Hot blood rushes to his cheeks and cold air grips his jaw and lips and bites savagely.
“You’re free to go, Mr Broadcott. The charge is dropped.” And suddenly that ugly, concrete hell that smells not quite like a hospital is behind him, and that ugly, pollarded tree outside the station is behind him and he is walking.
It isn’t until he closes his front door that he thinks back to the people he passed on his way home. Had they known? Did they look at him knowing who he is?
It isn’t until the puts the kettle on that he wonders if he did it. He can’t remember.
There’s a half-finished canvas in his front room, set on the easel, ready to go, and he knows every stroke. But he can’t remember the walk to Tufnell Park Station. He can imagine doing it, dragging her into the alley, as if thinking up a scene to be painted. But had he?
He pours water into the mug.
He said almost nothing at the police station, on the advice of his solicitor.
Who would be the first person he’d speak to now?
He stirs the tea bag.