Maisie and her mother Jeanie sat nervously at the kitchen table. Thomas, Maisie’s father and husband to his long-suffering wife Jean was late home from his Friday market. Both knew what this meant. Red-eyed the younger children had all been sent to bed top to toe in the back room despite the eldest boy Declan’s protest and all of their cries.
Eight o’clock came and went, Maisie picked up the shovel and scuttle and skipped out the door. She turned left along the ash and cinder path around the side of the cottage to the woodshed. She would need to pick up some more slabs of peat turf for the fire. They were getting low, she realised, and she would have to remind her mother when she got back indoors.
As she was picking up the turfs she heard the wooden garden gate squeal then close with a loud bang. It must be her father. Clasping the scuttle to her breast she ran back to greet him. She stopped, he was standing with one hand resting on the low wall staring up at the darkening night sky. “Dad, dad, “ cried Maisie and rushed to hug him but he brushed her away and stumbled his way to the front door muttering words that she couldn’t understand.
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