Chapter One

THE FIELD

A bulging black bin-bag bounces and careers down a steep grassy bank towards a pond at the edge of a moonlit field.

Just before the bag is about to reach the bottom of the slope and roll into the water, a small tear near the tightly bound top splits asunder and out cascade five dazed puppies.

Relieved of its live cargo, the bag takes one final leap before landing with an almighty splash in the pond and quickly disappearing beneath the inky black surface, weighed down by the two house bricks that it still contains.

Cigarette-glowsAt the top of the incline, silhouetted against the near cloudless evening sky, stands a tall broad shouldered heavily built man, his arms akimbo and hands on hips.

His laboured breath shimmers in the frosty night air as a cigarette butt glows red in the corner of his mouth.

The man peers down the grassy bank at the pond for a few moments, curses, removes the cigarette from his mouth and flicks it in front of him.

The glowing stub cartwheels away as he swivels sharply on his heels and strides over to a battered old transit van parked a few feet away with its engine still running.

After slamming the rear doors closed, he jumps into the driver’s seat and heaves the sliding door shut with a clang, guns the engine and roars out on to the road, the van’s tyres squealing their smoky complaint and spitting gravel.

As the van speeds away, across its grimy back doors the logo “Andrew Stevenson. Pedigree Border Collie Breeder” is briefly illuminated by the headlights of a following car.

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The Flyball 5 begins besides a busy road on a frosty night just before Christmas when a heavily built man hauls a bulging black bin bag, containing five terrified puppies and two house bricks, out of the back of a battered old transit van and throws the bag down a steep grassy slope towards a moonlit pond.

Copyright KJ Mansfield

Photo of man smoking courtesy of servusqwerts

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