Vignette #4

I suddenly become aware that I am being watched, and glance to my right. Sitting on a rock I see a short, stocky figure with dappled skin like coral lichen: Farrah. I frown. 

“Spying again, Farrah?”

Farrah laughs. “That, coming from the Glade’s most notorious people-watcher? Your mooning over Emmaline is on the lips of every dullbrain with nothing better to occupy their thoughts.” 

I notice, though, that she looks away when she speaks of Emmaline. 

“Anyway,” she says, glancing back toward me. “You looked deep in thought. I didn’t want to disturb you.”

I shrug. “You have me there. I was thinking about the Cathedral again.” 

“Of course you were.” She laughs. “You’ve only two things on your mind, after all.”

I don’t say anything. I just look back out to sea. For a while the only sound is of waves lapping at the shore, their irregular rhythm – shh-shh, shhhhh, shh-shh, shhhhh – a soothing susurrus. A gentle breeze stirs the thin leaves of the trees at our backs. 

I think about the Cathedral, that drowned old place about which no one cares any longer. I think about Emmaline, and her beauty, and her manifest disinterest in me. I think about the Glade, and our community’s inability to think beyond what it can see and touch. I think about Farrah, who is still looking at me, and I feel a sudden flush of anger. 

“I’m going back there tomorrow,” I decide, then and there. 

Out of the corner of my eye I see Farrah shake her head out. “Tomorrow the migration passes. The whole Glade will be out collecting crabs. The Elders won’t be happy.” 

I don’t acknowledge her. “And this time, I’m going inside.” 

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