In HopeI held Jonathan’s little hand as we walked alongside the lake. “What’s that, Daddy?” he asked, pointing out across the water at a snow coloured bird on the surface.
“That’s a white duck. There aren’t as many of them as the other ones,” I replied. I didn’t know if that fact was strictly accurate, but it seemed to satisfy the three year old.
“I like him, can we get ducks, Daddy?” looking up at me with his pale blue eyes.
“Maybe one day,” I said vaguely, pulling up one of the straps of my rucksack that had begun to slip down my back, “We’d have to have a pond though first.”
“And it would have fish and frogs and bugs too, wouldn’t it Daddy? And I could sail my boats on it. Can we build one when we get home?”
“Not today, Jonny, it’s too cold. Next year Grandpa and Uncle Frank could come and help us. That sounds fun doesn’t it?”
He nodded, looking up
SwingsetCharlie let himself cry. The hot tears burnt his eyes as he curled into a tighter ball under the blankets. He could hear little other than his own laboured breathing. It was pitch black, and he could see absolutely nothing. Charlie’s own body heat barely kept him warm under the heavy material that concealed him, and he tucked his small hands under his armpits. Both in his mind and skin, the pain was still fresh. In fact, he was sure he could feel blood causing his shirt to stick to his back. His breath caught in his throat as he choked on his own tears. The boy coughed a little, shaking. Charlie could feel the coldness creeping up from the stone ground below, wrapping its icy fingers around him and keeping him still.
The soft creak of footsteps on the wooden stairs caught his attention, and he was suddenly silent. The boy held his breath to stop himself crying. “O Charlie,” said a firm and patronising voice, “You’re down here, aren’