The two men are alone. They stand together wearing boots covered in dry red earth and they carry picks over their shoulders. One of them rests against the grey bark of a tree.
‘Where are we?’
‘I’m not sure where we are but we were sent here.’
‘To do what?’
‘I don’t have the answers right now.’
They begin to pick away at the rock.
‘You’re a doctor back where we came from, aren’t you?’
‘I am, or rather I was.’
‘You must have seen a lot of changes over the years, before you got here.’
The doctor pauses to wipe away a thin film of chalk from his mouth.
‘More than you can imagine.’
‘Lots of decisions were made, some good and some bad and one by one they led to this.’
‘And bit by bit, pick by pick, one scrape of dry earth after another we arrived here?’
‘And where is here?’
‘I’m not sure anymore.’
They both stand back, leaning against each other for support, their rufescent shadows spill out onto the rock.
‘I feel uneasy, I don’t think I can carry on.’
‘You must carry on.’
‘But stop and listen, even the wind is silent.’
‘Silence is all we have left. All the talking is done and we have nowhere else to go.’
The two men look down into the hole and wait.
Dr Kevin Hinkley is a GP in Aberdeen