Unfindable to an outsider but unlosable to the locals. Little Bay sits among a cloud of never ending fog that surrounds a small desolate island half a day’s boat ride from the mainland. Only the
inhabitants of the peculiar island can navigate their way through the maze of lethal jagged rocks that had sent so many ships and crew to watery graves. Local legends had it the island mystical as
bizarre things happened around it. Unusual unique fruits and plants grew on the island, a strange collection of unidentifiable fish were found only in that area of water and, more disturbingly;
strange creatures had been sighted in the waters. Talk of eerie pale skinned creatures with tails like fish but long arms and fingers that were almost human had been sighted among the murky waters.
Another factor which scared newcomers were the inhabitants of the island itself. Despite howling gales that wrapped around the island with thunderous storms that would boom down on the shore nearly
wrenching the village from the ground; the villagers never left.
In times when the rain fires down like bullets and the heavens rage war down on the Earth, the villagers would retreat to higher ground to the forest or higher up the rocks. Their houses creaked and moaned after the many years of battering by the seas tantrums but always stood stubbornly strong hunched against the ferocious gales.
In the morning when the fog clears the villagers creep back down the hill into the thick salty air to clear the wreckage left in the storms wake. Debris from the oceans mucky heart is strewn across the sand for all to see. On one occasion a tail was found unlike any other; streaked with gold and holding a disturbing beauty. Only the wisest fishermen could identify it to have been a mermaids, torn clean off the torso and swallowed by the sea. The villagers spat on the remains and burnt it.
When a storm hits no one is dares stay in the crumbling village. No one
Except for one.
One lone little house sits perched on the very tip of the highest cliff far up above the others sat precariously on the edge with a dangerously thin strip of land holding it up. It is stands crooked- slanted to one side slightly after so many years having the earth eroded bellow its foundations. The happy building has a continuous glow with thick smoke flowing from the chimney, daring to spout smoke merrily in the face of the gale as if to enrage it.
The inhabitant was as mad and daring as the house was to be still standing. Aged and grey. Deluded and insane. Tough as an old boot but the finest heart any one could dare to hold. They called her Birdy. She lived alone venturing daily down the steep rocks into the village selling cheese from her goats, enquiring on fresh gossip and to teach the young girls how to dance. She was well loved but known to be unreasonable. On some market days she would purchase the largest billy goat carry it upon her crooked back the long, almost vertical, climb to her home. When asked why she’d reply “The journeys too harsh for the poor critters twiggy legs!” as if it was the most obvious reason in the world. Many a villager had wasted their breath persuading the old lady to come down from her hill. She would stop to listen politely but then would smile and continue on with her day, humming a merry tune of her childhood.
Today is the day. Today is the day her long lost sailor was coming home to her. A merry tune would play on her lips as she happily scampers back up the rocks on her bamby legs to put the kettle on the stove.
A sailor’s girl he’ll make of me
and then a sailors girl I’ll be.
When the winds change he’ll come home to me,
and then a sailors girl I’ll be.
She lays out her table with the finest immaculately polished cutlery. She makes a steaming pot of tea and spends her evening preparing the most exquisite dishes that would make even a King’s mouth
water. She will scrub the floors, straighten the cushions on the vacant old arm chair that sits opposite her own; place the freshly picked flowers from earlier that day in a vase and strikes up a
crackling fire in the grate until the whole house is filled with a cosy warmth and glow shines out the windows.
Then she waits.
She will watch the sun set from her living room window and her keen big eyes eagerly searching the horizon with her little fingers knotted in hope. In prayer. Today will be the day. Her fingers fiddle with the engagement ring on her wedding finger. She will watch the villagers making their way into their warm homes to welcoming families and muses as the young lovers wander the streets together after dark. She will think of everything she has to say, everything she wants to know. How she will laugh at his offhand jokes, how she will scold him for leaving her so long; try to remember the sound of his voice, the warmth of his hand. She worries if he’ll still love her when he sees the wrinkles on her eyes, the grey that had replaced her previously dark locks. She remembers back to her 16th birthday and how the day shone as he boarded his ship. Remembered how he wouldn’t let go of her hand.
Would he notice her step was slower than what it had been? How she coughed? Would he look after her? She watches as the village houses lower down the bay darken. She counts as their lights turn out one by one; names each family that lives in each house. Only when it grows dark, so dark she can no longer see, she will give a sigh. Blow out the candle. Put a lid over the cold dinner and crawl into her empty bed.
Tomorrow he will come. Tomorrow will be the day.
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