Vignette (5) (400)

There’s a certain artistry to this mountain’s edge.

Water hums against the edge of the ground, melting hard earth into clay and loosing pebbles into the harbour’s water. As far as the eye can see, it’s all greenery and water and finally, just before the eye’s limit, a cityscape of towering buildings and a bridge connecting the island.

The incline isn’t steep and doesn’t take too drearily long to climb, and after the second hour the ground flattens out into a field, one in which there are clumsily-constructed houses dotting the grounds. Baches, really: they look no bigger than one-bedroom dwellings, and there’s no sign of occupants immediately around.

The biggest structure is lopsided, as though its builder ran out of time and patience long before completing the process of building, and to its right a second one looks half-burnt. Coated in soot as it is, it looks like someone has made an effort at burning it down: the soot doesn’t come off when brushed, so it looks like it has been here a long time.

There’s no-one around, a fact proven by several attempts to garner the attention of anyone living here. A little ways away is a second field, smaller than the first and perfect for pitching a small tent for the night. The ground is half-burnt off, dry and rough. It’s not ideal for sleeping on, but at this time of  day I’ve missed the last ferry back. It’s lucky I  thought to bring a tent in case time got away from me.

The island is too quiet. All night I expect to be hearing traffic noises, music from my neighbours and maybe the odd siren. Once it gets dark though, there’s nary a sound in the sky: I’m hard-pressed to even hear a bird chirping.

In the morning I’m making my way back to the dock. I might have to wait all day for the ferry but I don’t want to chance it a second time. As I’m passing through the fields and by the baches, there’s a small pocket of change around the biggest bach: at the front doorstep is an empty basket, which wasn’t there before, and the curtains have been flung open. One window is crooked, propped open with a stick and the net curtain flutters in the breeze, allowing a tiny glimpse inside.

Hanging from the window-latch is a magnifying glass.

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