Excerpt from Final Witness by Simon Tolkien, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Final Witness

by Simon Tolkien

Final Witness
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  • First Published:
    Dec 2002, 304 pages
    Aug 2004, 320 pages

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They looked around the rooms downstairs for a while, but they didn’t touch anything and they had gloves on.

Then the one with the scar said, "Lonny, watch the fucking road while I go upstairs. The kid’s behind that bookcase where he was before. Greta told me how it works."

Lonny came and stood really close to where I was, but I couldn’t see him because he was to the side of me, and the man with the scar went upstairs. It was really hard not moving, and I tried to hold my breath. That made it worse, and I thought Lonny would hear my heart beating. It sounded so loud to me.

About a minute later the man with the scar was back and I could hear anger in his voice, like he was getting ready to do something really bad. He wasn’t shouting though; it was almost as if he was talking through his teeth. And I can’t remember the exact words he used. All I can do is give the gist of them.

"Fucking kid’s in here somewhere," he said. "Look, he was halfway through eating when we got here. He can’t have gone far."

"Want me to turn the gaff over, do you, Rosie? I’ll find him for you."

I could hear the eagerness in Lonny’s voice, like he really wanted to break something.

"No, I fucking don’t. I don’t want you to touch anything, you moron. Just keep a fucking watch and leave it to me. And don’t call me that again."

The fat man went to stand by the front door. It was half open.

"Lonny the loser," said the man with the scar. "He’s a fucking loser, isn’t he, Thomas?"

I couldn’t see him but he wasn’t far, and I almost answered because he said my name so suddenly and naturally, but I bit my tongue instead.

"I’m sorry about your mother, Thomas. Really I am. And I promise you that you’ll be fine. Scout’s honor, Thomas. Scout’s honor. All we want is to take you on a little holiday. That’s all. Until this trial is over and done with. Somewhere nice and sunny with plenty of foreign girls. Topless beaches. You’d like that, wouldn’t you, Thomas? So why don’t you be a good boy and come out and we can get acquainted."

I could hear him moving about opening doors and cupboards all the time he was talking in this mock friendly voice he’d put on, but now there was a pause. When he spoke again, the hard edge was back in his voice.

"Too scared to come out, are you, boy? Too fucking scared. Want to play fucking games with me, do you, you little runt?"

He stopped suddenly, his voice cut off by the sound of the siren, and a second later they ran out the front door. They must have waited in the lane until I buzzed the police in through the front gate and then driven away without anyone seeing them.

I would recognize both these men again, and I would also recognize the voice of the man with the scar. It was soft and he said the bad words slowly, like he enjoyed saying them over and over again. I think he would have killed me if he’d found me. I really think he would.

Like I said before, I have tried my best to give the gist of what the men said when they were in the house, but I can’t remember all their exact words. However, I am sure about the names they called each other and I know that the man with the scar said about the hiding place that "Greta told me how it works."

When I went upstairs with the police officer afterward, the door in the bookcase was standing half open.

I confirm that I am still willing to attend court and give evidence for the prosecution in the trial of my stepmother, Greta Robinson.

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Excerpted from Final Witness by Simon Tolkien Copyright© 2002 by Simon Tolkien. Excerpted by permission of Random House, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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