Net Sheds

Sophie stopped dead still. Not twenty-five feet away a rowboat was pulled up onto the shingle. A bushy, burly man covered from shoulders to ankles in a ragged oilskin cloak was heaving wooden casks from boat to shore. A tattered boy of eight or nine ran barefoot across the shingle as if it were a dance floor, picked up a cask almost half as big as he was, and staggered back with it the way he had come. The tall black shadows of the net sheds swallowed him whole.