My first instinct was to turn and run, but Katie kept hold of my arm and walked the two of us past the house, staring straight ahead, as if we were heading elsewhere. Once we were out of sight, we ducked into the trees and tried to see what was going on. The men weren't knocking at the door. They were looking out into the street, relaxed but wary. That meant there were others inside. Had Graham been found out? We had to know, to warn the others somehow.
Graham Willoughby's house had well-kept gardens. We had to circle around some way before we could approach the house relatively unseen. Even then, we would have been obvious to anyone who was watching carefully.
The curtains of the sitting room were drawn. I took a deep breath, found my focus, and pushed my mind out. The edge of the curtain trembled at first, but eventually moved up and to the side. We risked looking in. Erica, Graham's wife, was sat on the comfy chair by the fireplace. At this hour the fire was cold and dead, and Erica's eyes seemed to mirror it. Inspector Brown sat on a facing chair, his back to the window, talking earnestly to her. We couldn't pick out any words. I let the curtain drop. Graham had never shared his secret with her. Maybe she was finding out now. The other downstairs rooms were empty.
Katie hissed and pointed upwards. I could just make out Graham stood at the window of one of the bedrooms. With Katie's help, I climbed the old oak. Graham was staring out of the window, resigned. His hands were behind his back, and I could just see the manacles. His eyes widened in alarm when he saw me. He tried to convey that I should leave by jerking his head slightly. I took that to mean there were inspectors in the room with him and climbed no higher.
The window was on a latch. I turned my mind to it, gesturing for Katie to join me in the tree. If we got the window open, we could get him to the ground and run for it. The manacles could be removed later, maybe at Katie's dad's forge.
The latch resisted. It took me a while to realise that it wasn't stuck - Graham was actively opposing me. We struggled with each other for a few seconds, then I gave up. He looked at me. He shook his head, slowly.
He was right, of course. There was no way we could get him out without our own faces being seen. He didn't want two kids to get into trouble just to save him. I think I knew all that, even at the time, but it didn't make it any easier.
As we dropped out of the trees and slipped away to let the others know, I couldn't see for tears.
I never saw him again. They would have tortured him. Somehow, he was strong enough to tell them nothing. I don't know what happened to him in the end.