>UP TO AND INCLUDING

>We all thought it was an alarm, I suppose, a warning. Heads were up and bodies roused at the mere hint of a noise, the heart somehow pumping stronger, brain snapping to attention, synapses wired open from days of waiting. We all realised, at about the same time, that it was no alarm, but rather the dry whine of an armoured car. Vehicles were rare this far in, and we all realised at about the same moment that we had panicked over nothing. We shook other old sounds into our heads: children laughing, water flowing, the isolated, vulnerable sound of an unfettered lazy breeze. None of us sat back down. We stood there, revelling in our last true feelings.

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