There's a thick, heavy, grey cloud lying from one end of the sky to the other. It feels like a an eiderdown up here on the mountain. Every now and then lightning sparks across the valley and thunder follows laughing behind it. The smell of wet dust is strong in my nostrils. It's darkened inside and I've put on the lights. The soft, gold glow illuminates the bunches of roses, baby's breath and Inca lilies that stand in milk jugs around the cottage. Huge, devastatingly beautiful bunches that I received for my birthday two days ago. The sound track to "Braveheart" is playing softly. An African thunderstorm to the lilting pipes, melting heartbreakingly in the afternoon dimness, creating an opening to the imagination and I could be anywhere in the world, in any era. Henry, the cat is curled up on the top of the sofa on his favourite blanket, the landlord's old, crusty retriever, Chandler, has strolled in to visit. He's lying near my feet watching the rain trickle down the stairs through the open door. Coffee is brewing and the aroma warms my heart.
And I write.
The words flow with an ease they haven't had for a few days. It doesn't take much for me to stand on that fictional wooden deck of the narrow-boat, Resin guns out and loaded, while we search for any sign of the assassin that's been hunting us for days. The trees curve over us, keeping the sun at bay. The horses in the hold are restless. The silence is deep. Birdsong has stopped. There are no small rustlings in the undergrowth along the tow -path. Something is out there. Something dark.