Another Road (Part III)
The cottage looked different in daylight. Myers could see now the grey shingles of the roof that hung over the lounge window and the chimney high up on the south wall. There was a short pathway to the front door, decorated with boulders and flanked by three stone lions tarnished by mildew. A white chain picket fence – which belonged to the neighbours’ and whose cottage was attached to the side giving the impression of one large L-shaped building – was stretched out in front. On the other side; a path that led not just to the back garden and foliage but also through and into the village centre. All of this covered in sparkling frost.
Impressed, Myers took a photo with his phone before making his way onto the narrow roads, his boots trying to grip the icy ground. Just round from the cottage was the local shop. It was a tiny, almost insignificant place. He walked in and found the shelves all but empty. He grabbed tins of beans, frozen vegetables, a pizza, a box of firelighters, and laid it all out on the counter. He asked for anthracite, but the shopkeeper, a friendly but suspicious man with one long eyebrow, explained there had been no delivery. It was the weather. No kindling either. The whole area was out of stock.
‘You could try in Tywyn,’ he said, a voice like gravel and all business. ‘Do you know Tywyn?’
‘I only arrived last night.’
‘Where are you staying?’
‘Just down the road.’ Anxiety in the words. ‘Bwthyn Gwyn.’
‘Bwthyn Gwyn, eh?’ The shopkeeper was eyeing him. ‘That hasn’t been occupied in years.’
‘Anthracite?’ Myers said.
The shopkeeper keyed another price into the register and put the item on the counter. Myers put it in the bag. The man scratched his eyebrow. It looked stuck on, almost optional. ‘Well Tywyn might have some,’ he said. ‘But I doubt it. We get our supply from them.’
‘Is it far? I don’t have a car.’
The shopkeeper stopped what he was doing. ‘You’ve got no chance then.’ There was amusement in his eyes. ‘You won’t get that back on the bus. Comes in bloody great sacks.’
‘When’s your next delivery?’
‘Thursday. How long are you staying?’
‘I’m not sure.’ He paused. ‘I thought I’d get some peace and quiet.’
The shopkeeper chuckled. ‘Well,’ he said. ‘There’s a man -a deliveryman- in the village. If you can find him, he might be able to bring you some back.’
Myers smiled, picked up the bag. ‘Thanks a lot.’ He didn’t ask for the deliveryman’s name, or how to find him. If he had to, he’d carry the anthracite himself.