Iain Kelly

She brought the axe down on the bird’s neck. The body, until then a squirming, panicked, struggling handful went limp. The last few feathers floated to the ground and all was still.

She wiped the sweat from her brow. The sun continued to beat down relentlessly. They all said the weather would break soon, it had to. Jacobs, MacDonald and Guthrie at the Mill all swore they had never seen a season like it.

The other crofts, with fields on the wetter ground down near the burn still clung to hope that a downpour could salvage their yield.

It was too late for their crop this year. The fields were a dusty carpet, the gentle breeze creating small clouds of dried earth floating over the cracked soil. The few stalks that had broken the surface were dry, brown and shrivelled. They were all that remained of the toil and effort…

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