An intense claustrophobic and uneasy fascination surround the hook of this story - a kind of extreme English country house upstairs/downstairs narrative. Class struggle, power subversion and obsession stalk the floors of Moreham House. I found it a gripping read and ultimately quite devastating.
His head ticks in the silence. Ticktickticktick. No! Damned infernal ticking. Must hear something else. He stumbles to the grating by the cistern. Something up there. Yes. Listen. Listen to the life he's given up. Up there, far away, a dog howls. Moreham dog. Howl! Howl away the ticking.
He stands shivering. Stillness comes down the shaft. Cold tells of frost. He imagines the cracked crust of frozen earth beneath his wooden sole.
So far below. He's much lower than turnips, potatoes. Lower than moles and rabbits. Foxes. Brocks. Down where there's tree roots. Lower.