‘Inteachán.’ Mac woke with a start. ‘She is hurt and needs me.’

Mac opened his eyes. It was early morning and the fires were strangely low. The air wasn’t filled with ash like always. Gilly slept beside him. And Iseult beside him. No-one stirred. The courtyard was suspiciously silent. Normally, the boiler suits would be rousing everyone by now. Kicking out and cracking the whip. Shouting and swearing.

‘Get up, you lazy idiots.’

‘The lorries are on their way.’

‘Get your stupid asses out of bed.’

Mac was confused. After weeks of relentless sameness something different was hard to understand.

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