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ASCENSION DAY

ISBN: 9780141004853
‘Why do you want to die? Why is it you don’t want me to try and save you?’ Jac went straight in with the key question. No point in beating around the bush, fencing. He might have got over most of the first hurdle with the attempted prison break, if Marmont survived, but unless he tackled this hurdle, they were all wasting their time. He could prepare the most marvellous clemency plea for the Governor’s office, but Durrant had to agree to its contents and sign the plea petition. Durrant shuffled uncomfortably, shrugged. He looked like he’d have preferred some delay, as if a question of such purport deserved reasonable preamble. He looked almost offended to be hit with it straightaway. ‘I don’t know. Tired, first and foremost. Tired of the appeals and empty promises, tired of waiting. Tired of false hope. Tired of life.’ Durrant looked up with a steady gaze as he hit the last words, as if he’d only at that moment finally discovered what, most of all, he was tired of. ‘You’re tired, and so you want out. Is that about it?’ Jac said it offhandly, disdainfully, and Durrant’s stare became icy. Jac fully expected some confrontation if he was to stand a chance of shifting Durrant’s stance. It wasn’t going to be easy. ‘Yeah, that’s about it.’ Equally offhandly, disdainfully. Jac stood up and took a couple of paces away from the interview table before turning to look back again. ‘That may be okay for you. But have you given a thought to those you’re leaving behind. Your wife. Your son. How old is he now?’ Jac remembered the age from Durrant’s file, but he wanted Durrant to say it, be reminded. ‘Twelve this April gone. Had his first birthday just two months before I was sentenced.’ Jac considered Durrant dolefully for a second. ‘Maybe your wife will come to terms with you dying, has had a fair time to prepare herself. But do you really think your son will at that age?’ And as he saw Durrant flinch and look away, he knew he’d struck a chord. The first chink in Durrant’s armour, built-up hard, impenetrably these past eleven years. Durrant knew he was being worked, but it was difficult to get angry. This new lawyer was young, still wet behind the ears, was probably not yet seasoned and world-wear