It was dark outside when Beaton made his way back home. It was a long walk up to the quarry and along the meadows that skirted the valley side. The journey from his old home to the quarry had become a regular pilgrimage for him. And it did feel like it was his old home. He knew that things had changed forever, that he would not be allowed to go back to his old job. He was desperate to break free from what his life had become and for better or for worse he had done that. The woman’s body in the quarry would always be there, no matter what he did. Even if he had buried her in the deepest darkest hole, she would always be present in his mind from one waking day to the next. he seemed to be stepping back from a normal way of life. Creeping backwards into the shadow of the mines. Rubbing away the layers of himself until all that would be left was a phantom, a spectre that lived in the quarry on the hill. Down through the woods and past the old canal back out on to the streets of the town.
Beaton skirted around to the row of garages behind the terrace. He unlatched the gate and snuck into his own back garden. The moon reflected from the rooftops, a cold slate blue halation projected onto the tiles. The snow glowed bright amongst the shadows with an unnatural luminescence. His house looked strange, foreign. The water butt had been pushed back into place but the glass louvre panels were still on the ground covered by a thin layer of snowfall. The hole in the window had been boarded up with a sheet of chipboard. He looked at the window. It didn’t seem like his home at all. He couldn’t get into the house, his keys were still upstairs. He crept into the potting shed and sat down on a bag of compost. Inside smelt of cut pine and creosote, spiders webs clustered around the shelves and spun confused webs around the stacks of terracotta plant pots.