Winking Eye Rock

The better part of a year before Cataclysm, Albert had been drinking in his local pub and had, as he sometimes did, dropped a little too deep into his cups. He waffled on to his cronies, telling long rambling fishy stories and tales of his daring on the high seas, and it was during one of those excursions that he let drop the idea that there was a hidden lagoon, or something similar, tucked under the south-western end of Seal Island, and that to get to it a skipper would have to locate and then sail over a hidden bar when the tide was just right.
His beery comments came out like a challenge to his friends, and before he knew it they began to question and badger Albert unmercifully. Was there hidden treasure in there, did he think? Albert shook his head. Was it a place, then, where beautiful mermaids gathered to call unsuspecting sailors to them as they sailed by? Albert spat on the floor. Well then, were there secret enemy installations trained on Cresthaven, monitorin’ the conversations an’ goings-on of folks, like a drunken old sailor in this pub! The laughter and the disbelief was strong, plainly no one would give Albert’s idea a chance.
“Maybe we’ll git bombed now that Albert’s let the cat out of the bag,” someone yelled over the giggling and chatter.
“I know where that bar is,” Albert had insisted, scowling and hiccupping at everyone, unwilling to back down or shut up. His audience cracked up even further when he struggled to his feet and roared, “An’ am goin’ to find it an’ go over it, you see if I don’t!”
There was no chance of quiet discussion after that, the laughter and jeering was too loud and persistent. The common man had made a decision, they didn’t believe a bloody word old Fairlie had said. Albert finished his drink and slunk out of the pub claiming he was going to the toilet.
Tom didn’t hear the uproar firsthand; he only got a gist of the story when a neighbour, his face bright with suppressed laughter, related parts of his Da’s tale, gleefully describing Albert’s severe annoyance when nobody in the pub had taken him seriously. The idea of a lagoon and a bar sounded interesting, if a bit whacky, and Tom wondered why his dad had bothered to bring the subject up. He’d often noted the strange geological make-up of Seal Island, so he decided, if he remembered, to ask Albert what had been in his mind when he’d set the pub afire.

taken from Cataclysm’s Day, first book of The Gatherers Trilogy.


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