Later that evening, after a very long bath, Sydney wrapped herself in a fluffy robe and went downstairs to join her parents in front of the fire. Aerial touched Sydney's face and the girl winced, she had a nasty feeling her face was going to be one big bruise in the morning. Sydney managed a small smile before she dropped into an overstuffed armchair. Baz was sitting on the floor in front of the coffee table, thick marker pens and bits of cardboard littered the floor.

"Since when did you take up arts and crafts?" asked Sydney. She patted the empty arm of the chair and Kit jumped up, he laid his muzzle on her shoulder and licked her cheek.

"It's for the watermelon patch. I don't really want to put a fence round them; we can't afford it so hopefully this might do the trick." Baz flipped the piece of card over so Sydney could see what was written.



Sydney laughed; it felt good apart from that it hurt her face.

"Do you think that will work?"

"No idea" said Baz, he shrugged and stood up. He crossed the living room and the kitchen to the back door before vanishing out into the night.

"How are they going to read it in the dark?" asked Sydney, as the door swung shut. Aerial smiled and began to tidy up her husband's mess.

"Just let him get on with it, lovely. I found that's the easy way." Sydney yawned, she said goodnight and headed upstairs.

No melons were missing or crushed in the morning and so Aerial and Sydney allowed Baz to crow about his sign. Sydney was tempted to tell him that the culprit was probably back in London by now with her scumbag family but she didn't want to bring up the Petersons again so soon. Baz was so pleased that he bought one of the melons in for them to have with breakfast. It was sliced into pieces and placed on the table with the rest of the breakfast dishes.

"Are you sure you don't want to go to the police?" said Aerial, she reached across the table and took Sydney's hand. The girl had been right; her face was just a big bruise this morning. Sydney shook her head.

"I just want to forget about it."

"What happens if he tried this with someone else?" said Baz. His voice was quiet but his words almost dragged the air from his daughter's lungs. Sydney didn't want any trouble but she knew that if Keanu did this to someone else, some other poor girl with no faithful dog to protect her, then Sydney would feel terrible.

"Can we have breakfast first?" she said. Aerial seemed happy with that, she reached for a piece of the watermelon and sank her teeth into the flesh. She chewed a few times and then swallowed, her face confused as she stared at the fruit in her hand.

"What's up, babe?" asked Baz.

"It tastes a bit weird" replied Aerial. Sydney took a piece of melon and tasted it, Baz did the same. Aerial was right, there was a weird taste to the melon.

"I hope they don't all taste like this or we're buggered" said Baz. He dropped the half eaten slice back onto the plate before dropping the rest into the bin.

"Let's get going to the cop shop. We'll take the truck this time" said Baz. They locked up the house, leaving Kit in the kitchen and headed across the farm towards the truck. Sydney glanced into the watermelon patch and stopped. There was something wrong with the sign on the post in the middle of the field.

"Hang on a minute dad" she said. Sydney jogged through the melon rows and pulled the sign from the post. Her eyes grew wide and the panic returned. She opened her mouth to call out but at that moment her stomach cramped and a stream of vomit shot from her mouth. Sydney cried out as her stomach continued to cramp and her legs gave way, she vomited again as her head began to pound and the world turned a little fuzzy at the edges. Sydney shook her head and saw Baz and Aerial on the ground, both convulsed in agony.

"Fucking bitch. I'll fucking kill you" whispered Sydney. She tried to stand up but it was too late. Sydney slipped to the ground, she struggled to hold on to conscious thought but it was too late. Her eyes closed as her heart slowed to a crawl before stopping altogether. Sydney's hand loosed it grip and the cardboard sign fluttered away in the breeze. Someone had altered it with a red lipstick. It now read