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Crowds shriek and howl at his prison van and at me – the Beast’s mother. How much did she know? the tabloids demand. Did she make allowances, turn a blind eye? Photos show him at five, cute and smiling. When did it begin? they ask. As if he emerged from me a writhing larva of what he would become, then burst from his maggot self transformed, hardened – a monster. As if I didn’t give birth so much as he shucked me off like an old skin and slithered away. But I remember, after the agony, his downy head, his tiny hands.