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An Exchange of Values, Conducted in Good Faith

by David Tallerman Daniel took the four-by-four as far as it would go, to the point where what had been cracked tarmac and then become dirt track petered out into a sunken footpath between high banks. The wheels were spinning and slipping, and he wondered if he’d be able to reverse out. The main highway seemed very distant, and even that had been only a narrow, single-laned serpent chasing recklessly over the hilltops. He took his wellingtons from the back seat, swapped his shoes for them, and trudged round to the boot. Drawing out his rucksack, he shrugged his shoulders into the straps with a grunt. Though he’d packed judiciously, it might as well have been full of lead. And the rucksack contained barely a third of the belongings he’d brought. Six months was a long time. The rest he’d come back for. He merely took the map, in its plastic case, and passed a moment in getting his bearings: from this spot, he was close, but the intervening contour lines bunched worryingly. Daniel si

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October 2021