The Firestarter opens with Darius as the key figure again. It just happened to work out that way. I will definitely have to switch the emphasis next time out. The other characters need to take centre stage. But only an unDead vampire roaming the roofs of Glasgow could have been in a position to help in this situation.

In my original plan, I intended for Darius to rescue the boy from the burning flat and then disappear with him and his sister. But that all seemed a little too melodramatic. I thought it better if he witnessed the fire officers doing what they do best before getting involved in the situation.

This is another of the stories in which Darius proves to be the most ‘Human’ and caring of the Torchwood team, doing his best to help the young Lithuanians, Laima and Danukas when they come into his purview. The others are doubtful, even Toshiko saying that the two illegal immigrants should be reported to the police. Of course, when Danukas’s supernatural ability to start potentially lethal fires when scared emerges, they become Torchwood subjects.

One slightly disturbing thing I found out when I was writing this story was that Lithuania only raised the age of sexual consent to sixteen in 2010.

“The age of consent in Lithuania is 16, as specified by the Lithuanian Criminal Code §151.1, introduced by the bill of 2 July 2010.

Previously the age of consent was set to 14 according to the Lithuanian Criminal Code §153 prohibiting any sexual molestation or sexual relationships with a minor under 14 years. The age of consent (14) was not set directly in this article of the Lithuanian criminal code, though. It has been established by the Lithuanian case law. This meant that both heterosexual and homosexual acts were allowed once a child had reached the age of 14. There was (and remains) an exception to this rule: §151.1(3) of the Lithuanian Criminal Code prohibits parents, guardians, or other people who are ex officio directly responsible for the upbringing and supervision of a child to have any relationships of sexual kind with the child, if he or she has not yet reached the age of 18.”

This means that at the age of fourteen, when she became pregnant, Lamia COULD have had consensual intercourse and it would not have been illegal. I could have written it as a result of a consensual and completely legal relationship with a boy from the same orphanage. It was not purely for shock value that I wrote in such a lurid tale of rape and abandonment. I wanted to make it clear that the boy was seeking to rid himself of the “velnias” by passing it onto Lamia and that she had little choice but to leave her home country and seek refuge elsewhere with her child.

That said, the same the fact that a fourteen year old could have been sexually active in her home country surprised me just a little. From a British perspective that seems very young. Looking through a list of countries and their recent history of sexual legislation really is an eye-opener, and the definition of a child sex crime extremely fluid.

Obviously, Torchwood sort it all out. Owen gets the ‘devil’ out of Danukas with the singularity scalpel, the wonderful bit of alien tech that has come in so very useful on TV and in my own stories. But that’s what Torchwood do.

Some readers have commented about the number of foreign words in this one. No, I don’t speak either Lithuanian or Japanese. The wonder of Google Translate! If you really want to know what the phrases mean, use it to backtrack.

And yes, I have heard of the Prodigy Song, Firestarter, though it's not really my kind of music. I would rather chill our with John Barrowman Swings Cole Porter.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ages_of_consent_in_Europe
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firestarter_%28song%29
http://translate.google.com/