Red likes stories with happy endings; the kind his mum used to sit and read to him before she became too ill. Once, in hospital when she was deathly pale, she asked him to read to her but the words wouldn't come, the letters on the page meaning nothing. Now he furtively checks the book out of the library over and over again, determined to finish it for himself. To prove to his mum - wherever she is - that he can do it.

Herod doesn't understand; he was too young to remember. Genie thinks it's stupid; she has other ways of coping. Fletcher never mentions it, although Redknows that he knows. Fletcher knows everything, his notebooks crammed full of information copied out in his meticulously neat script.

Sometimes Red likes to dream that Fletcher keeps quiet because he feels the same way. That his notebook is covered in scrawled love hearts and awkward declarations the same way his own diary is, locked away in his dresser out of reach of Herod's grasping fingers. Most of the time he forces himself to accept the truth.

There is no such thing, at least for a Sharkey, as Happily Ever After.