The breeze cavorted about, tussling his hair and tugging playfully at his clothes. It brought the scent of bread to his nose and, to his ears, the tinkling laughter of his little brothers as they ran through the tall grass. He watched them, smiling, as he heaved another log onto the block. The axe was comfortable in his hands, sitting within his calluses snugly as he hefted it into the air. He swung and the axe crashed through the log. He stopped to wipe the sweat from his brow before it could sting his eye, and felt a droplet of sweat trickling down the small of his back. He regretted not bringing his hat out, but now he was here he would finish the job. His heart beat hard in his chest and his temple throbbed.

"Bring your brothers in for lunch now," he heard his mother call, "and don't forget to wash up. Did you hear me, Charles?"


Charles sat up abruptly, his eyes flying open. He felt his heart beating hard, but no… That must just be a memory.

The remnants of his dream were floating away and he had trouble fully remembering it. Laughter came to him as though from far away and he could still feel the heat bearing down on him.

He shuddered.

He rubbed his smooth, manicured hands and felt how sweaty they were. Sweaty was uncomfortable, unusual. He wiped his hands on his bed sheets, and noticed they were not the ones he had gone to sleep under. He jumped a little, scrambling up the bed and sitting on the pillows.

He looked around.

"Charlie! You up yet?"