The end of the line
They swung round another corner, and Douglas saw the house. It was built high up in a bowl that some geological cataclysm, long ago, had scooped out of the mountain side. The road they were on zig-zagged up to it. There was no sign of a road beyond.
‘You’re at the end of the line, then?’ Douglas said.
‘In winter, we are. In summer they drive cattle higher up. There are a couple of herdsman’s huts, and a weekend chalet. All shut up now, of course.’
It was a typical Swiss chalet, built in wood, with a wide terrace balcony on the first floor and smaller, individual balconies on the two floors above. There were a couple of outhouses to one side, and a vast pile of cut logs stacked between them and the chalet. Smoke drifted up from a couple of the chimneys, dark against the white hillside which framed the house. The place had a solid, reassuringly comfortable look. On an easy slope, about a hundred yards from the chalet, four people were skiing. Douglas was relieved to see that they were making a poor job of it.