and the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; and said to the mountains and rocks,  fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:
                                                    for the great day of his 
wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? 

                                                I | II | III | IV

Tourist Challenge #2: The Ferry

The Ferry is crowded. More crowded than usual, just as my Mom said it would be. There are men in expensive jackets talking pompously about racing stock, there are mothers shushing excited children, there are teenagers and young adults sitting as close together as possible, and those without parental supervision are smoking cigarettes, and boasting about how they are going to ride the capaill. I can imagine what they will all be like in a week; I have seen it enough times before, back when I lived here and my mother could not hide me from the races. The rich men will go home with fresh racing stock and never feel the magic of any of it. The mothers will be even more exhausted than they already look, because their children will be high on ocean air and hyped on sugar from too many November cakes. And the teenagers and young adults will be dead. On the beach. I shiver, and hope that a few of them will manage to use the brains science says they have inside their heads. Not that the locals are any smarter, but the locals know how to ride. They know capaill. They live and breathe capaill. All these kids know are boasting rights, and the thrill of rushing ahead of their peers.

Not that I am much older than most of them. Younger than some, I’m sure. I’m twenty four, but my relatives have always joked that I was born fifty years old. That I was really a pixie child, and that’s why my eyes are big and wise and hazel, and that’s why my hair wouldn’t stay tied back, and why I didn’t seem to really like playing with kids my own age. Of course the real reason was that I was born into a very adult world with very adult troubles, and no one could hide me from the fact that my father was always gone and my mother was always either sad or angry, and though she loved me as much as she could, I have a lot of early memories of not being able to get her attention, because she was staring into space, lost to the world.

I never had fantasies like the other kids did. Not of riding in the races, or of becoming someone famous, or anything really. I knew that the capaill were deadly, and the thought didn’t make me scared, nor squeamishly excited. They never inspired dreams of greatness, flowers hung around my neck. They just Were. And I just Was. I remember feeling as if we were both ancient beings, that I was made out of sand, and they were made out of ocean, and we had always been here, and we always would be. And of the capaill, that is true, but for me, it wasn’t. When I was four, my father died on the beach. And when I was five, my mother and I left for the mainland. We moved to a farm in West Virginia, and that’s where I spent the rest of my childhood, until I went to college and graduated and got a job in an editorial office in Boston, and moved out of the quiet into the noise.

I like the noise. I like the busy streets of Boston, and I like this, the crowded Ferry, everyone talking, everyone living their own individual lives around me, and me a quiet observer in the middle of it. I can feel the boards rocking in the water beneath me and I can feel the wind stinging my skin, and the salt settling in my hair. The warmth of so many people pressed together and the smell of coffee in their breath and perfume on their necks and the dry cleaner that washed their coats. I can feel it all and smell it all and see and hear it all, and it’s like a song, and the final crescendo of it is the Island. Shouts rising up as we finally get close enough to see its shape through the fog, a dark brown smudge in the grey sea.

Thisby. Home. My beautiful, strange, home.


Move on, leave, run away, escape this place… but don’t forget about me, about us, about this town. Always remember where you come from so you can appreciate how far you’ve come.
—  c.j.n.
You claim to love her, inside and out, but the only time you call her beautiful is when it’s 3 in the morning and I’ve already turned you down.
—  girls tell each other everything, c.j.n.