Wind Doth Blow

Entry by: Nutcracker

24th February 2022
Under the Hill

'How many times have I told you-'
The door bangs behind the boy. There's no telling him. He's fifteen now, sure that he knows better than his mother. And angry. Mighty angry.

She's angry too, though she tries not to let the boy see it. Knows he has enough demons of his own. Would have, at his age, even if the man had not left them. Left them here three miles up the last valley in Wales, in a constant swirl of rain and wind.

The day they first saw the house it wasn't like that. They'd driven up into a haze of summer, pulled off their shoes and waded across the stream into a meadow where they'd lain back and gazed up into a blue that was almost unbearably pellucid. The man had pulled himself up, leant on one elbow and looked down at her:'A fresh start,' he'd said. And she'd believed his promises, because how could she not on such a day, in such a place?

She still believed in him when they arrived, even though the summer had passed and the first gusts of autumn blew in the door behind them and clustered in the chimney and howled in the night.

'It's nothing,' he said, pulling her close when she woke and whimpered. 'Old houses have creaks. This place has been standing for five hundred years. It'll outlive us.'

Next day the sun was back, but it lit the dust, made her see how much work they had to do. She had to do, for the man was off, away in the week.

'I'll sort it out,' he said, when they discovered there was no Broadband in the valley.

'For goodness sake don't go on about it,' he said, when she said she thought he'd checked that before they bought the place.

So she said no more, because there were enough other things to worry about, what with the boy turning into someone she didn't know.

'It's hormones,' the man said. 'He'll settle down.'

As if he knew. As if he saw. As if he cared.

She said that to him, because she was frightened, what with the man not being there, and the boy out roaming on the mountain instead of going to school, and her left alone with the crying of the wind.

'You don't realise,' she said.

He said he was doing his best, but she could tell there was something else. Someone else. She found receipts when she was sorting out clothes for washing, emptying pockets. It made him angry, her saying, her asking. And it was no good reminding him that he promised her a fresh start.

And then he left. In the darkest month.

'How could you do this to us?' she said.

'I'm sorry,' he said.

He held her, one last time, and he sobbed. But she pushed him away, told him to go, that they'd be better off without him. Outside the wind was howling. It made her laugh, the irony of it.

It's been weeks. She doesn't laugh much now. Watches as the rain and the wind buffet the house. But today, with the boy out, she makes a decision. Decides she will not let the man's weakness pull her down. When the boy comes back he'll be calmer, after shouting into the wind. She'll talk to him then, ask where he'd like to go. And they'll make a plan. A plan to get out from under this hill.

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