The day after my eighth birthday, my father told me I had a twin brother.
I couldn’t believe it, didn’t believe it at first. Then he showed me a photograph of a boy of about my age wearing a school uniform quite unlike mine and my dad’s face.
‘How?’ I stammered, followed by ‘Why?’
‘Your mother didn’t die in a road accident,’ he said. ‘She lives in America with your brother. When we divorced, she suggested we separate the two of you so we would each keep a child.’
I didn’t know what to say. His words explained so much and yet begged even more questions. Not least, why tell me now?
‘She wants you back,’ he said. ‘She’s decided to apply for custody.’ He took a deep breath. ‘And she’ll probably get it.’
Even at that tender age, I knew he was referring to our precarious lifestyle: dad in and out of prison, a career burglar, me ferried between Gran and a series of pseudo-aunties, married to other convicted felons, who were more often inside doing porridge than outside with a job of work.
So was I going to get any say in this? He sighed that deep sigh again and shook his head.
‘If I know your mother, nothing you or I say will have any effect. She’ll have us tied in knots, packaged up and doing her bidding before you can blink.’
My mother abandoned me and now she wanted me back? I was only eight years old, but already I knew what I wanted. That was when I made the decision to kill her.