The women perched awkwardly in the mess of the living room. Lady had made a token attempt to stack the wreckage to one side, but her furniture was ruined. Kath had replaced the books – or at least, piled them up – and the few words they spoke echoed into the high corners of the almost completely empty room.
Half an hour later, there was a knock at the door. Lady glanced through the slats of the blind, and smiled – briefly, but brightly.
“Pes,” she said, her voice palpably relieved and oddly caressing. Kath glanced at her, but she was already hurrying into the hall to open the door and greet her visitor – her friend.
And for the second time in less than a week, Kath got to stare into the eyes of someone whose appearance took her breath away; this time, not with astonished glory, but with horror and pity.
Pes was a man, perhaps their age, perhaps a little older; tall, lanky, and dressed in a long, heavy greatcoat. But that didn’t even begin