The Sun's Companion

'Tamar Fell’s a bastard! Tamar Fell’s a bastard!’ Bertie McAffery was jumping up and down on the pavement in front of her, ginger hair flopping over his forehead, mouth pulled wide, screwed into a goggle-eyed gurning face as he taunted her. It was a warm afternoon and the bridge was crowded with children who’d come to watch the bigger boys dive into the river. Some of them took up the chant and soon they all seemed to be singing: ‘Tamar Fell’s a bastard! Tamar Fell’s a bastard!’ And then they began to recite a cruder rhyme - one that she hadn’t heard before. ‘Her mother’s a cunt, who went with a runt, and she’s another who’ll go like her mother!’ Every word was like a nail hammered into Tamar’s brain, forcing her to shout; ‘I’m not! I’m not! That’s not true!’ It wasn’t just what they were saying, but the injustice of it that hurt. It was true that she didn’t have a father - he’d died before she was born - but Sadie was Mrs Fell and wore a wedding ring and Tamar wasn’t illegitimate, whatever people said.

Tamar screwed her fists up tight until her whole body trembled with the effort. She would be fourteen next year - almost grown up - and it was very unladylike to fight. But she knew from past experience that words had no power against bullies like these. Her only hope was to keep her head down and ignore them. At that moment it seemed to Tamar that she’d spent her whole life keeping quiet in order to avoid trouble. She couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t felt anxious and wary. She burned to defend herself, to inflict some pain in revenge for the pain they inflicted on her, but she knew that if she lost her temper it would be a victory for her persecutors. ‘They’re just riff-raff!’ Sadie had once said when Tamar tried to confide in her. ‘Show them you’re above it. If you fight back you’re descending to their level.’

As she turned to walk away, Bertie made a rude sign with his fingers. Tamar knew that it was obscene, though she didn’t really understand why.

Her friend Dora said ‘You’re not going to let him get away with it, are you? Tamar, you’re so wet!’

Bertie heard her and stuck out his tongue, shouting ‘Scaredy cat! Scaredy cat!’

Something snapped inside Tamar’s head and she rushed at Bertie, taking him by surprise. He jumped up on the parapet to get out of the way. All the children were screaming now - ‘A fight! A fight! Go it Bertie! Belt the bastard!’ There was a red mist forming in Tamar’s head. The boy’s ankles were in front of her as he balanced on the parapet of the bridge. He was laughing at her. Hardly aware of what she was doing, she grabbed his toes and wrenched them backwards, digging her nails into his skin. He gave a tremendous shout, struggled to keep his footing and then, as Tamar pulled at his ankle, overbalanced and fell - not onto the pavement or into the deep pool beneath the central arch - but down, down, nearly fifteen feet into the shallow, rocky waters of the river below.

There was a terrible silence. Then a blonde haired girl was in front of Tamar shouting, ‘You’ve killed him, that’s what you’ve done. It’s murder and you’ll go to prison for ever and ever.’ People were already rushing down the steps beside the bridge and Tamar could see that a man had jumped into the water and was pulling Bertie’s limp body from the river. She had killed him. The pain in her stomach was almost unbearable. How could she have done somethin so stupid? So terrible. It was unendurable. Tamar looked at the shocked, accusing faces around her and turned and ran.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Anna sat alone in the front row of desks feeling the hostile eyes of the entire class on the back of her neck. No one would speak to her and she didn’t know why. Yesterday her best friend Elke Haagen who usually sat beside her had put up a hand and said, ‘Please Fraulein Muller, I request permission to sit at the back because of the unpleasant smell here.’ And to Anna’s astonishment, Fraulein Muller had told Elke that she could move her seat. Then Heidi Baumgarten in the desk on Anna’s right put up her hand and by the end of the morning, Anna was sitting alone. She noticed that Fraulein Muller didn’t look at her after that, and none of the other girls would talk to her in the playground. After school she walked home slowly on her own.

Elke Haagen was standing at the gate as she passed. ‘Go away,’ she said as Anna approached. ‘I can’t be friends with you anymore.’

‘Why?’ Anna asked indignantly. ‘What’s wrong with me?’

‘My dad says you’re a filthy Jew.’

‘But I’m not!’ Anna protested. ‘You know I’m not. It’s ridiculous!’

