Esther dreamed she was going backwards, time was going backwards. Back and back, faster the further she went, through her own unfurling life. Leaves leap from the ground, reattach themselves to trees, soften and colour, blaze briefly, turn green, then begin to curl up, tighter and tighter, into bud. The sun falls and rises, comes and goes behind scudding clouds. Buildings vanish and older, more complicated structures, then simpler ones, take their place. The sea recedes, the snow softly, softly floats up into a leaden sky. The familiarity of the kitchen had begun to soothe her. My house, she thought, surprised all over again that this was how it was. My kitchen, my home. Here I am, the inheritor, with everything that means. It took an effort these days not to concentrate only on the year of grieving, the year she had just survived, but for once, her mind was travelling farther back.