Snow in Winter
by Margaret Bacon
Copyright 2011 Margaret Bacon
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A great stillness hung over the dale. The distant fells slumbered in a haze of blue heat, while on the nearer hills the limestone scree quivered under the glare of the afternoon sun. Even the sheep were silent as they lay like boulders against the dry-stone walls. The beck, usually a quick and lively stream, crawled sluggishly down to the village, exposing muddy banks baked hard. The lane which wound its way between hills up to the dalehead was a grey ribbon of dust.
The village was deserted: from the church at one end to the Newboulds' farm at the other, nothing moved along the shimmering high street. In the centre, where the road widened and forked to embrace the green, the doors of The Curlew were closed and on the bench outside only a cat lay sleeping. In the village shop on the other side of the green, old Drinkwater sat on his high stool, surveying his merchandise with hooded eyes. Gaunt and watchful, he perched there in his black suit like a bird of prey; no customers came to disturb his vigil.