STOP PRESS

Pushing on towards the woods as his moment with the hens faded, Martin had an unfamiliar sense of confidence and control. He could hear running water before sudden shards of memory sliced sharp and brutal through his senses. They wiped out images of feathers and dust and warm sunlight and instead he felt his mother’s touch and heard his own whimpers drowned in the sound of running water. Close by a cow was drinking from a water trough with an automated filler on it. In the hissing gurgling sounds a long-dead voice whispered, ‘Let me help you.’ Martin felt again her touch steal wet and cold across the picture. An arctic cold bathroom, glittered with white tiles, the cold tap running, chilled menace. The voice. The sound of the water. Martin stopped dead in his tracks. He heard the surging sound now easing, as the cow finished drinking and stepped away. Martin was on his knees.