As they turned the corner the prisoner Denton had come to see stopped laughing and stood motionless in the corridor, looking him square in the face. In that moment the eyes of the man known as Patrick Ledoux betrayed him.

The open door at the bottom revealed a stark patch of dry red sunlit earth. He stood for a moment, staring down at the unknown; a threshold, beckoning him to meet his fate.

Nobody saw the box as it floated, high in the corner of the warehouse. An illuminated sculpture. A tomb, striped with seams of light shafting over the freight below. Something stirred behind the glowing gaps between the timbers.

His last hours inside the four timber walls were like a patterned dream of memories and ideas. He recounted childhood scenes long buried in the recesses of his subconscious, and struggled to solve some of the great philosophical questions of his time.

He added, ‘and may the Lord have mercy upon your soul,’ but Reg didn’t hear him. The words execution, hanged and dead were still ringing in his ears.