Elke shrugged. ‘My dad says Weissmann’s a Jewish name, and we don’t like Jews. They stink.’

Anna knew that this was true. They’d been taught in school that Jews were ugly and unclean, the parasites of society and a source of corruption. But surely this didn’t apply to her, or to her family? Her father had never mentioned anything about being Jewish, and her mother was English and went to the Lutheran church. At home that evening Anna waited for a suitable opportunity to ask her parents, but it never came. There was a strange atmosphere of anger and hostility. Her grandmother was upset. A letter had arrived telling her that Uncle Josef’s shop had been vandalised in Freiburg. ‘I don’t know what things are coming to,’ she said through her tears.

Things had begun to go wrong at the beginning of the summer. Willi Becker had come home on leave from the army, smart and important in his new uniform and he’d brought a kind of metropolitan glamour with him from the bierkellers of Munich. Most of the girls at school fancied him, except for Anna, who’d known him and his brother Klaus since they’d all been at Kindergarten together. The family lived next door and were as familiar to her as brothers and sisters. But Willi had changed. Anna noticed that he didn’t talk to her any more, scarcely looked in her direction, though he flirted outrageously with some of her friends, particularly Elke. There was a carelessness, an arrogance, about him that Anna found distasteful. She heard him saying that he thought his father was a liberal fool and that the old burgers of the Stadtrat who ran the town were going to have a shock. Then Granny Weissmann, who’d nursed him as a baby and given him dried apple rings and cinnamon pastries whenever he came into her kitchen, came back from the Bäckerei and said that just as she was going in, he’d pushed rudely past her. She’d slipped and fallen in the doorway and he’d stepped over her and walked on as if she wasn’t there.

‘Well!’ She kept saying, cradling her bruised elbow in her other hand. ‘What are things coming to?’

Willi had been with Herr Becker when Anna and her father met them in the market square a couple of weeks ago and Anna’s father had asked him, very kindly, how he liked the army. Willi pretended not to hear and walked off without replying. Herr Becker clapped his hand on her father’s shoulder and said, ‘I’m sorry. Young people . . . you know what they’re like.’ And he shrugged, shamefaced before he followed Willi. But then Anna noticed that Frau Becker didn’t come and talk to her grandmother anymore and when she walked into town she walked on the opposite side of the street.

Anna also noticed that her parents had begun to argue more often. Not the noisy unresolved quarrels Anna was used to when her mother moaned about not being able to get soft white bread, the lack of plumbing and having to live with her mother-in-law and not having enough money. These were serious arguments conducted in hushed voices. Once Anna overheard her father say in English, ‘There is nothing for us in England. It is not possible. Our livelihood is here.’ There were tearful scenes that froze the instant Anna entered the room and whenever her parents were together the atmosphere seemed tense.

At school some of the boys had begun to appear in little black shorts and brown shirts until, one by one, almost all of them were in uniform. Only two boys in Anna’s year were still wearing their ordinary clothes. One day these boys were called to the head teacher’s office and they didn’t come back. Someone whispered that they’d heard him saying ‘We want only patriots here.’

Today, sitting alone at the front of the class, Anna felt nervous and vulnerable. Something was happening that she didn’t understand and didn’t know how to control.

In the break, Anna stood in a corner of the playground wondering how long she was going to be able to endure this enforced isolation. She’d known all these children since kindergarten, gone to youth camps with them, visited their houses. Soon, surely someone would tell them the truth and then they would realise how unjustly they were treating her? A group of boys came towards her laughing, but Anna knew instinctively that they meant to harm her. With rising panic she saw the boys spread out so that she couldn’t escape. She realised too late that she was caught in the angle between the toilets and the boundary fence which was too high to climb. She was trapped.

They came so close she could smell the sweat on their bodies as they pressed her back against the rough wood. Anna kicked and bit and lashed out with her elbows in an attempt to evade the hands that tried to pin her down. But someone wrenched her arm behind her back and then two of the bigger boys caught hold of her by the hair and dragged her into the toilet block. They weren’t proper toilets, just a wooden seat with a hole in it and a chute that carried everything down to a muck heap which was eventually taken away and spread on the fields. When Anna had been a small child, she’d been terrified of those black holes, nauseated by the smell and desperately afraid that some demon would rise up and pull her down into the suffocating filth beneath. The boys picked her up, twisted her arms and pushed her head down the chute so that the smell of shit rose like a taste into her mouth.

