Paul Webster has come out the army after a twenty-two year stretch with a trick hip and no idea what to do with his life. He takes a few weeks walking along the Welsh coast to get his head on straight.
Kevin Davies is a veterinary nurse and an artist. He's getting lonelier and lonelier in his cottage on the edge of the sea, kept company by his cats and a friendly flock of crows.
What happens when the two men hunker down together to wait out a wild March gale?
When Kevin looked up again it was because the light was going. It had been overcast all day of course, but the oncoming evening combined with the stormclouds meant that even this usually light-filled perch was starting to strain his eyes.
He’d done the best that he could with this one, he though, running a thumb over the grey lines of the picture. Waves rolled in off the page, mirroring the storm outside. In front of them stood Web, surrounded by the Murder, dipping and tumbling on the wind. Kevin had drawn him laughing.
He didn’t know if he’d seen him laughing properly yet.
Honestly, he couldn’t get the man out of his mind and he’d only known him going on twenty-four hours.
Said man was watching him over the top of his tablet, brown eyes curious. “Welcome back,” he said.
Kevin laughed. “Sorry,” he said. “I get into a bit of a fugue sometimes.”
“Can I see?” Web’s voice was diffident.
“Of course.” Kevin handed the sketchbook over to him.
“Sorry,” he said. “I should probably have asked first, before I started putting you in all my pictures.”
Web shook his head. “No, it’s fine,” he said. “Really. I’m flattered.” He examined the picture carefully, tilting it toward the remaining light coming in from the windows. “You draw the crows a lot,” he said. “I saw, downstairs, on the walls.”
Kevin nodded. “Yeah. It’s my thing, I guess? I don’t know why. And it’s for my own pleasure. So what does it matter if my repertoire’s a bit limited? He shrugged.
“This isn’t a limited repertoire,” Webster said to him, tracing the feathers on one of the pencil-crow’s wings with a finger. “It’s beautiful.”
Kevin felt himself blushing.
“I need to go and put some potatoes in to go with tea,” he said, busying himself unwrapping himself from the blankets and cushions. He nodded out of the window. “It’s not getting any better out there, is is?”
Webster shook his head, putting the sketch-pad down and looking out. “Nope.” He was succinct. “Pretty bad.”
“It’s supposed to go on all night.” Kevin padded over to the door and switched on the light.
“Bollocks,” he said. “I was afraid of that.”
“Power gone?” Web asked, unnecessarily.
“Yeah. Occupational hazard. We’re okay for heat and food and stuff because the range is solid fuel. I made a point of keeping it that way when I moved in. Annoying though.”