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Copyright © Susan Parry 2014

Web Design: © M. G. Parry 2014

                                       Chapter 1

As winter dusk turned to darkness, the tractor headlights formed a beam that wavered across the moorland as the digger cut into the icy peat. The cab was freezing and the farmer’s breath formed white wisps as he lurched and cursed to manoeuvre the machine. Finally, admitting defeat loudly although there was no-one to hear, he switched off the engine and stumbled out into a sightless and silent world. Setting off in the direction of the house, he struggled against the freezing wind until his eyes became accustomed to the dark. It was a clear, frosty evening and marvelling at the thousands of stars caused him to slip and slide down into the old drainage channel. His back and legs were wet and painfully cold and he swore as he struggled upright, bracing himself against the side of the ditch while he regained his breath. As he clambered out onto the track he almost put his hand on an old glove, leather or maybe even rubber. He barely paused, hardly gave it a thought but carried on quickly to the house, keen to get into a less hostile environment.

‘What have you been up to?’

‘Don’t ask.’ His tone caused Sheila to hesitate for a second.

‘You look as if you’ve been bathing in the ditch not filling it in, Brian!’ she said, forcing a laugh.

‘I’m going for a shower. What time’s tea?’

‘Not till six-thirty,’ she called.

But he was already on his way upstairs and she continued preparing the meal until he re-appeared looking more relaxed.

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