Friday, 19 August 2011

The day they rode into the valley had been hot—the sun had cut like a white spike from above and the fields crackled, wavering in the heat. They rode down with the sharp, dust-filled wind that had so many times before blown across the grass flats without a hint of malice. Lùcia had just pushed her shovel into the skin of the earth when old Yarrow, bent-backed beside her, stopped in his work and straightened up slowly. His left hand twitched once and dropped lifeless to his side; he pulled his right hand up to shade his eyes. He stood perfectly still, his gaze dragging along the brown rows of plowed dirt, over the rusted wire fence, over pale yellow fields, towards the horizon; he strained, his gray eyes narrowing into frightening slits.
Lùcia tried to see what he saw. “What is it?”
“Nothing, bug.”
Lùcia aimed a kick at the shovel to drive it deeper and missed, smashing the soft part of her sole into the metal edge. She bit back a yell and dropped her shovel and hopped away on one foot.
Old Yarrow hadn’t moved.
Lùcia tested her foot on the ground and winced. “What is it, papa?”

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