It was a lie. The Candy Man had caught him, and caught him three times. It was the number that had him off guard. Had she accused him of being careless, he might have used bravado as an excuse. Had she simply claimed he’d been caught, denial was an obvious route. But she said three, she knew the truth. Maybe she’d seen the bruises. Or perhaps just knew the look in his eye, that wounded rabbit look of a boy whose hand had been smashed in the cookie jar. It occurred to him later that she may have just bluffed and guessed right, but it was too late now. She stared him dead in the eye, and his shock had already shown true. It was a confession. Why did she have to be so smart?
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