Nano Day 075.
Walking down the lane, the flowers blooming in high summer, queen anne's lace and ragged robin and stitchwort bursting from the hedgerows, and birds, sudden and startling darting from the leaves and streaking in front of her face, and crying, somewhere a small child crying, from somewhere near the ground and it was Idwal, a three-year-old, fallen down into the cavernous dark where the stream ran beneath the road, and he was reaching up, his arms wet and bedraggled by mud, and she couldn't reach him, and when she could his hand slipped out of hers, cold and dead and then she was down in the water with him, floating and drowning, her lungs bursting inside her, and he was grown, not a child, tangled with her, and his hand slipped between her legs, and a thrill ran through her, and
she woke, her face pressed hard against the blanket, her mouth stifled from the air, too hot and sweating and confused, the weight of coverings over her shoulders an
Nano Day 06It was like immersing her sun-warm body in ice, but she did not let it register. She pushed her eyes open, against instinct, searching against the sting of the water for the pale-fish flicker of flesh under water. He was there, a second away from her fingertips, a slow red puff like red smoke blooming in the water about his head.
She grasped him, a dead weight, seeing his drifting open mouth as she turned him, his hair moving like stands of sea-grass, his eyes half open with the whites floating behind the lids. She dragged him upwards, and surfaced like a cork pushing out of the water, every cell in her body yearning towards air and pulling her out of this alien depth. Her arms were around a body made slippery with wet and cold, his hair soaked and dripping, his skin blue-tinged, his chest deadly still. His nerves made no protest when she pulled him over the shale at the shore, and she saw him suddenly as if from far away small, stark-ribbed and feeble, all length and limbs and
Nano Day 05It was clear and cold up at the Old Bridge at first. The pool was a deepness behind a dam not-long built, that slowed and trapped the water from a tumbling mountain river, not far from the road. The place was shaded from sight by trees and the steep V that the river had carved over millennia, but it would be blessed by the sun later, as it rose high into the sky. Sheep milled, quiet and stupid, and the air was still and soft.
Anwen took an illicit pleasure at being up here, above the valley where the mountains began, in the stark silence while the men toiled in the valley below. She could see where they would be at work see the stacks of bales in some of the fields, waiting to be collected, see the parched yellow of fields that had been mown and parched in the sun. She could see a tractor moving like a beetle, crawling across the face of the world. The river was languid, glittering in the sun, and the tide was out, revealing the thick, dark mudbanks that lay low under the water
Nano Day 04It would all begin again tomorrow, in another field. Outside the hay elevator was rumbling, and the adults were still tossing the bales onto it to be stacked on top of the bounty in the barn. The stack was almost up to the corrugated iron roof that arched over them, red with rust, and later, perhaps, she and Idwal would forget that they were growing older and go out and clamber into the stacks and dig out dens and forts and hideaways where no one else would see them.
She and Idwal were inside, leaning against the cupboards in the kitchen, arms still trembling from the physical work, sweat chilling quickly on their skin now they were no longer working. They should go to get changed, but the trembling of arms and the fumbling fingers made it ridiculously impossible to do anything but to stand here, dazed with tiredness, watching their mother as she worked and replying with stock answers to questions that were barely heard. Anwen thought of her bed, and how soft it would feel tonight, and
Nano Day 03And then the week of haying began, when the weather was dry and brittle, and the billows of cut grass were light and dry in their rows on the ground, and nothing could be thought of but getting the hay in and the sheep continued in their fields, blindly ignorant of the fever of activity that was all for their sakes. And their father drove the grey, mud-spattered, thick-tyred tractor into the yard, and patted the metal arches over the great grey wheels, and said;
'Come on, the two of you. We need all the hands we can get.'
And Anwen and Idwal clambered on to the large, flat platforms, and each found a place to grip on the metal that vibrated and jerked under their fingers, and sat clinging on for dear life as their father drove the tractor along the rubble of the track towards the road. The baler was hitched on and towed behind, a monster waiting to consume hay and spit it out like owl pellets, a blessing that saved them from the chaos of haycocks and loose dry grass in bi