Writers/Readers: Would you read the rest based on this opening?
The half-empty house was called Elm Cottage. There was not an Elm tree in sight. Two old, gnarled and twisted oak trees stood on either side of the flag stone path leading from the sea green kissing gate towards the duck egg blue front door. Frost formed spiky patterns on the cobwebs hanging from the window panes and a fresh layer of thin snow coated the grass and dusted the tops of trees; it looked as though aHuge invisible hand had sprinkled the earth with icing sugar. Glittering menacingly, in the early morning light, ice covered the road in front of the house as well as the flagstone path and the step by the front door.
Everything about the cottage screamed feminine and dull to Matthew James.
It was just under 3 weeks until Christmas. Matt had to remind himself that it was the same date in Afghanistan, despite the heat, blood and bullets. He wondered how many of his old friends, still fighting whilst he was stuck by the seaside feeling useless, would be blown to pieces on the Lord’s birthday. The thought didn’t do much to persuade his atheist nature. He wondered how many more had already been killed or injured. At least Matt still had a dim awareness of what they were fighting for; at least Matt still vaguely had knowledge what freedom was. The rest of them wanted only to escape as he had done, but Matt didn’t see it as an escape – he saw it as an exile. Whilst his friends had dreamt of home, of their families, friends, wives, husbands, children, boyfriends and girlfriends, Matt dreamt of the war. Not of an end to it, but the war itself – the fighting, the strategies. It was not that he liked any of it; on the contrary, he hated the fact that he was a killer, but he understood too well that it was his only way out.