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.”