River Mist Tales: Island Camp

Come in, come in, the mist is rising from the river, but here you’ll find some warmth, some tales, so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.

The chairs by the window give the best view, allow the best hearing. Ignore the cats, no matter what they say, and don’t open the window for the tapping crows.

I’ll be working at the table in the corner, if you have any need, or she knocks upon the door. And until you stop by again, may your wonderings be bold and your imaginings be wise.

Until your next visit, until the next photograph, the next 12-line story, good fortune and safe wanderings.

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Island Camp

Alana Brown stooped low picking up a small packet of folded paper, edges damp, flattened as it mostly hid under the small pile of stones.

Before she unfolded the blue paper, Alana glanced back towards her younger daughter Aine walking along the shore path, then gave her full attention to the silent camp sitting on the rocky island, only a short canoe ride from the shore.

She knew the two girls, her eldest daughter Orla and her friend, Marlyn, would paddle to the far side of the island, they would find the cove, land upon the sandy bit of beach before taking the path leading up towards the camp.

As Alana undid the second fold of the note, a west wind rose, slapping water against shore, wrapping the island with a blanket of fog, hiding the tree tops, and the camp from view.

As she opened the note fully, Alana lost sight of the island as the shroud of fog enveloped it complete.

“Dear Mom,” the note began.

“The island has finally appeared.

“We have the notebooks, all of your instructions, all of dad’s warnings and yes, the sachets of herbs and the shards of iron.

“Marlyn is impatient, she hides her doubts better than I do.

“No, I don’t regret the decision, this is where I want to go, what I want to do.

“Til next year, take care of dad and Aine, love…”

Slipping the note into her coat pocket, closing her eyes, Alana whispered a blessing in a melodious tongue, sending it out across the water, remembering time spent among her family, and knowing when she opened her eyes, the island, the camp and her eldest daughter would have vanished from sight.

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