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At last, the island was there.

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At last, the island was there, only two miles of ocean now stood between him and his goal. He walked to the end of the old disused pier just as the fog was lifting. A solitary figure, fishing rod in hand, was sitting on the pier - legs and line dangling over the edge. He reminded the visitor of a gnome in a neighbour's garden back home in England. "Not much happening mate," he said to the old man, "Where do I catch the ferry to that island?" "You're much too late for the ferry, Sir, been no ferry from here for these past ten years, and I think it took all the fish along with it, "he replied in his Irish accent, while spitting in disgust at his lack of success in catching his supper. Most visitors had trouble with the local tongue, but this visitor had been married to a local girl for the past twenty-six years, so the old man's news only agitated him still further. The early autumn gales, causing thirty-six hours delay to the ferry from Holyhead, the endless twisting roads that lead to Ireland's West Coast. The hours were now running out - because of his wife's fear of flying, his plan was now in jeopardy. "Ten years? How do people get across then?" "To be sure, why would anyone want to cross? That's a fine car you have over there Sir. English by any chance?" ...read more.


Old Michael had now been gone for half an hour, which made me wonder what was wrong? He'd offered a thousand pounds but would the old fool think there might be an even bigger reward? Would he return with his boat or with the guards? The stranger's state of agitation was once again apparent. He decided to try farther along the coast and was about to drive away when he heard the sound of a boat's engine. It was a full two minutes before the boat sailed into view. Michael Mulready was alone, sitting in the stern - holding the tiller with one hand, and fiddling with the engine with the other. It wasn't much of a boat, but the stranger was in no position to complain. He almost jumped and punched the air, but he was in no mood to celebrate, he had a job to do, and time was of the essence. He pulled up the zip on his jacket because the wind that had cleared the fog was now bringing in the clouds and finding its way down his back. Collecting a rucksack from the boot, and holding it firmly in his arms, he walked to the end of the old pier. "Sorry for the delay, Sir, but I'm here now with old Shirley, she'll get you there, Sir, no problem, jump in. About that fifteen hundred pound fare, Sir?" "I said a thousand you old pest, here's five hundred, the rest on the way back. ...read more.


I promised her on her deathbed that I would return her to the spot where she used to play as a child. I promised that I would sow her ashes in this very place on her birthday. That's why it has to be today. Today she is fifty years old, and she's come home - forever." Michael's jaw dropped, closely followed by his cap, muttering to himself before going into a phase of saying Hail Mary's and Our Father's over and over. The stranger turned once again. At arm's length he lifted the urn, and ever so slowly tipped out its precious contents. Every granule of that priceless white dust was welcomed and embraced by the very same breeze that some years ago had been her constant companion in this isolated place. He watched through loving eyes as she danced and played, wild and excited. He could now see once again those happy times, when just as wild she had danced him off of his feet with her beaming face laughing as she tried to force his unwilling body just once more around the dance floor, just a distant memory. When she'd settled into her eternal home he replaced the lid and stood the empty urn upon her cherished ground. "Goodbye, you're home now," he sobbed, "I'll be back someday for my own turn around this dance-floor, you'd better be waiting, Girl." Then, with drowning eyes but head raised, he turned and marched away. "Come on Michael, I hope to God you know a place where a man can get a good old drink, and be left well alone with his thoughts and his memories." ...read more.

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