Larger Font   Reset Font Size   Smaller Font  

The Casual Vacancy, Page 45

J. K. Rowling

Part Five Chapter VII



  'Fuckin' shurrup, Robbie! Shurrup!'

  Krystal had dragged Robbie to a bus stop several streets away, so that neither Obbo nor Terri could find them. She was not sure she had enough money for the fare, but she was determined to get to Pagford. Nana Cath was gone, Mr Fairbrother was gone, but Fats Wall was there, and she needed to make a baby.

  'Why wuz 'e in the room with yeh?' Krystal shouted at Robbie, who grizzled and did not answer.

  There was only a tiny amount of battery power left on Terri's mobile phone. Krystal called Fats' number, but it went to voicemail.

  In Church Row, Fats was busy eating toast and listening to his parents having one of their familiar, bizarre conversations in the study across the hall. It was a welcome distraction from his own thoughts. The mobile in his pocket vibrated but he did not answer it. There was nobody he wanted to talk to. It would not be Andrew. Not after last night.

  'Colin, you know what you're supposed to do,' his mother was saying. She sounded exhausted. 'Please, Colin - '

  'We had dinner with them on Saturday night. The night before he died. I cooked. What if - '

  'Colin, you didn't put anything in the food - for God's sake, now I'm doing it - I'm not supposed to do this, Colin, you know I'm not supposed to get into it. This is your OCD talking. '

  'But I might've, Tess, I suddenly thought, what if I put something - '

  'Then why are we alive, you, me and Mary? They did a post-mortem, Colin!'

  'Nobody told us the details. Mary never told us. I think that's why she doesn't want to talk to me any more. She suspects. '

  'Colin, for Christ's sake - '

  Tessa's voice became an urgent whisper, too quiet to hear. Fats' mobile vibrated again. He pulled it out of his pocket. Krystal's number. He answered.

  'Hiya,' said Krystal, over what sounded like a kid shouting. 'D'you wanna meet up?'

  'Dunno,' yawned Fats. He had been intending to go to bed.

  'I'm comin' into Pagford on the bus. We could hook up. '

  Last night he had pressed Gaia Bawden into the railings outside the town hall, until she had pulled away from him and thrown up. Then she had started to berate him again, so he had left her there and walked home.

  'I dunno,' he said. He felt so tired, so miserable.

  'Go on,' she said.

  From the study, he heard Colin. 'You say that, but would it show up? What if I - '

  'Colin, we shouldn't be going into this - you're not supposed to take these ideas seriously. '

  'How can you say that to me? How can I not take it seriously? If I'm responsible - '

  'Yeah, all right,' said Fats to Krystal. 'I'll meet you in twenty, front of the pub in the Square. '