Come in, come in, the river mist will be gone soon enough, but here you’ll find some tales, some warmth so make yourself comfortable. There’s tea in the pot, or perchance, you brought some wee dram of your own.
Please sit by the window, you’ll have the best view, and easy 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.
A timid knock brought forth a bang as a small wooden door opened, and a seated man asked, “How many for the Breasal Isle Ferry?”
“Round trip or one way?” asked the ticket seller keeping his eyes lowered.
“How much time, I mean is there a time limit on the round trip?”
“A year and a day in your time,” said the bowed head, repeating, “one year plus one day of mortal time. You can return by whatever ferry may be running.”
“Okay, then two round trip tickets,” said Phoebe ignoring the deep poke from Samantha who couldn’t hear what the ticket seller was saying, and repressing her own questions about mortal time and whatever ferry may be running.
After a flash of light, after a flurry of stamping and shuffling of countless pieces of what looked like paper or, maybe, various tree leaves, the ticket seller handed Phoebe two deep red sugar maple leaves, supple and full.
Holding the leaves, Phoebe, confused, unsure, her breath stuttering, wondered if she should ask anything else of the man sitting on the other side of the wall, when as abruptly as it was opened, the small wooden door was shut with a slam.
Not what I thought I’d receive Phoebe admitted to herself as she took a deep breath, made a quick self check, then turned around to face the ever doubtful, nervous, eye blinking Samantha.
“Well Sam, here we go, tickets in hand, and a full year before we must decide if we stay or return,” said Phoebe, forcing a smile of assurance.
Moving toward the small huddled group of fellow passengers silently waiting as the fog wove her spell hiding the world they all knew, Phoebe, sure of her choice, having seen the Breasal Isle Ferry before, having heard both delights and warnings from other travelers who yearned for another trip but somehow could not find their way back, smiled as Samantha asked with a loud voice so those around them would hear, “Will he meet us at the pier, the old man, will he welcome us, will he help us?”
“I’m sure he’ll meet us, yeah, he’ll meet us,” said Phoebe trying to convince herself.