Part of the way through a new novel Silent Friends, a psychological thriller about music students set in flat English countryside.

I spent most of Saturday on campus, composing and practicing cello in the cells before thumbing a lift back in the late afternoon. Philippa and Aidan also disappeared for the day, emerging just as Dawn was preparing supper in the kitchen.

‘Let’s explore the house,’ Aidan said after supper.
‘Not a good idea,’ I said.
‘Why not?’ Dawn wanted to know.
‘It just seems like a stupid idea.’
‘We’ll take votes then,’ Paul said. ‘Who’s for exploring?’
 Everyone, apart from me, put up their hands.
‘The house it is,’ Paul said.

We shifted the bags of concrete and ventured into Charles and Annabel’s private lounge
again, playing duets on their grand piano and drinking wine, unaware that time was closing in around us like a hangman’s noose.

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