Snow is falling. Swirling specks of white dance through the icy air. The heavy, red sun sinks below a dark horizon and the sky is injected with the inky blue of impending night. Sirius the bright winter star twinkles like a fabulous jewel and distant carol singing can be heard coming from the church on the hill a mile away.
All this is lost to the six boys walking across the open field. Tomorrow is Christmas day and they talk about the presents they hope to unwrap, how much they will eat and whether they will sneak a swig of beer when everyone is falling asleep during the King’s speech on the radio. Suddenly out of the darkness behind them a voice shouts.
‘Help me. Help me.’
They are momentarily silent then stifle involuntary giggles. A moment later a more distressed scream rips through the air. The boys don’t giggle this time. The boys keep walking and the snow keeps falling until eventually the boys leave the field. Their footsteps in the snow are covered with new snow and it’s as if they’d never been there.