[a longer section of this is posted here: https://thedailydriverblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/12/conrad-excerpt-5/]
Lydia watches through a hole in another factory wall as a wood cutter in a courtyard beyond swings his axe in swooping arcs against a splitting block. Waning sunlight glints from the blade at the top of each swing, a silver blur striking Lydia’s eyes. She flinches as the axe finds its mark and wood explodes in the thick cloud of breath expanding around the wood cutter in the frozen air.
The wood tumbles and thuds in the snow. He gives a furtive glance as his big hand scoops up the logs and tosses them onto the pile behind the furnace. Lydia hears another man on the other side of the furnace, hears him talking loudly and throwing the split wood into the furnace. Logs thump into the furnace in measure with the wood cutter’s axe.