‘That’s where Jews go,’ they shouted and then chanted. ‘Jew, Jew, Jew.’

Anna was exhausted with struggling. Just as she thought she would pass out with the stench, Klaus Becker, Willi’s brother, came into the toilet. He was one of the older boys now - almost old enough to leave and work on the farm with his father.

‘Let her go,’ he said quietly. 'That’s enough.’

To Anna’s relief they released their hold on her arms and she was able to struggle to her feet, coughing and spitting.

‘Out,’ he said to the boys with such a menacing tone that they left the toilet meekly. Anna began to stammer out her thanks but stopped as he turned to face her and she saw that the expression on his face was not sympathetic at all, but ugly. Klaus kicked the door shut behind him so that Anna couldn’t get out, moved towards her and began to unbuckle his leather belt.

‘Now I will show you what we do to Jews!’ he said.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



Tamar ran and ran through the dusty streets until she had a stitch in her side and her head ached. Ugly pictures kept appearing in her brain; Bertie McAffery’s pale white body lying in the river; the shocked expressions on the faces around her. What would they do to her? Why, oh, why had she lost her temper like that? When the church clock struck six Tamar reluctantly dragged herself back to the lodging house where she lived with her mother. Sadie would be home from work. She would know what to do.

The front door was open and Sadie was standing on the step, looking anxiously out into the street. There was a policeman beside her. Tamar wondered what would happen to her now. Her heart was pounding so much she thought it would burst out of her chest.

Sadie looked grave. ‘What have you done?’ she asked, inclining her head towards the policeman. ‘He says you pushed a boy off the bridge. It doesn’t sound like you at all.’

‘I tried to thump him. He was standing on the parapet . . and then he just fell over. I didn’t mean to kill him.’ Tamar burst into tears.

Sadie put her arm around her and gave Tamar a quick hug. ‘It’s all right,’ she said gently. ‘He broke his leg and he’s got concussion, but he’ll live.’

As Tamar sobbed against Sadie’s shoulder, relief burned so fiercely inside her head that she felt dizzy.

‘She doesn’t look as if she’d hurt a fly,’ the policeman said. He seemed surprised.

‘They were calling me names - horrible things.’

‘What kind of names?’ the policeman asked.

It was the question Tamar had been dreading. ‘They said I was . . .’ She hesitated, looking at Sadie. But Sadie nodded encouragingly and Tamar had to go on. ‘They called me a bastard. And there was a horrible rhyme they kept repeating.’ Her face felt hot and swollen from crying.

Sadie’s arms tightened around her. ‘It’s all right.’ Her voice sounded strange. ‘You don’t have to say any more. It’s all over now.’

Behind Sadie’s shoulder, Tamar could see the landlady, Miss Simpson, hovering in the kitchen doorway.

‘I think you’d better come in,’ she said in a very sharp tone of voice. ‘Standing out there on the step like that! I don’t know what the neighbours are going to think.’

Sadie pulled a face only Tamar could see, then she turned to the policeman and said, ‘Won’t you come in?’ as if he was a Sunday guest. She ushered him into the parlour asking ‘Would you like a cup of tea?’ Then she turned to Tamar, saying over her shoulder: ‘You go up to bed, you look all in. I’ll bring you something later.’

Sadie went into the parlour with the policeman. Tamar sat shivering on the stairs. She heard Sadie telling him what a gentle girl she was - she couldn’t understand it. But of course it was an accident. Then she heard Sadie saying how difficult it was to bring up a child alone, her voice thickening as if she was about to cry. Through the crack in the door she could see the policeman patting her shoulder and hear him saying ‘There, there, my dear’ in a rather embarrassed kind of voice. As he stood up to go, Tamar slipped upstairs, took off her outer clothing and climbed between the sheets. Shortly afterwards she heard the front door thud shut and then raised voices in the kitchen. One of them Miss Simpson’s. When Sadie came upstairs with a mug of Ovaltine and a plate of toast she looked flushed and her eyes were sparking.

‘Is it going to be all right?’ Tamar asked.

Sadie nodded. She sat down on the edge of the bed and her shoulders drooped as if she was tired. ‘You mustn’t mind what people say, Tamar. I know it’s hard, but words can’t hurt you. Just say “sticks and stones” to yourself when people call you names. Sometimes you just have to close your ears.’

