“Samuel struggled through the roots and brambles; he tripped often and grovelled in the dark tearing his trousers on the thorns. In time he reached the place, down on the bank, where the ground was damp and smelled of moss and decay. At the base of a massive willow he threw his load to the ground and paused to catch his breath.
When he knew for sure that he was untracked he bent to the task. The moon shone silver through dark branches as he turned the sod. With each swing of the long-handled pick a grunt escaped his gut, deep and guttural in the quiet. Muscles in his back and shoulders flexed and strained and he stopped often to wipe the dirty sweat that ran across his brow and stung his eyes. He stood back occasionally to assess the work shaking his head at the small results of his efforts.
Though time was short he had to have it deep enough to deny access to the wild things. The arc of the pick glinted as it caught the moonlight over and over and the ground opened a great maw that took him in further than his knees, further than his hips. He was getting there. Now he used the spade, the better to scoop the dank soil and toss it onto the growing heap.
A shrill note tore into the silence, sharp and shocking. He thrust again with the blade and again the noise rang out assaulting the silence as metal struck stone. He peered into the murk to see a boulder gleaming, bone white, like a half-erupted tooth in a blackened and decaying gum-line.
With a grunt of impatience he knelt in the soggy pit and groped at the boulder digging and pulling till his nails tore and his fingers bled. The mud and the blood congealed clubbing the ends of his fingers and he wiped them on the tail of his shirt, cursing as the sticky gobbets smeared the sweat drenched fabric.”