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IT WAS hot, so hot that the sun burned and dried everything out of the pale earth. It was hot, so hot that the sun made a shimmering haze of silvery light which blinded man and beast, deluding them with promises of coolness and of water which were not there. In the town there were eleven houses, not really enough to be a town, but what else would one call it ? Not a village, because there was no central place, no cluster of houses about a church; not even a road, only a track made by a few wheeled vehicles and fewer caterpillar tractors which had long since been driven offer had rotted away. The eleven houses were all within sight of one another; perhaps that created a unit large and cohesive enough to be called a town. The place had a name: Kangarmie. No one knew where the name had come from, and no one here now cared. The fact that no one cared revealed itself in the signpost on the 'road' near the first house. It said: 'K.... rmie'; the rest of the letters had faded, sun-rotted, but for some odd reason the five remained, faint grey on a background that had once been white but was now parched-looking board like the dried skin of a mamba.
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