‘Will this mean we have to move again?’ Tamar asked.

A strange shadow passed over Sadie’s face. ‘Of course not,’ she said firmly. But her voice sounded weary. And then she shrugged. ‘If we do, it won’t be because of you.’


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~



When Klaus let her go, Anna lay motionless with her eyes shut while he fastened his shorts and clattered the door to behind him. Then, slowly, she pulled herself to her feet. Her whole body shook. She cleaned the blood and slime from her legs with paper and put on her pants which had been thrown into a corner. The logical part of her mind still functioned, she realised with surprise, was still capable of decisions. ‘I’m still alive,’ Anna said out loud. Her voice sounded detached, oddly calm.

Lessons had restarted when Anna went outside and the yard was deserted. She took her coat and bag from her peg in the cloakroom and went out of the school gate. For the next hour Anna wandered the streets, the space between her legs raw, her stomach aching. She could feel painful bruises beginning to appear on her arms but her mind was numb and she was unable to answer any of the questions that came into it. What was she to tell her parents? How could she explain that she couldn’t go back to school?

Feeling lost and miserable, Anna wound her way up the path towards the upper pastures, still rimed with frost, and wandered, shivering, through the pine forest that clothed its lower flank. Partenkirchen lay below her like a fairy tale town bathed in afternoon sunshine. She could see the Gasthof that her parents owned, the Becker’s farm next door and the street of more imposing houses where the doctor and the wealthy burghers lived - Wilhelmstrasse, which was also the home of the two Miss B’s who gave Anna lessons in English and painting.

Anna had lived in Partenkirchen all her life, except for a few months when she was five or six and her mother had taken her to stay with her grandparents in England. Her mother talked about it sometimes, nostalgically.

‘Do you remember the time we took you to the Spanish City?’ she would ask, and when Anna shook her head, she would sigh and look sad. Anna could remember walking along a street holding a candy floss in both hands carefully trying to bite into it without getting any of the pink sugar stuck to her nose or in her hair and walking straight into a lamp post because she couldn’t see where she was going. She could still see the blackness behind her eyes, feel the hot bump on her forehead, and she could remember being taken by someone to stand outside a big stone building to wave at her mother, who was peering out of a window on one of the upper floors. Anna had not been told at the time, but knew now, that this was just after her mother had lost the baby who would have been her brother - a six month still birth. These two incidents were all Anna could remember of her stay in England, the rest was a blank space.

It disappointed Anna’s mother, who was homesick and lonely. Mrs Weissmann found the German language difficult and had never learnt more than a few essential phrases, consequently she had few friends and those almost wholly among the small English community. To everyone in Partenkirchen, she was always ‘the Englishwoman’, a designation that set her apart - but one that she was proud of. Anna, only half English, felt she was being pulled in two directions, part of a mysterious battle that was being fought between her parents. Anna couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t spoken German. She thought in German, dreamt in German. If it hadn’t been necessary to speak English to her mother at home, she would quickly have forgotten it. Mrs Weissmann had been horrified to find that, by the time she was ten, Anna had begun to forget what she considered was her daughter’s native language. So, three years ago, Anna had begun to go twice a week after school to the two English ladies who lived in the big house on the corner of Wilhelmstrasse. Miss Bateman and Miss Beatham.

Barbara Beatham, thin and tall, wore long, heavy woollen skirts even in summer, Edwardian blouses with leg o’mutton sleeves and tight, buttoned jackets braided at the cuffs. Hester Bateman was almost as wide as she was tall and even more eccentric than her companion. She ventured out in tweed knickerbockers, a man’s Tyrolean jacket and long woollen socks, with what she called a gamekeeper’s cape thrown over the whole. It was a bizarre sight watching them walk along the street together - Barbara taking elegant strides, Hester lurching from side to side in an attempt to keep up. Anna gave them English nicknames to fit their initials - Honey Bee and Bumble Bee. The Two Bees. One of them - it would have been impolite to ask which - had come to Partenkirchen for a weakness of the lungs, to stay at the sanatorium perched above the town. The other had come to keep her friend company. Finding that the climate suited their health, they had stayed. There was family money, Anna’s father had explained, that made it possible for them to live without having to work

