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It occurs to me that with all my grand talk of word counts and marketing brainstorms, you might think that it’s all an elaborate distraction and suspect that I am not actually writing anything for “Plank 3”.  Oh, but I am, and to prove it, here’s a tiny nibble:

I thought it was a cat at first.  Just as you turn into Norton Street there is a yard on the corner, used by a local blacksmith during the day.  At night he pulls an old wooden door across the entrance to keep out the curious, and as I walked past it I heard a high-pitched whimper.  Martha’s never that keen when I bring home stray animals, as she says – with some justification – that as soon as you get fond of them, they find their feet and leave you, but I had a look anyway, expecting to see a mother cat and some kittens.  Instead, as I inched the door to one side and peered into the yard, two very human eyes looked back at me from the shadows.

“Now then, who are you?” I asked.  “Come on, lad – you shouldn’t be in here.”

“I’m not a lad,” replied the girl with some difficulty, drawing in a breathe between each word.  “And I want my ma!”  With the last word came that whimper again.  Her hand shot out and grabbed hold of mine and squeezed with unexpected ferocity.  “Please, mister – get my ma!”

“Does she live near here?”  I asked.

The girl screwed her eyes shut and shook her head.  Again, that awful whimper, and I made up my mind.

“Well, I do,” I said, “and my wife’s at home and will know what to do.”  I bent down to the girl.  “Here: put your arm around my neck, and I’ll pick you up.”  She looked at me with uncertainty.  “I’m a constable – I look after people.”  Another whimper, and I scooped her up before she could object.  She was heavier than I expected, and by the time I reached home and kicked the door to call Martha, I was sweating.

So what do you think?  Does it make you want to read on?

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