Brenda had tried every trick but the Book. She soon let two schoolfriends take her for Christian Sundays. Elisha and Corntrough were Evangelicals, and there was something haunting about the way they spoke, with everything “special,” and “calling out” and “rising up” for everything else, and so much “really just” whatever it was. Brenda was a vegetarian. And the loveliness and purity of their jumpers, and the way sometimes they gazed contentedly on you because you were hurtling on Hell. Brenda liked that peace. Her parents had hustled sorcery, here was its trajectory.

She stood bent in her shower. She shook hot diamonds from her hair.