She didn’t need to scratch her skin ‘cos the balaclava was itching, didn’t have to pull it over her head and ruin her new hairstyle, she didn’t have to do the disguising, ‘cos she’d immersed herself so totally into cruel deceit. She was so practiced in it she’d become permanently masked, so much so, the perfect disguise was her public face. Was there anything left in Shelagh I could believe? Had Kate experienced this as she was questioned and beaten to give answers she didn’t know: could never know? Did she cry at the thought her best friend, the girl around the corner, had betrayed her: like she’d betrayed me and my Dad? Nothing so unimportant as love – stealing away a teenage boy friend she really fancied. No, a boy friend can be replaced, no shortage of men anywhere. As sure as the bruises were swelling on her face – and god knows where else – turning her complexion blue-black and red mottles, her eyes battered, blinking her vision, the clearer she saw Shelagh, and Sean, for what they were.