Peter doesn’t have any nicknames apart from Pete. He was fortunate enough to have the kind of look about him that discouraged kids from messing with him. Plus, although everyone at his junior school knew what a kiddy-fiddler was, no-one seemed to know the word paedophile, so he was saved a few fist fights there.

He was born in the year 2000, in January. His mother thought he might arrive on the first day of the new millennium, but he was spared from that distinction by the fates.

Brief timeline:

  • 2000 – Born
  • 2020 – Meets Emma
  • 2021 – Finishes university
  • 2022 – Moves to London with Emma
  • 2024 – Marries Emma
  • 2029 – Ice caps melt & London Barrier fails
  • 2029 – Peter & Emma evacuated and move to Yorkshire
  • 2031 – Sarah conceived (not planned) and born
  • 2034 – Emma’s parents die of starvation
  • 2036 – Sarah dies.
  • 2036 – Story.

Although Peter is 6ft 4in and has the bone structure of a bruiser, food shortages give him body shape of an Ethiopian long-distance runner. He has blond hair, washed out blue eyes. He does not wear glasses but has started to have some difficulty reading small letters. He’s not ashamed of his height like some people are and so does not disguise it by stooping. Instead, he walks tall with a fluid and athletic grace.

He wears jeans and a long sleeved shirt to cover his entire body from the elements, and cowboy style hat to protect his face and neck where possible. This does not seem to stop him having a deep tan from a life of working outdoors in the constantly bright sun of England. He mostly wears shorts and a t-shirt indoors due to the heat. Emma likes him to wear pale colours.

His parents died in a car accident when he has five. It was caused by a drunk driver who turned out to be a prominent parliamentarian and who was let off with light rapping of his knuckles due to connections in the government. Peter did not find out about this until years later because his Auntie Paula, who raised him, deliberately kept it from him for reasons of her own.

He allowed the grief of losing his parents to make him stronger. It made him particularly prone to fighting at school but this had left him by the time his went to Uni.

When his (beloved) aunt died, he leaned heavily on Emma for emotional support and it made the bond between them stronger.

He grew up in Kent, went to university in Sheffield and then lived in London and a remote part of North Yorkshire. Ironically, due to political affiliations and being an active protester against climate change policies, he found it difficult to get work at the level of his university education after the climate changed and plunged the world into economic and cultural darkness. This was due to harsh job laws laid down by a panicked government in terminal-meltdown. He, therefore, found himself in manual roles that were often off the books and therefore poorly paid. He took what he could to feed his family.

He used to love making things with his hands when he was a teenager and became adept at woodwork and metalwork. This stood him in good stead after the economic meltdown. There was a shortage of machinery to manufacture and repair simple things and so he was kept busy around the house when not working. He proved particularly good at securing their property in rural Yorkshire from the depredations of scavengers and predators – human and animal alike.

He learned not to be fussy about his food and then later not to ask what provided the finely ground protein content of the soups his wife made.

He doesn’t like music, keeps a bad-tempered dog to keep the foxes from the chickens in the yard. There is no car due to petrol shortages so everything has to be transported in the trailer attached to the tricycle he bought when he could see that things were going to get much worse on the global oil scene.


The biggest problem Peter has on a physical level is keeping his family safe when he has to be out working, often for long shifts that take him from home in the dark and only return him back when darkness returns. On a psychological level, he does not make friends easily and so only has Emma as an outlet for the feelings of loss and rage he goes through. This means that he is dependant on her for support and so can be manipulated easily into doing things that he would otherwise avoid. He is often put in this position due to Emma’s terse and taciturn nature.

He has a vivid memory of being told that his parents were dead. The job fell to the local police constable, a churlish and insensitive man, due to their inability to locate any next of kin (his Aunt was away on holiday and all other family members were Swedish and neither close nor English speakers. The police constable found that he could not directly tell five-year-old Peter that both his parents were dead and so employed a series of euphemisms (Monty Python – Dead Parrot) that left the boy more and more confused.

His teenage years seemed to have been spent fighting with other boys at school – often older ones that seemed to assume his good looks and distracted air meant that he would be an easy target. He particularly remembered kicking a boy so hard in the leg that it was touch and go as to whether it would have to be amputated. It just made him wary of where he hit people after that. He actually looked up, on the net, ways to hurt people without damaging them.

The year he and Emma married was still a time of glut and plenty. It was a time when scientists were increasingly prophesying doom and governments were denying that there was anything wrong or insisting that technological advances would magically arise to save the planet. Consequently, their wedding was sanctioned by the church – Emma looked stunning in Ivory, and the reception was attended by friends in London, those they kept in touch with from University and what few family members they had. He remembers it as the happiest point of his life so far – a time of joy, plenty and optimism.

Peter’s greatest enemy is not a person, but certain destructive elements in his nature: the way he allowed his better nature to be manipulated by his wife, Emma, and his tendency to over-react to loss. When his daughter died, the grief was overwhelming and brought back the feelings of loss from his parents and his aunt.

His greatest ally was his wife in all things. He found it easy to make friends, despite what he had kept of his childhood violent nature, but he found it easy to let people come and then let them go again. Consequently, his wife was again his main support when their child died.

He never told his wife that he almost caused someone to lose his leg. He also didn’t get around to telling her about his Internet-porn addiction, nor his recurring dream of walking into the Parliment buildings and blowing up as many representatives of government as possible. The impossibility of achieving this, due to security lockdowns, plus the fact that it was ‘just a bloody dream, right’ meant that he never shared this with his wife.

He believes in the sanctity of marriage (but not that masturbation with virtual images constitutes any kind of infidelity), the solid fact that people should get their comeuppances if they did something wrong, and that the mighty Sheffield Wednesday should never have consented to merge with their scuzzy neighbours Sheffield United – no matter how difficult the economic situation.

Peter’s greatest talent is seeing things through to their (sometimes bitter) conclusion, and his greatest flaw is that he is blind to the fact that basically good people can sometimes do bad things for selfish reasons.

Peter would like the ability to bring people back from the dead, but if that is not possible, he strongly believes that those responsible for misdeeds should pay for it in kind.

Four words that describe Peter are: headstrong, skilful, malleable and vengeful. He is afraid of the dark, laughs at other people’s misfortunes, gets angry when crimes go unpunished, is ashamed of his longing to see women naked and is incredibly tender when it comes to making love to his wife.

He has spent much of his life in three locations: University, London and North Yorkshire. These very different places caused him to express his nature in very different ways.

At university in Sheffield, he was introduced to football by some of his mates, who lived in that area. Consequently, he fell in love with Sheffield Wednesday and learned of the agony and ecstasy of the beautiful game. After leaving the area he found other interests but developed a habit of checking for the results in any news media he came across.

Whilst in London, he was an integral part of the protest scene and as such gained a reputation as a loyal supporter of anti-government campaigns. This also had the unfortunate effect of putting him on many black lists maintained by the government, which subsequently made it impossible for him to gain meaningful employment, despite his university education.

As civilisation teetered on the brink of collapse in England, he moved, with his wife to an isolated area in North Yorkshire. The benefit of this location was that it was at a high altitude and was therefore immune from the flooding that had affected many parts of the south. It was also further from the reach of the government and he was able to take control of a run-down property and surrounding land right at the beginning of the rush for high altitude land. Although their occupancy was illegal, the proper owners were dead, the locals turned a blind eye and the powers-that-be had more pressing concerns.

(Character map for Peter, who features in Let Her Stay (penultimate draft))


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