Llwybyr Hughes stepped back from the fire and held his hands out to be warmed. He was shirtless and stood with his eyes closed, rubbing his palms together.
When the door was kicked open, he lunged for the poker but fumbled and dropped it and turned instead with his fists.
'I knew,' he said. 'One day. I knew.'
The first man cracked him on the jaw and the second knocked him down. Dust from his own carpet spored into his face. A girl came into the room and the three of them hooded him, taped his hands and dragged him into the boot of a car.
Hughes roared as the boot slammed. He heard the car doors shutting and the engine rumbling through the chassis.
The journey took twenty minutes and then the boot opened and Hughes was hauled out, marched across mud into a house, up a staircase and onto a chair and his hood was removed.
He was in the bathroom of a farmhouse similar to his own. The girl and one of the men were standing and the second man had pulled up a chair opposite him. This man looked at Hughes for several seconds and then said,
'Do you know who we are?'
'All the same,' said Hughes. 'You're all the fucking same bastards.'
'No,' said the man. 'We're not. We're not all the same. I don't know who else you might have had trouble with, but whoever they were, they weren't us. They were fucking boy scouts.'
'Come on then, bastard,' Hughes yelled. 'Come on then.'
The man ignored him. He said, 'You don't look the type who ploughs a field no more, so how did you find them?'
'Find fucking what?'
The man glanced up at one of the others. 'Start filling the bath, Oll' he said.
Olwyn Cleaves nodded and spun the taps. As the water discharged, she heard Trevor Nairn raise his voice and say to Hughes, 'Don't fuck me about. What were you doing? A bit of digging? The dog bury a bone?'
Hughes said, 'Jess! Where's Jess?'
Nairn shook his head. 'No,' he said. 'You're right. It doesn't matter how you found them. What matters is what you did next.'
Hughes began to speak but was cut short by Olwyn Cleaves and Clee Watkins who pulled him up and held his head under the water, cracking his temple against a tap as they did so.
'Be a bit more bloody careful,' said Trevor Nairn. 'We don't want him to lose any more brains.'
They held him under for fifteen seconds and then they pulled him out and sat him down and Trevor Nairn slapped his face. 'Come on you old cunt,' he said. 'Fucking talk to me.'
Hughes shook his head and screamed and didn't say anything.
Nairn said, 'What did you do when you found the guns? Did you tell anyone before you went to the cops? Who did you tell?' When Hughes still didn't respond, Nairn grabbed him by the hair and shook his head. 'Who did you fucking tell?!?'
'Didn't find anything,' gasped Hughes. 'Don't have anything.'
Olwyn said, 'He probably couldn't tell you what he fucking did yesterday.'
Nairn let go of Hughes' hair and settled in his seat. 'Do him again.'
They held Hughes under for twenty seconds this time. This time when they pulled him up, he regurgitated water and bellowed and retched. They knocked him around and sat him back down and Nairn screamed, 'Who did you fucking tell, you old cunt? Who did you fucking tell?'
Hughes whooped air and cried and spat onto the floor. 'I don't know why I picked up the gun,' he said. 'I didn't tell no-one.'
'No fucker at all? Bollocks. You think I'm a cunt? You think we're going to stop in a minute? We'll take as long over you as we fucking want to.'
'No-one to tell,' said Hughes, coughing. 'No-one to tell.'
'What about the army?'
Hughes' head lolled. 'I was with an army…'
'I know you fucking were. You went straight there when you found those guns. Don't you understand? I already know. Just tell me who else you told.'
'…I don't know.'
'Who did you speak to?'
'I never told before…'
'You'll tell me you cunt. What's his name?'
Blood dripped from Hughes' temple. He opened his mouth and gave a blurred high groan. There was coral froth around his nostrils. 'Elgayne,' he said. 'It was Elgayne.'
No-one spoke. Then Clee Watkins said, 'He's off his bloody rocker.'
Nairn sat back and drew breath through his teeth. After a moment he said to Olwyn Cleaves, 'Take this cunt outside and stiff him.' He stayed seated as Olwyn and Watkins dragged Hughes out of the bathroom. Hughes was limp in their arms and didn't move even when they tossed him onto the soil in the back garden. Olwyn drew her Taurus pistol and shot Hughes twice in the chest. She paused, listened as the old man exhaled bubbles and then discharged three more shots into the corpse. Then she asked Clee Watkins where the shovels were.
Watkins said, 'In the car, Oll.'
Olwyn Cleaves put her gun away and spat. 'Well, fucking bring them here please.'