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فصل 01

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  • زمان مطالعه 4 دقیقه
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متن انگلیسی فصل

CHAPTER ONE

Angus Fleming looked out the train window at the brown, green and grey colours of the Scottish countryside. Rain streaked the glass, and the tops of the hills merged into the clouds. He was on his third train of the day on his long journey home to Tarbert, on Harris.

He was having second thoughts about the trip: he hadn’t been home for a long time and was only going now because his mother had asked him to come, which was unusual for her. He felt guilty for not visiting more often, but found it difficult to tear himself away from his life in Edinburgh. He normally had an excuse, and his mother never complained. This time, however, she had been insistent.

Angus sighed and turned back to the book Susie had given him as a present for the journey. He briefly thought about sending her a text but knew she’d be busy at work - she was a police officer so never had a quiet day at the office. She worked with Ross, his best friend from university. He had met her through Ross and until recently she had only been a friend. After the Arthur’s Seat case that had changed.

He tried to read but quickly turned back to the view outside the window, which was impressive despite the dreich day. He couldn’t concentrate on one thing, his mind was busy with other things: how his new book would be received, whether Susie would cope with Jessie, and why his mother wanted to see him. This last question bothered him the most and he sighed again. Maybe he should have flown.

A few hours later Angus was standing on the ferry deck waiting for it to leave.

The November wind was biting and he pulled his coat more tightly around him. At last they set sail and he turned to go back inside and warm up. As he did, another man standing further along the rail caught his eye - he looked exactly like someone from school, Stephen McLeod. The McLeod’s had lived on Harris for years, but Stephen had left for London when he was 18 and had, according to local gossip, never returned. His presence on the same ferry was possible but unlikely.

Angus rubbed his eyes, yawned and decided it couldn’t be him. He hurried into the warmth of the ship for a cup of much-needed tea and quickly forgot about the figure looking out to sea.

Night had already fallen when they docked at Tarbert. Angus was the first person off the ferry and was soon walking towards the home he had grown up in. Even in the dark the place looked the same and for all his initial reluctance he couldn’t help but feel a burst of excitement about being home.

As he passed the door of the local shop, he waved in at Mrs Muir and knew it wouldn’t be long before half the village knew he was home. That thought reminded him of the man who had looked so familiar on the ferry - if it was Stephen, someone would know and he’d be sure to find out soon enough.

He hesitated a second at his mother’s door before opening it without knocking - as usual it was unlocked.

“Hi Mum, I’m here,” he called out as he took off his rucksack and boots.

A voice from the kitchen replied, “Hi son, I’m in here. Tea’s almost ready.”

With his coat still on, he strode into the kitchen, bent down to give the small but sturdy woman at the stove a kiss and turned to put the kettle on. Like the village, nothing had changed in the house and the delicious smell of his mother’s cooking took him back, as it always did, to when he was still a child.

He hung his coat over a chair, then poured the tea, laid the table and sat down. It was only as his mum put his food in front of him that she returned his kiss.

“It’s good to see you, Angus. Now eat up before it gets cold.”

Angus smiled, “It’s good to be back.” And tucked in to the hot broth in front of him.

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