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If my boys knew I was writing a will they’d lose it. They’re already scared, and angry, and confused. They’d think I was giving up. After my last appointment, though, my wife and I know the truth. It’s game over. The thing’s come back and it’s worse now. The doctor didn’t want to give a time, but after my wife pushed he said it was probably a matter of weeks rather than months.




I love all my boys. It’s a straightforward will, really, because I’m just splitting everything between them. Three ways. There’s only one thing different — one extra thing — and it’s not something I can put in writing. It’s far too special for that.




I’m giving the box to Michael. He’s my middle son. 14 next month. He’s a quiet kid, sort of shy and distant, and he doesn’t have many friends at school. He reminds me of me at his age.




I did my first when I was 14. Her name was Sally. She was a few years younger than me and I hadn’t meant to, but she started crying partway through and I got scared someone would hear her.




The box is news cuttings, mostly. 30 years’ worth. All folded up neat. There are polaroids, too. 16 of them. One for every one but Sally. Some of them are a bit faded now, but each still has a name and a date on the back. Then there are the instructions. A guide, really. Something I’ve been working on in my study over the past couple of days for Michael. To make it easier for him.


So it can all be his one day.


Copyright Sam Haysom 2018.
This story was originally written for Mark Hillman.


A group of teenagers go hiking

on the moors of southern England

– and disappear, one by one


"There's a delightful bit of sleight-of-hand at the heart of the novel that I particularly enjoyed."

- OWEN KING, co-author of Sleeping Beauties

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