Jesse Jarnow

the island, no. 6

(Short fiction in even shorter increments.)

The Island: no. 1, no. 2, no. 3, no. 4, no. 5, no. 6, no. 7, no. 8, no. 9, no. 10, no. 11

Pastor Johnson mentioned nothing of the island’s continued absence on Sunday morning. Over the next decade, as the town went into a decline, many blamed it on the breakdown of the church, which was — in turn — attributed to the Pastor’s failure to explain the island.

“It was a crack in the egg,” Elizabeth confided to me a few weeks before Lauren was born. “I didn’t want to see what was going to hatch.” I was not in church that day.

For much of the morning, I sat outside my father’s door. Behind it, the radio played mournful music at unforgiving volumes: old standards about moons, lovers, trees. Occasionally, I could hear him moving around. “Soon,” is all he would say when I knocked, if that.

Only Elizabeth was there when he emerged. “Nails,” he said as he walked by her on the way to the bathroom. “Tell that son-of-a-bitch to get nails. It’s time to board the windows.” The storm that rolled in that night beat the eastern wall with such force that shingles I’d painted in the spring aged decades by morning.

Monday, the island was dimly visible among the clouds and whitecaps. Late Sunday night, an hour before the rain began, David Mallis and Carlos Dias rowed into the dock. No one was there to greet them.

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