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The wink

In the old people's home, Jean saw him again. This time, she knew what to do

By Ruth Rendell   January 2008

Elsie wasn’t but the Beast was. Jean always called him that, she had never known his name. He was sitting with the others watching television. A semicircle of chairs was arranged in front of the television, mostly armchairs but some wheelchairs, and some of the old people had fallen asleep. He was in a wheelchair and he was awake, staring at the screen where celebrities were taking part in a game show.

Ten years had passed since she had last seen him but she knew him, changed and aged though he was. He must be well over eighty. Seeing him…

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