had returned to normal and she could unclench her fingers, Maisie went through notes of the people they were going to see with her. Some of the cases, most in fact, were what any medically trained person would call business as usual. A couple of them, however, even when couched in sanitised medical terminology, showed a disturbing story in the patient’s recent past.

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