Sometimes, as night falls over Greater Manchester, the ingenious adolescent returns to the place where he was stabbed last year, when he was 14.
The boy is tall for his age, but slight, with olive skin, a long crooked nose, and dark, intelligent eyes framed by thick black brows poised for flight. One in the chest—that was the light wound—and another in the abdomen, six inches deep, which pierced his kidney and liver and necessitated the removal of his gallbladder.
It lies off Stamford New Road, close by a shopping mall in the prosperous Manchester suburb of Altrincham, where random stabbings simply don't occur.
And as far as the police could see, it hadn't occurred, at least not the way the older boy had said.
As for himself, John was a virtual Scheherazade, a gifted fabricator.