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As she walked in through the front door, she could hear laughter from the back garden. She went through into the kitchen, where the back door stood open, and looked out into the garden. Her husband, Toby, was playing kickabout in the garden with Ben.

She smiled as she watched them. He made such a good dad, and his freelance work meant that he could spend far more time with Ben than she could.

She took her coat off and went to hang it up, their giggles echoing behind her as she carried on into the sitting room and collapsed onto the sofa. She kicked off her shoes and turned the television on, flicking through channels for something to watch.

She was lucky to have Toby. She wasn’t the mothering type, and the long hours she worked meant she had little time and even less energy for Ben, but she figured the boy would be all right as long as he had a good father figure. And Toby was definitely that – ever since Ben was born, he had been there. Midnight nappy changes, feedings, shopping, cooking – he was practically raising the boy by himself, and apart from bringing in great money she did next to nothing. She was lucky indeed.

Still, people were making comments that hit too close to home. How strange, they said, that Ben had such dark hair, when she and Toby were so fair-haired. She told them that she bleached her hair – she did, but from light brown not from black – and that her parents had dark hair. So far, it had worked, but she still worried that one day Toby would realise that the boy didn’t look a thing like him, and not an awful lot like her.

It was just her luck that the boy would take after his father, she thought. As long as that only extended to his looks, everything would be fine.

A shiver crossed her spine and she muted the television. The garden had gone silent; there was no laughter, no shouts, no dull thump of boot against ball.

She stood up and ran outside, her stockinged feet slipping on the kitchen tiles.

Ben stood over Toby’s charred body, fire still flickering around his fingers. He looked up at her with his beautiful dark eyes and smiled, pointing at the ball lying between the goalposts behind the corpse.

“I scored! I told Daddy he couldn’t stop me scoring!”

© Kari Fay

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