A joker at the pub had been the first to  call him ‘Bubbles’. Lester had been drowning his sorrows too long that night not to laugh. So the drinkers decided it was OK. And the name caught on. Soon everyone round town called him that. Everyone except Donna.

She’d seen the effects first hand—the strong man turning inward, shunning even her. Lester had been happy that morning when he set out for a bit of fishing. They said he’d been lucky to survive. He wasn’t convinced—half his face scarred into sinuous mounds where a flaming tree had fallen onto him.

‘I’m going for a walk,’ he said. From the kitchen Donna watched him duck into the shed, emerging with his .22 under his arm. She followed at a discreet distance. Scrambling up the last steep section she heard the first shot. Then the second.

Then more. She heard the ping of bullets on the tin cans he’d hoisted high on sticks some way off. He’d be furious if he knew she was watching. So she retreated. Nothing for it but to go back home. And wait.

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