Their house was as extraordinary as its occupants. In direct contrast to the heavy, hand carved wooden furniture of Anna’s own home, theirs was flimsy and delicate. There were silver ornaments, photographs, bone china figurines and shelves and shelves of books. Every afternoon they had English tea from a silver teapot, drunk from shell-thin porcelain cups, and ate scones with butter and French preserves. Almost everything was sent out from England in Fortnum and Mason hampers. Sometimes they would give Anna half a dozen hot scones wrapped in a napkin to take back to her mother. At first, Miss Beatham taught Anna about English literature and the grammar of the written word. Then quite by accident Miss Bateman had seen one of her drawings - a piece of paper with a rough sketch of the houses on the main street with their long verandas and deep, carved eaves, that Anna had tucked into the back of an exercise book and forgotten.

‘Who did this?’ Miss Bateman asked and when Anna admitted that she had drawn it, became quite excited. She made Anna draw the bowl of flowers on the table, watching over her shoulder as Anna moved the pencil swiftly across the paper. She and Miss Beatham pored over the quick sketch for a long time. ‘You have a considerable gift,’ Miss Bateman said at last. ‘A natural, unspoilt talent for observing and recording.’

Hester Bateman explained that she herself was actually a water-colourist and had gone to a college in London to study art when she was young, but had been unable to finish her studies. ‘It was a waste,’ she said. ‘Your talents must not be wasted.’ So the two Bees paid a visit to Anna’s family. Her mother was curiously against it.

‘She’s supposed to be improving her English,’ Mrs Weissmann said. ‘What use is art?’

But Anna’s father was supportive. ‘If she has a gift, then she should be encouraged. Though where we’re to find the money, I don’t know.’

But soon it was agreed that, in addition to the English class, which would continue to be paid for, Miss Bateman would give Anna lessons free of charge in drawing and water-colour and art history. Books were dragged out of trunks and pored over on the polished tables - paintings and colours that Anna had never dreamed might exist. She had never seen anything other than a couple of prints her mother had on the living room wall, or illustrations in story books.

Gradually the English literature began to slip, two days a week became three and soon she went every day after school for an hour, to read, talk, draw. Miss Bateman lent her Ruskin’s Elements of Drawing and Anna began to work her way painfully through the exercises, hatching and cross-hatching, line and form, light and shade, the principles of perspective. Anna’s life had suddenly been filled with urgency and excitement. Summer was her least favourite season because she had to help her family in the Gasthof and there was little time for drawing or painting. But in the winter when the snow clogged the roads and the days shortened, she could spend hours in her room wearing woollen gloves with the finger ends cut out, copying the pictures in the books lent to her by the Two Bees. Her life had swung in a happy rhythm. Until now.

Anna heard the chimes of the school bell echoing up the walls of the valley. It was time to go down. Instinctively she walked in the direction of Wilhelmstrasse but as she turned into the street, she saw Willi Becker and his friend Hans Muller standing outside the Bees' house. They were wearing their uniforms and smoking cigarettes, standing with their backs to her, facing the other end of the street - the direction she usually took when she came from school. Anna stood quite still. She couldn’t explain why, but she had a feeling that they were waiting for her. Quietly she turned back, slipping out of sight behind someone’s winter wood pile. She would have to go home another way.

When she reached the Gasthof, she opened the door slowly and dragged herself into the warm kitchen. She felt so cold her bones ached with it and her stomach felt hollow. Anna hoped that neither her mother nor her grandmother would ask any questions about her day at school. But the chair beside the stove, usually occupied by Anna’s grandmother, was empty, and her mother was standing at the table with her heavy winter coat on. Two bags bulging with clothes and a number of other articles parcelled up in brown paper were stacked beside the stove.

‘Keep your coat on, Anna.’ Mrs Weissmann said tersely, and went on cutting slabs of rye bread, reaching a sausage down from its hook on the ceiling and slicing it between the thick, dark wedges.

‘Where are we going?’

‘Never you mind.’

‘Where’s Gran?’

‘She’s gone to Freiburg with your father to see Uncle Joe.’

‘What’s happening?’ Anna asked, holding her hands in front of the stove to warm them. There was something in the nervous haste of her mother’s actions and the way she spoke that alarmed Anna and made the pit of her stomach flutter. Had the family discovered what had happened to her? For a moment Anna thought she was going to be sick with shame.

