The road trailed away into the distance, winding this way and that until it swerved to the left, disappearing from vision altogether. To one side lay a muddy scrap of forest, and to the other a huge field that wore a cloak of parched, uneven grass. She had told me not to expect an idyllic countryside scene, but somehow it was proving difficult to reconcile this rundown patch of land with the image my mind had put together.
That evening the air was thick with heat, a sultry blanket reverberating with the drone of countryside insects and wrapping itself tightly around every living creature it could find. The colours of the sky had bled into one another to form a messy canvas awash with milky yellows and soft reds as we drew closer and closer to nightfall. Even our hair was damp with perspiration. Stopping to take a breath and wipe the thin film of sweat from my forehead, I turned my head to watch her. Her eyes were narrower than usual, and from the rigid way in which she was holding hers