'I guided you to unearth this diary, this story of woe and betrayal. The tale of how everything I loved was destroyed upon the firm handshake of two evil men. Some elements may shock or bewilder you, but I assure you that all is true. Listen to my words, head their warning'

April 29th 1939

Still and quiet, he lay there, a peaceful smile on his young pale face. Broad hands stretched across his torso with rosary entwined in his long strong fingers. Dark hair surrounded his face, caressing it, soothing it, enveloping it in smooth curls of the darkest chocolate. Thomas. Staring at his handsome smiling face was intoxicating, I was hypnotised by it, and I couldn't look away.

Eventually my torture was ended by a dreary organ wail from the far corner of the church, making everyone start. Reverend Johnson stepped out from behind a curtain and began to say a prayer. When he'd finished, a solemn 'Amen' was murmured from the congregation.

'…Brothers, sisters please be seated', backsides on the pews echoed throughout the small hall as the congregation sat, ''Today we mark the passing of a beloved son, father, friend and brother….'

Johnson continued for quite sometime in his low comforting tone. Women and children wept upon his words while men were silent. I did not express my inner emotions, just concealed them under a sheet in the midst of my mind. I would never cry in public, I told myself, a girl should never weep in the presence of high folk.

'…Ashes to ashes, dust to dust', with a click and a grind of gears, Thomas moved away into a furnace, the flames licking at the open door, at his face, at his body. His coffin was concealed by a curtain of blood red and he was gone.

I alone know of his death, no others will feel what I felt. I am sworn into secrecy. The best I can do is describe to you what losing your brother feels like. Though I won't do that. All I will say is that I will miss Thomas.

Ironic.

He was brought into the world bloody and crying, he left it in the same manner. My only remaining family ripped away with the flick of a knife. And all I could do was watch, until it was over, until it was too late, until it was all in vain. He lay bleeding; choking, dying and I just stared as those wicked men ran - Oh how they ran!

In a desperate situation, you take no time to analyse or accept, you are controlled by a higher being. You do things that aren't within your power. What I did, I didn't control. My legs had been gripped by the fist of an unforgiving demon. I was forced to run. I ran away from the factory walls, away from the blood and pain and away from Thomas.

If only I'd had the steel head and heart to stay with him and hold his hand in his final moments. Twiddle the wedding ring on his blood-soaked left hand, smell his musky cigarette smoke and old sweat smell and look into his dying eyes as he spluttered his last words.

But I did not.

I was coward, I ran, and I hid. Hiding is what I do, running is what I do, but cowardice is something I had rarely met.

I am thief, a pickpocket to be exact, and I'm good. I'll tell you that. I have felt grip of the penal system before and spent the night in a jail cell, but I have never been a coward. Though, in my own defence, I hadn't seen a man beaten, stabbed and left for dead before.

So, in light of this do you forgive me?

I don't