And now an extract for vilakins, who likes to know what my characters look like.
There was a man in military uniform at the front door. Zoe's first thought was that he'd come about Dad. She dismissed the idea quickly. Any visits on official business in the past had involved at least two senior officers, and this man was an NCO. That fact also mostly ruled out a visit from one of Dad's old friends who was still unaware of what had happened.
“Can I help you?” she said into the vid-com.
“Ms Hemmings,” the man said. “Is your brother at home?”
“He's at home, yes,” she said warily, “but I don't think he wants to be disturbed right now. Could it wait until tomorrow?”
“Perhaps you could help me. I'm Staff Sergeant Campbell, Hemming's – your brother's – class tutor. Although this doesn't exactly concern a school matter.”
She had met him before, although only briefly: at the last Parents' Evening. He had seemed to be a down to earth, thoroughly decent sort, who was genuinely concerned that his charges do as well as they possibly could. He ought to be a good role model for Zack in Dad's absence.
“Why don't you come in?” Zoe crossed to the door, and unlocked it.
“Do you need to see my ID?” Campbell held his chip-card out to her. He was shorter than she remembered: not much taller than her, and possibly now shorter than Zack, the way her brother was growing at the moment. Campbell's ginger hair, short like that of all the instructors on the Base, seemed to have receded since the picture on his card had been taken. Zoe thought too that it might be thinning towards the back of his head.
“That's fine.” She handed the card back to him then stepped aside to let him into the house.
The man bent to unlace his boots. There was definitely the beginnings of a bald patch there, although he seemed closer in age to Zoe than to Dad.
“Would you like a coffee?” It was a rare thing to have visitors these days, and she mustn't forget her manners.
“Only if you're making one anyway.” He straightened up and gave her an open, genuine smile.
I think I'll write something about character description tonight.