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MORNING SERIAL; Until Our Blood Is Dry by Kit Habianic.

Byline: Kit Habianic

AN owl hooted portents up in the elds, unnerving in a night as thick and warm as soup. He was dozing o when he heard footsteps running towards him. Hands slammed his shoulders, shoved him backwards.

'Come to dish out more, have you?' Matt loomed over him. ' 'Despicable, holding an old 'I oman prisoner at home.' 'I wasn't' 'Bad enough getting shunned ' and picketed, but Mam's had a guts-full of the grati and silent phone calls.' Matt stank of ale and sweat ' and fear, his eyes were sunken and rimmed red. Scrapper almost felt sorry for his butty.

Everything he knew about Mining, he had learned from Matt Price: the dierence between the moaning of rocks settling into position and the rumble of rocks about to drop. how to hold a pickaxe and hold His drink.

He stood, rubbing the elbow 'Ithat broke his fall.

'I need to know why, Matt.' ''Aye, cos you'll understand.' ' 'How the f*** can I, if you won't say?' Matt didn't answer. ' 'You've not got the balls toexplain, have you, Matthew Price? You got no balls, no backbone, no loyalty to your butties.' 'Loyalty,' Matt echoed.

* 'Yes, loyalty. All of us lookedout for you. Fed you, stood you drinks. You've thrown all of it back in our faces.' Matt balled his sts. Scrapper ' braced himself to get hit a second time. Maybe he'd hit back, just this once, since Iwan wasn't here to stop him. Or maybe he'd hang his hands by his sides, let his butty do his worst. No pasting could hurt more than the dull ache sunk deep beneath his skin. But Matt held back, a look on his face that Scrapper couldn't read.

'I'm f***ing sick of it all. Sick of pointing ngers, of walking around with my head bowed.' His self-pity robbed Scrapper of breath.

''en get the f*** back behind the strike,' he struggled to get the words out. 'Every last one of the boys would welcome you back with open arms. It's not too late, Matt.' Matt laughed bitterly. ' 'Are you stupid or deluded kid?' Until Our Blood Is Dry by Kit >Habianic is published by Parthian at PS9.99 CONTINUES TOMORROW
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Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Jun 25, 2014
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