By Kate Kelly
Read by Alasdair Stuart
I could see the fear in her eyes, and I drew back into the thickets of thorns and nettles, watching her. She was the first person I had seen in the lane for many years, one of the village children, one of the innocents. I did not wish to frighten her, and I felt my loneliness rush in on me like a tide. But she fled, a scrabble of scuffed shoes on the loose stones and she was gone, running through the meadow grass and buttercups, scattering the sheep in her haste. I drifted back into the shadows and wallowed in remorse.
The girl must have told them about me, for the children came back, the boys leading the way, goading, teasing, daring each other to be brave, the girls hanging back in the long grass. They came up to the bank, laughing, throwing stones into the shadows; but stones can’t hurt me, not any more.