italics.

Benji looked down at his feet in the big ski boots, and at the hillside that dropped away beyond his toes. The snowy hill sloped down steeply to the end of the run. Could he do it? He bent his knees, bowed his stocks as he pushed off and suddenly was sliding down the hill at intense speed.

He found skiing exhilarating. He loved the risk, the danger, the adrenalin surge. He swung across the snow slope as he rushed downwards, snow spraying from under his skis. Benji swooped into a wide curve at the base of the run and came to a stop. His satisfied smile turned upwards. It had been a fine run.

He slid across the snow to the chalet and clicked out of his skis. He propped them into the rack just inside the door, their pointed toes turning down like curved beaks. Benji went into the chalet, unzipping his snow jacket as the indoor warmth encircled him.

A stranger was at the bar, his fingers curled around a cup of hot chocolate. The stranger was hunched over his cup, his back leaning forward like the slope of a roof. Benji asked the bartender for a hot chocolate too, “and a shot of that mint liqueur in it.”

The stranger glanced up. “That’s what I’m having. It’s great stuff.”

Absolutely!” agreed Benji. He looked puzzled. The stranger reminded him of someone, the way his mustache drooped, his mouth curved up, and his hairline receded.

“I’m Benji. Have we met before?” He held out his hand.

“No, I don’t think so. No, we haven’t met before,” said the stranger, looking a little rueful. He unclasped his fingers from his cup and shook Benji’s hand. His eyelids drooped over his eyes a little, and he looked down.

“But I know who you are,” said the stranger, his voice dropping.

Really?” said Benji with surprise. “Who are you?”

“I’m your brother,” said the stranger, and leant back.


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