Mrs Weissmann was wrapping the sandwiches in oiled paper, but she paused and turned wearily towards Anna. ‘We’re going on a visit to your other grandparents. But you mustn’t say anything to anyone.’

‘We’re going to England?’ Anna was incredulous. ‘Today? Aren’t we going to wait to say goodbye to Papa or Gran?’ She was horrified.

‘Anna, please don’t be difficult, not today. We can’t say goodbye to anyone.’ Her mother’s voice was sharp with desperation. ‘I can’t explain. We have to go and we have to go now.’ As she grasped Anna by the arms and pushed her towards the door, Mrs Weissmann’s hands were shaking violently.

‘Wait!’ Anna said, her mind whirling with confused thoughts. ‘There’s something I have to get.’ She twisted herself out of her mother’s grasp and ran up the steep wooden stairs to her bedroom - a narrow loft above the kitchen. She stood for a few moments in the quiet room, breathing hard to quell the panic that made her head too dizzy to think. Then she opened a drawer and took out her sketch book and pencils and from the shelf above it a book of Renaissance prints that had been a present from Miss Bateman. She pushed them both inside her coat, tightened her belt with fingers curiously numb and clumsy and took a long look round the room that had been hers for the last thirteen years.

Mrs Weissmann’s voice called urgently up the stairs. ‘Hurry, hurry!’ She sounded desperate with anxiety. Everything was confused in Anna’s head like the whirling flakes inside the glass snowstorm that stood on her bedside table. It had been a present from her grandmother for her seventh birthday. Anna reached out and put it in her pocket, feeling the weight of it swelling the fabric out into a huge bulge against her hip. When Anna came down again, her mother grabbed her arm and swept out of the house, letting the door thump to behind them without even locking it. She pulled Anna along the street so fast she could scarcely keep her feet. Past the end of Wilhelmstrasse and down towards the railway station. There were soldiers standing in a little group just outside the entrance and Anna felt her mother hesitate. The hand gripping Anna’s arm trembled. Anna had never been aware before of so many soldiers, so many policemen in Partenkirchen. Her heart almost stopped beating. Was this something to do with her? Was this what her mother was so afraid of?

‘Say nothing,’ her mother whispered. ‘Just walk past.’

To Anna’s relief the soldiers didn’t even turn their heads as they passed through the turnstile onto the platform where the small branch line train sat smoking and belching.

‘Ask for two tickets to Nuremberg,’ Anna’s mother breathed into her ear. ‘Quickly!’

‘Zwei Fahrkarten nach Nürnberg, bitte,’ Anna said obediently, passing over the money her mother gave her.

They scrambled aboard the train with only seconds to spare before the carriage shuddered and groaned and began its slow, grinding descent from the mountain valley to the plain below. There, they had to change to a mainline express and at Köln they changed again for a destination Anna couldn’t even pronounce. The train was so crowded it was difficult to get through the door and once inside, impossible to find a seat. They sat on their bags in the corridor, squeezed against each other by the cram of people.

‘Don’t talk to anyone, no matter what they say to you.’ Anna’s mother said, her manner so severe that Anna became really frightened. ‘And if you have to speak at all, speak only in English. Only English do you hear?’

Anna’s mouth was so dry she could only nod, and for the rest of the long journey she kept silent. Every now and then, some official or other would force his way into the carriage to look at their tickets and Anna’s mother would wave her passport in front of him saying ‘English, English’ and they would nod curtly and move on. Anna slept a lot, particularly when it became dark and the rhythm of wheel on rail lulled her into unconsciousness, slumped against the rough woollen shoulder of her mother’s coat.

Once when the train stopped she was sleepily aware that there was shouting - some sort of argument. Anna opened her eyes and saw two guards pushing an elderly man in a dark hat and woollen overcoat. One of them snatched the bundle he held under his arm and threw it out of the door. He was protesting, pleading and then the other guard hit him, hard across the face. Anna’s mother, realising she was awake, put her hand over Anna’s eyes and pulled her closer, holding her very tight. There was more shouting, the sound of the train door banging, someone crying, and then the train jerked and began to move again.

‘We’re going home, Anna,’ her mother murmured. 'Home.’

Anna didn't reply. Home to her was a small town in the clear light of the Alps. Every puff of smoke from the funnel was taking her further and further away from everything she loved.


© Kathleen Jones