- Vol. 03
- Chapter 03
COMPANIONS OF THE HOSTIt was after Matins that the boys crept down to the pier, and hung their cassocks on the temporary mooring posts: set up to accommodate the expected pilgrims.
“We should have left them in our rooms,” Oisin hissed from shadow, straightening out his rosary beads as an excuse to delay immersion.
“Then Flaherty would know bloody well where we are,” Sean said, squeezing his eyes clear with finger and thumb. He knocked on the underside of the pier. “You coming or what?”
“Practicing my diving technique,” Eoghain replied, blowing air through his cheeks three times in rapid succession as be bent forward, arms splayed behind him.
“It’s a dip, not friggin skydiving, you clampet. I wonder if Saint Patrick had eejits like you with him. Maybe that’s why they call this Saint Patrick’s Purgatory.”
“Sanctuary,” Oisin corrected.
“If you don’t shut up and get in here, I’ll go up there. Tie those beads around your–" Eoghain’s less than perfectly executed dive drowned Sean’s expletive. “–ankles and chuck you in.”
“It’s both, actually,” Eoghain said, shivering as he acclimatised to the chill.
Oisin lowered himself into the water and drew air in through his chattering teeth.
COMPANIONS OF THE HOST
“Eh?” Sean pushed himself away from the stanchions with a couple of effortless strokes.
“It’s known as a sanctuary and purgatory.”
“And what about Station Island and Lough Derg?” Oisin didn’t like being corrected.
There was a splash as Sean kicked water at him. “We swimming or what?”
The early morning returned to its tranquil best, punctuated only by the odd slap of cold flesh on the surface of the lough.