THE FIRST SOUND:
The first sound she made
every morning was a heavy expelling of breath that let the world know the exact weight of her burdens. It was a sound that put all who recognised it on alert, a melody that never altered, regardless of day or season, a song that made everyone who knew it turn inward for a second, mustering their joy in readiness to haul her out of her dark abis. Wo betide anyone who withheld their joy or skirted around the great hole, for that familiar expression of resigned exasperation would become a lasso, flung out with precision to pull them in.